Update in Email Security Results in Miscommunication

The Barracuda system works to filter out emails with addresses outside of the Truman State University mailing service. The system is in place as an extra layer of security to protect students from receiving excessive amounts of spam that might lead to accounts getting hacked or private information being stolen. Checking the Barracuda system for emails that may be filtered out is imperative for students to ensure they receive all emails that may be coming from outside the Truman University mailing system. 

Senior Nursing major Shelby McLaughlin has never heard of the Barracuda system — she doesn’t check her Barracuda folder which could result in her missing important information.

Chief Information Officer Donna Liss describes the Barracuda system as a variety of checkpoints that act as a barrier between a student’s inbox and the outside world. 

“There was quite a stir in May of last year with updates surrounding the Barracuda system,” Liss said. “We must pay to keep it up to date because some people are good at faking messages and making them look real and official.” 

During May of 2023, the University faced a cyber-attack that forced Information Technology Services to update the University’s security system faster than anticipated. The University switched from using a Gmail-based email system to Microsoft Outlook. 

McLaughlin wasn’t fazed by the transition despite the quick turnaround because the ITS department was adamant about sending out informative emails weeks before the switch that aided her adjustment. Despite the easy transition McLaughlin experienced, the impromptu change in services resulted in misconnections between Sodexo, the University food service and the students living on campus. 

“Sodexo is outside of our mailing system, so when a Sodexo address sends something, Barracuda may stop it and ask the receiver if they know the person and are okay with the email going through,” Liss said. “It’s pretty easy to spoof the @sodexo.com address. There are lots of things you can do to make it look like that, or somebody else can get a hold of a whole bunch of Sodexo accounts and then just start flooding our system.”

Quarantined students in the residence halls who are unable to visit the dining halls and are asked to contact Sodexo to have their meals delivered. The extra security required students to check the Barracuda system for emails coming from a Sodexo address. 

Lack of knowledge about the Barracuda filtering system may cause students to think they were not receiving emails from the food service and failed to respond to questions about where food needed to be delivered. 

Sodexo General Manager John Stewart felt horrible about the miscommunication. “It was important to us that we made sure the quarantine meals were being delivered,” Stewart said. 

As a result of the mishap, Stewart met with Liss to obtain a secure connection with the Truman emailing system and now has a Truman email account of his own. Stewart encourages students to contact Sodexo directly if they ever need assistance with meals. 

“No matter what number students call, they’ll be able to tell us what the problem is, and a contact number will get to me within probably the first five minutes of the phone being hung up,” Stewart said. 

“We never want anybody going hungry, and we don’t want anybody being neglected by any stretch,” Stewart said. “That’s not what we do. But that would be my suggestion if they feel there’s a lack of communication, just call us and we will get that taken care of immediately.”

Liss echoes Stewart’s sentiment that reaching out for help is imperative in avoiding another predicament because of miscommunication — she encourages students to call the IT Service Center.“Students can set their computers up with a variety of unique settings and parameters,” Liss said. “Your situation may be different than the next person who has an issue.”