Using the IMAP/IMAPS monitor in Anturis Console, you can set up monitoring of general availability and response time for any remote email server connected to the internet (such as a Microsoft Exchange server). It also enables you to set up a notification when a certificate for a secure TLS/SSL connection is about to expire. You can send requests either from one of the components in your infrastructure, or use one of the available Public Agents that are maintained by Anturis in different geographical locations.
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is used by email clients to access email messages on a remote email server. The current standard is version 4 revision 1 of the protocol (IMAP4rev1). Most IMAP clients generally leave messages on the server unless the user decides to delete them. This enables multiple clients to connect and manage the same mailbox on an IMAP server simultaneously. IMAP clients can be configured to store local copies of email messages, but they are considered temporary and are updated if they change on the server (get moved, deleted, and so on).
The default port number that an IMAP server listens on is 143. The server requires a username and password to authenticate a client. However, IMAP does not encrypt messages, so your credentials may be read by a third party involved in the connection. To provide an encrypted connection, IMAP can be used over the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which was previously known as Secure Socket Layer (SSL). When IMAP is used over a TLS/SSL layer, this is called an IMAPS connection, and it is directed through port 993 by default. As an alternative, you can establish a TLS/SSL connection over the standard IMAP port (143) using the STARTTLS extension.
TLS/SSL are cryptographic protocols for secure communication over computer networks. They are based on the exchange of X.509 certificates and public keys for encrypting and decrypting messages. Digital certificates are issued by a certificate authority (CA) trusted by both parties involved in the communication. A certificate binds the public key to a person or organization for a predetermined period of time (until the certificate expires).
By regularly sending IMAP requests and tracking the time it takes for a response to return (also known as round-trip delay time, latency, or timeout), you can ensure the availability and performance of your critical email servers. This directly affects the quality of your service, because your clients or employees rely on email every day. The sooner you are able to detect a possible issue, the faster you will be able to react to it. If the server uses TLS/SSL security, it is also important to monitor the certificate expiration date.