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Fix scan to email delays when using an Exchange Online Office 365 email address (what worked for me)

If you have been through my previous postings, I guess you probably know that stuff that I present here comes from my experience. So recently I had this: suddenly all scan-to-email deliveries were delayed by several hours before being received by users. Hmmmm....

As scanners, we are using a couple of Ricoh MP C4503 units, and scanning to email from both of them would result in the same delay - but I guess that scanner brand would not matter. For email, we are using Office 365 with Exchange online, with no other issues.

Users are scanning documents by selecting their (pre-programmed) emails in Ricoh's address book, and scanned documents are sent as attachments to themselves.

Obviously I have started by narrowing down the options:

Printer side:
  • Outgoing emails (with scanned attachments) are sent as non-existing email address accounts (not sure if this a "best practice", but this is a different story..) - like Could this be the issue? Nope - since the emails are being received after the encountered delay. So the bottle-neck it's not here. Keep moving.
  • Address book stored on printer containing users emails: nothing changed in there, same email addresses as before.


Server side:
  • Since we are using Exchange Online (Office 365) - the server side consists of the administrative interface for the service. What caught my eye here was the Exchange Admin Center -> Protection section. How about white listing the printer's email addresses in order to have it not being held and scanned by the Malware Filter? Would this be the reason for the delay?

Exchange Admin 365

Going through the options I am realizing that there's no such place as white listing an email address. At least not in here. I could create a custom filter? Nope - it would be an overkill. Let's have a look at recipients lists. How about if I create aliases for the users that need to scan? Will the alias email address encounter the same delay? Let's try that.

Looking at the list of recipients, I have remembered that with Exchange Online, each user get a email address by default. And everyone has it, there's my "alias" - no need to create new ones. Ok, back to the printer.

Fired up the web interface - heading straight to the Address Book section. Here, I have replaced my email address, with the alias.

Time to test. Threw a few pages through the scanner, and chose (my) email as destination. Boom! My phone beeped - new email - no delay. Replacing all other users email with their corresponding alias fixed that for them as well.

Since I am still not sure why the delay was encountered when using the regular email for users - I am not sure if this will work for everyone, but if you are in the same situation, it might worth the try. It took me a whole week to figure this out, and I also had to set "scan to folder" for users as well - as a scanning alternative during this time.

However - you will need to take into your account local environment. If you are behind a security appliance (like Sophos, of SonicWall) - that also does content filtering, you might want to look into that as well.

Hope this helps someone - I'm out to get a coffee.