eSkyCity provides a service called Secure Hosted Exchange. This is an enterprise-class email and collaboration solution for businesses, with built-in security features. In the future, we’ll provide a technical deep dive of our Hosted Exchange service. For the sake of this article, we’ll be focusing on Hosted Exchange in general.
What is Exchange?
Exchange is the name of an email software product. Many companies have been using this software for more than 10 years, and it’s considered the gold standard for business email.
What is Hosted Exchange?
Hosted Exchange just means someone else provides and manages everything for you. With a hosted service, there’s no equipment to install or purchase. Everything is taken care of for you by a service provider, like eSkyCity.
Why Buy Hosted Exchange Instead of Doing it Yourself?
- It’s expensive. Purchasing servers, network equipment, and Exchange licenses is very expensive, even for a small number of email accounts.
- Keeping it Up and Running. Because email is so critical to business communication, many companies must have redundancy in place. This means you’re basically doubling your expense by purchasing two of everything.
- Management Hassle. Exchange works great, if you really know what you’re doing. Most companies do not have the technical know how, or time, to be able to build and manage their own Exchange email service.
Exchange Synchronization vs Other Email Solutions
By “Other Email Solutions”, we’re referring to POP (or POP3) and IMAP. These are two different ways to retrieve email, also referred to as protocols. There are many technical differences. To summarize, here are the basics:
- POP is just plain email, with no synchronization.
- IMAP synchronizes all your email on all your devices (Computer, Phone, etc).
- Exchange synchronizes email similar to IMAP, but includes a more comprehensive service called ActiveSync. This service also synchronizes Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes.
Examples of Exchange Synchronization with ActiveSync
- Contacts: You add someone’s contact information to your phone or tablet. You can then look up that contact information on your computer, and vice versa.
- Calendars: Someone sends you an invitation for a meeting, and you accept the invitation while at your computer. You can then see the event on the calendar of your phone or tablet, and vice versa.
- Notes: You add notes to your phone. You can then see the notes on your computer, and vice versa.
Accessing Your Email, Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, and Notes with Exchange
The following devices are supported out of the box with Exchange:
- PC (Windows): Outlook
- Mac (OSX): Outlook for Mac
- Phones: iPhone, Android Phones, Windows Phones, Blackberry
- Tablets: iPad, Android-based tablets, Windows-based tablets
- Webmail: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari
Meeting requests can be sent to colleagues within your company, or with other companies that use Exchange, and are automatically added to the calendar of everyone involved.
Exchange goes far beyond email by allowing several ways to collaborate with colleagues:
- Calendar Viewing allows everyone within a company to see each others’ calendar. Employees will only be able to see what times are available or busy, without showing a description.
- Calendar Sharing gives you the ability to share your calendar with anyone that also uses Exchange, even if they work at a different company. People you share you calendar with will be able to see events you have scheduled, along with descriptions.
- Calendar Access gives you the ability to share your calendar with any Exchange user, but also allows them to edit your calendar. This is particularly helpful for someone in an assistant role that schedules meetings on behalf of others.
Exchange provides a way for several people to contribute information and data to shared Calendars, Contact Lists, Tasks, and Notes. This is referred to as the Exchange Public Folder. Permissions can be set to give access company-wide, or to select groups, made up of any combination of people.
Automatic Email Responses
With Exchange’s Out of Office Assistant, you can setup rules to automatically respond to emails you receive. This is most commonly used when you’re out of the office to let people that send you email know you’re unavailable. However, the content of the automated response email is custom. So, for example, you could setup an automatic email response to anyone that sends an email to your support department, letting the sender know that you’ve received their message. Also, simple rules can be put in place to send different messages to coworkers and clients.
Enforcing Legal Disclaimers
Many companies require their employees to include specific legal text at the bottom of all the emails they send. You’ve likely seen text that says something like “This message is solely for the use of the intended recipient…”. That’s a legal disclaimer. Exchange allows a company to force a specific message to be included at the bottom of all employee emails. This helps to ensure every employee is compliant with their company’s email policy. While this feature is typically used for legal text, it can technically be any text.