Microsoft Exchange – Is It Necessary?
Microsoft Exchange is Microsoft’s email server solution. In layman’s terms, it’s a piece of software that runs on a server and manages all your emails.
Incoming, outgoing, saved, drafts, calendars–everything is done through Microsoft Exchange and stored on the server.
Microsoft Exchange isn’t the only way a company can manage their emails.
Most organisations start with what’s called POP3 email. What that basically means is whoever hosts your website also manages your email. They collect it and then send it to each individual computer, effectively downloading that email onto each computer.
The problem with POP3, and why products like Microsoft Exchange exist, is that all of the emails that you’re downloading from your web-hosting provider are stored on individual computers. Therefore if one of the individual computers dies, all your emails would be lost. Microsoft Exchange is designed to centralise your emails into one database. Instead of your web-hosting company handling your email and them storing them on your computer, Exchange manages and backs up the emails on a server.
The rise in popularity of ‘hosted exchange’ has allowed organisations to access a variety of enterprise-grade software solutions and bypass the major hurdles of infrastructure costs, licensing fees, maintenance and training. A hosted exchange hosts your emails in the cloud. IT service providers offer Hosted Microsoft Exchange services and can handle of all your emails and store them securely in the cloud.
Why Microsoft Exchange is important?
Microsoft Exchange enables email to be delivered directly to a server. It works by sending the emails back to your individual workstations in which your staff can access. Small and medium-sized companies can achieve three benefits from using Microsoft Exchange.
- Centralise emails so that they can be backed up. If you’re using an old POP3 model, you risk losing your emails. Exchange is first and foremost about centralising and backing up that information.
- Eliminate email threats before they reach your network. Exchange actively protects your communications with built-in defences against email threats. Multi-layered anti-spam filtering comes with continuous updates to help guard against increasingly sophisticated spam and phishing threats, while multiple anti-malware engines work to protect your email data from viruses.
- Shared calendars between different members of your organisation. Stay informed of what other staff members are doing. Shared calendars help companies to be more organised and productive.
- Set an out-of-office reply. A simple but useful feature. Keep your fellow colleagues, clients and sales prospects informed when you are out of the office or away on holiday.
Challenges of Microsoft Lync
- Upgrading can be difficult. The Microsoft Exchange server is a hassle to upgrade. Since it’s on a server, you need to buy the new version, back up all the old emails, and install the new version. This is time consuming and can be frustrating.
- Maintenance for local server. Since it’s hosted on a server, it requires maintenance. To combat this you can opt for Hosted Exchange and pass on the responsibility of maintenance to a professional IT services provider.
Three keys to successfully implement Microsoft Exchange
Assess requirements and determine the Exchange service model
There are three different options for Exchange.
- You can choose your own local version of Microsoft Exchange, which is just software that is installed on your server locally.
- You can choose with Office 365, which is Microsoft’s cloud version of Exchange.
- You can choose a local Australian partner and pay them to host your Exchange for you.
Speak with an IT professional to assess the requirements and see which option is best for you.
Data hosted in Singapore or Australia
We are often asked the question, “Do we choose a Singapore or Australian host?” by companies when rolling out Exchange.
You can expect to pay a premium to have your Exchange hosted in Australia, but there are benefits to keeping your data in-country and away from foreign laws and regulations. Furthermore, if you’re in an industry that has some data jurisdiction issues, you’ll definitely need to host it locally inside Australia.
Installing Microsoft Exchange
Most companies that move to Exchange are likely transitioning from POP3. To complete the migration, you need to export all your emails from POP3, and then import them into Exchange. Once that’s done, you’ll need to reconfigure all of the existing desktops to access the Exchange server. Generally speaking, your IT guy should be able to do this pretty easily.
Microsoft Exchange Solutions
Are you thinking of using Microsoft Exchange?
We have experience helping organisations make the transition can help you see the benefits of increased efficiencies, improved productivity and minimised downtime.