Exchange - privatize my meeting details!
February 22, 2011 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Scheduling resources in Exchange - how do I make things private? Please let this be much easier than I'm thinking it is.

I suspect I will regret using a question on this, but the net is just so overloaded with questions that are similar, but not quite it. If you beat my google fu, I will thank you for pointing me to what you find.

We have Exchange 2003 and will be moving to Exchange 2010 in the next few months. So if just waiting and doing this in 2010 is a better option, let me know.

We have several meeting rooms set up as resources, and they have email accounts and auto accept invites to meetings. We invite them as a resource, when scheduling. Everyone in the company needs to be able to schedule meetings at these places. But! We want meeting details to be private unless you are either the owner or invited. We're fine with the subject of the meeting being seen, just not the details. Ideally people would only see the room as busy if it has an existing meeting, though.

I tried limiting permissions on just my account and having someone set up a meeting. I did not see *anything* and was able to schedule a conflicting meeting, but then mine was just dropped from the calendar, with no notice of it being declined by the resource. I also tried setting the meeting to "private" and having someone else look for it. Same thing happened - they didn't see it and were able to schedule a conflicting meeting that was subsequently dropped. That won't work. We need to see the busy info - just not the details.

I've looked a bit into the auto accept agent, but honestly, if Exchange 2010 has something that will work built in, I don't want to add something else into the equation unless we NEED it. While I hear it allows for more granular permissions, I haven't seen them for myself.

Has anyone else set something like this up? How did you do it? Exchange is really not my bag, but this (for various reasons, including not enough people at work right now) ended up on my plate, and it's making my brain hurt.
posted by routergirl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I seem to remember you had to manually setup the calendar permissions so that you can't view details of other peoples meetings but it was a huge PITA.

The Team at MSFT seems to say that you do need the auto accept agent to prevent details from being seen.
posted by anti social order at 3:24 PM on February 22, 2011

I believe any Calendar- or any folder in a user's Inbox, including a 'Resource' user- can be refined to specific permissions, starting with Outlook/Exchange 2003, if not earlier.

Most people know that you can set the "Auto accept" etc for a Resource calender under Tools -> Options -> Preferences tab -> Calendar Options -> Resource Scheduling, and it sounds like you've done that.

It's not clear from your "I tried limiting permissions" paragraph, but if you weren't aware you can right-click the Calendar folder itself in the Folder List nav pane of Outlook (while viewing the Resource's inbox in Outlook, that is) and choose Properties. Then go to the Permissions tab, and either for Default or for a new line that includes basically an "Everyone" DL, set these options:
  • Read: Free/busy time, subject, location (or just Free/Busy time if you only want them to know it's booked, and not by who- just don't set "Full Details")
  • Write: Create items, Edit Own
  • Delete Items: Own
I believe this may be what you're trying to do: allow people to see the basic name of and time of all items, as well as allow people to create new items (and have the auto-accept occur here) and edit or delete their own.
posted by hincandenza at 3:27 PM on February 22, 2011

To be clear, you don't need- or want- the Auto Accept Agent, as direct booking is the typical way this is done. The Auto-Accept Agent is an older way of doing this, most companies seem to just use Direct Booking which is entirely built-in to Exchange/Outlook.

Direct booking lets users directly add items to the calendar of a resource user IF the Calendar folder permissions (and auto-accept) are set up correctly for that user. Exchange will auto-accept for that resource once you've set it to do so. The room/resource is created as an account, you open that account with Outlook temporarily, set the auto-accept under Tools -> Options -> Preferences. After this, it'll auto-accept all meetings (and cancellations) provided there isn't a conflict. This much is nice, and common.

The wrinkle you're adding is limited read support. That should work fine! This MS article linked from anti social order's link talks about that, and about granting "At least 'Author' level rights", but I believe that's just a simple way to do things. If you add "All Employees" or whatever your broadest DL is to the permissions, and then select "Author" level permissions, and then adjust the Read level from "Full Details" to just "Free/Busy time" or "Free/Busy time, subject, location" you'll get exactly what I describe above, which is just a slightly modified Author permission.
posted by hincandenza at 3:39 PM on February 22, 2011

"Read: Free/busy time, subject, location (or just Free/Busy time if you only want them to know it's booked, and not by who- just don't set "Full Details")"

IIRC that detail is in 2k7/2k10, not 2k3 exchange.
posted by anti social order at 3:48 PM on February 22, 2011

When I tried modifying the permissions, I had the resource's account open in Outlook, and went to Options > Calendar options, and added myself, then changed things there. I will check out the right clicking on the folder bit when I get in tomorrow - I feel silly for not trying that sooner. The auto accept thing was a suggestion from my boss's boss, who hasn't really been working in the technical side of things for a while. I'll be really happy if I can fix this without installing anything.
posted by routergirl at 3:49 PM on February 22, 2011

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