Coupled with Microsoft Outlook, Hosted Exchange provides valuable messaging features that go beyond simple e-mail that allow business users to take control of their inbox. This functionality includes:
- Contact management, event and calendar management, resource scheduling and administration, task management and shared folders
- Delegate access to allow others to check designated components like e-mail, tasks lists and calendars
- Server and client-side rules and spam filtering to manage the flow of incoming messages
- Multi-colored flagging to mark messages for follow-up, prioritization, searching and categorization
- Recovery of sent messages
- Ability to delete and replace an unread message
- Out-of-office automatic reply
All mail traveling within an Exchange Server 2007 organization is encrypted by default. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is used for server-to-server traffic, Remote Procedure Call (RPC) is used for Outlook connections, and Secure Socket Layers (SSL) is used for Client Access traffic (Outlook Web Access, Exchange ActiveSync, and Web Services). This prevents spoofing and provides confidentiality messages in transit.
Additional security protocol support includes Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), enabling users to digitally sign and encrypt e-mails and attachments or to access their mailboxes securely, without a VPN connection, when working outside company firewalls. Anti-spam features include support of real-time Safe and Block lists and both server-side and client-side message filtering in Outlook to help reduce the amount of unsolicited junk e-mail messages.
Scheduling & Resource Booking Assistant
The Scheduling Assistant helps users efficiently schedule meetings by providing visual guidance on the best and worst dates and times to meet based on meeting invitees and required resources.
The Resource Booking Attendant enables resources, including meeting rooms or other equipment, to be automatically managed. Resources can auto-accept requests when available or decline and provide details explaining the decline. Administrators can set granular policies on resources, including available hours or scheduling permissions.
The Calendar Attendant reduces scheduling conflicts by limiting calendar items (request, declines, accepts) in the inbox to the latest version. The Calendar Attendant also marks meeting requests as tentative on recipient calendars until users can act on the request and relies on the Exchange Server 2007 free/busy Web service for always up-to-date availability information.
Out of Office Scheduling
Out of Office (OOF) messages can now be scheduled to begin and end on specific dates and times, reducing the likelihood of a user’s out of OOF not being set. A separate out of office message can be sent to external recipients, a capability the administrator can enable or disable. Out of Office messages can also be set or unset from a mobile device.
Outlook Web Access
Outlook Web Access, an AJAX application since its first release with Exchange Server 5.5, provides a rich, Outlook like experience in a browser. New features in Outlook Web Access 2007 enable users to:
- Schedule Out of Office messages and send to internal and/or external recipients
- Use the Scheduling Assistant to efficiently book meetings
- Access SharePoint documents without a VPN or tunnel using LinkAccess
- Use WebReady Document Viewing to read attachments in HTML even if the application that created the document is not installed locally
- Access RSS subscriptions
- View content in Managed E-mail Folders
- Retrieve voice mail or fax messages through Unified Messaging integration
- Search the Global Address List
- Edit and manage server-side mailbox rules
- Send and receive S/MIME messages
- Access to Public Folder items
WebReady Document Viewing
Outlook Web Access 2007 can transcode a variety of document types – including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and PDF files – from their native format into HTML so that they can be viewed in a client browser even if the application that created the document is not installed on the client. This allows users to be productive from almost any machine and keeps viewed documents safe, even on kiosk machines, since HTML documents are purged by Outlook Web Access at logoff or session timeout.
Various corporate retention policies exist for e-mail, voice mail, and fax communications. With Managed Folders, a user can organize messages into Outlook folders. An automated process scans the inbox and these folders to retain, expire, or journal communications based on compliance requirements.
Public folders are a shared resource, available offline and online, for instantaneous storage of digital content and communications. Any user with access privileges can retrieve and contribute information from a public folder while working in Outlook. Rather than e-mailing file attachments back and forth, they can be stored in a common location for sharing and discussion.
Exchange Server includes rich features for personal, group, and resource scheduling that integrates with e-mail, contacts, and tasks. Users can share their calendar information with others and view multiple calendars simultaneously to send meeting requests for shared open times. Recipients can decline or propose a different time, or accept and have the meeting automatically entered in their calendars. Schedules for shared resources like conference rooms and projectors may also be incorporated.
Contacts in the company directory (Global Address List or GAL) are centrally maintained for sharing throughout the organization and can be downloaded to Outlook and synchronized for access from Outlook Web Access (OWA) and Outlook Mobile Access (OMA). Distribution lists also can be centrally shared and maintained to facilitate communication to groups such as departments or customer lists.
Shared Task Management
A task list provides the ability to create and assign tasks and can be integrated with e-mail notification and scheduling for basic project management and personal time management. Users can track progress as a task moves from active to complete to overdue, while managing status through various criteria like the person responsible and the category.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
In addition to Outlook, Exchange Server enables a large number of clients for mailbox connectivity, including web browsers through OWA (Outlook Web Access) and Windows-mobile devices through OMA (Outlook Mobile Access), providing flexibility and productivity for information workers regardless of location.