Person Checking email Via Mobile Device
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Jan. 2, 2014

Hosted Exchange Meets the Scale and Mobile Needs of Modern IT

Hosted email solutions provide competitive businesses with rapid scalability and global access to collaboration tools. While some companies are moving to broad productivity suites, like Google Docs and Zoho, more are staying with specialized enterprise services, such as Microsoft’s hosted Exchange program.

But mobile devices have led to an important shift in the way business is being done. So what does the move from desktop to mobile mean for hosted Exchange workers on the go?

Setting Up Hosted Exchange for Use on Mobile

Lunarpages integrates with Microsoft’s hosted Exchange for mobile devices with a few simple steps, according to Brandon Sharp, a solutions specialist at Lunarpages. After signing up for the service, customers receive instructions to set up a new Exchange email account on their dedicated smartphones.

Setting up an account is as easy as setting up email on Outlook, according to Sharp. Once you enter your main email address, contacts and calendar appointments, you can use Microsoft’s ActiveSync application to update all events in real time on your phone, as well as “all other devices and desktops on which you have configured your Lunarpages Hosted Exchange Email Solution,” he says.

The main function of MS Exchange’s ActiveSync is to improve productivity and keep data updated and accurate. So if a worker changes an appointment on his or her phone while waiting for a taxi at the airport, the change will show up on the desktop computer when the employee arrives at the office. By keeping important events and tasks in sync, workers can avoid the busy work of updating their calendars on multiple platforms across several devices.

“In order for the technology and solution to stay relevant for todays business users, cross-device and cross-platform compatibility is crucial,” Sharp emphasizes.

The Case for Hosted Exchange

Optimizing a similarly robust enterprise-level messaging solution at a reasonable price for a company without Exchange would be difficult. In fact, the main benefit of using MS Exchange with a web host like Lunarpages is that it enables a company to economically scale Microsoft’s high-end software to its customers. For example, the Lunarpages business-class email program is “fully redundant, monitored 24x7x365 and has a 99.9 percent uptime for less than the cost of a latte per month,” Sharp says.

Additionally, according to a 2009 Osterman Research white paper, The Case for Hosted Exchange, a hosted Exchange service reduces the possibility of cost spikes when a business inevitably grows its customer base and is forced to upgrade infrastructure.

Beyond the hard dollar-savings, hosted Exchange can save companies time on IT maintenance. A 2011 white paper commissioned by Microsoft indicated that “IT staff is able to save four hours per week from routine activities associated with keeping its on-premises email system running.”

Hosted Exchange for All

Among the many enterprise features available through Lunarpages’ hosted Exchange are reliable security features, which extend to mobile devices and include IP address, spam and virus protection and constant monitoring and updates that would require a dedicated, well-paid IT administrator to replicate outside of an outsourced solution. Hosted Exchange’s virus protection and triple spam filtering is also customizable and attunes to specific business needs over time.

“[ActiveSync is] customizable by each user in order to ‘teach’ the spam filter what is junk and what is not, to ensure that you are getting only the messages you want and need,” Sharp says.

Users might wonder why a small to medium-sized company really needs a large, dedicated email hosting and collaboration service when free options abound. According to Sharp, flexibility is the best part of a hosted Exchange solution. “A solution can be crafted for each individual business that ranges in size and cost to ensure that the specific needs of the business are being met,” he says.

Reliability is the Holy Grail of modern IT and hosted Exchange ensures that employees can get the messages they need, anytime, anywhere — even on their phones.

[image: Igor Stevanovic/iStock/ThinkStockPhotos]

ABOUT THIS CONTRIBUTOR
Jose is a technology expert with experience in covering cloud computing, startups and enterprise IT.
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