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What is Microsoft Exchange?

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What is Microsoft Exchange?

Businesswoman sending email by using digital tablet

The Importance of Easy to Use Email

Whether you are a business employee or a business owner you probably utilize email often in your day to day operations. If you’ve ever had to deal with handling how emails are stored or sent, you’ve probably also heard of various types of mail server software, including Microsoft Exchange.

Having made great waves in the hosted exchange world, Microsoft Exchange has become a premier service for businesses everywhere. For many though, there are still questions as to what it does, and what services it provides.

Listed here are some of the features of Microsoft Exchange, and how it can assist in making your day to day office operations easier.

What is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is an email and calendaring server solution developed by Microsoft, designed to streamline and simplify administration and communication. Rather than the typical client/server protocol of POP3, where the system is designed to delete mail on the server side whenever it’s downloaded by a user, Microsoft Exchange email is designed to centralize communications and keep them stored and backed up on a database running the Windows Server operating system.

Utilizing Microsoft Outlook to send and receive emails, Exchange servers offer a solution to businesses wanting to take advantage of all the things both services have to offer as well as the myriad of other services offered.

What are Microsoft Exchange’s Main Features?

We’ve established what Microsoft Exchange is, now let’s take a look at what it does. Outside of email hosting, Exchange has a variety of features that users can take advantage of, including:

  • A calendar with collaborative features to allow for staff members to share information on meetings, events, and other details to promote better organization and productivity.
  • Simple ease of use features like the ability to setup out-of-office replies to keep people informed of availability.
  • Archived mailboxes that can be accessed from desktop PC work stations, or on remotely from a variety of mobile devices.
  • Contact management that provides an organization-wide address book, as well as personal contact storage to make messaging easy.
  • Collaborative task management that allows for the delegation of tasks to other users when needed.
  • Configurable for POP3 and IMAP4 protocols, as well as its own proprietary MAPI protocol.
  • Integration with file sharing, sticky notes, and other Microsoft services.

A Microsoft Exchange server will keep track of all of these features on a database rather than on individual workstations. This is done through use of Microsoft Outlook, and its web-based counterpart Outlook Web Access which allows access via a Microsoft exchange server login for remote usage from multiple types of devices.

Is Microsoft Exchange Just for Businesses?

Not entirely. While it is most common to encounter Exchange in a business setting as a result of its primary design, it is also the technology that powers and deploys cloud-based services offered by Microsoft. This includes many school emails, and the free version of Outlook available on Outlook.com for email management.

However, Exchange is geared primarily towards the use of business for its functionality, and that is where many of its features really shine.

Outlook email, and the ability to sync up Microsoft services to one account makes using Microsoft Exchange server an easy, natural choice for offices and enterprises that are looking for solutions to a variety of day to day task management protocols especially as further integration with Microsoft software continues to be developed. Likewise its back-end features streamline e-mail management and make it easier for administrators to keep track of security and access for users.

What is Microsoft Exchange’s Availability?

There are several versions available for Microsoft Exchange server. Sold as both an on-premises software for local databases, or as a software as a service (SaaS), Microsoft allows for business owners to choose how they want to integrate it into their company or enterprise. This allows for configuration as a purely on-premises datacenter, one hosted by Microsoft on a remote server, or a hybrid configuration of the two.

In the on-premises form, a customer will purchase client access licenses (CALs) to allow user access, while the SaaS model is paid via a monthly fee as a subscription service.

Listed below are the versions of Exchange that are currently supported by Microsoft as well as their listed end of life dates:

  • Exchange Server 2010 – Supported through 10/13/2020
  • Exchange Server 2013 – Supported through 4/11/2023
  • Exchange Server 2016 – Supported through 10/14/2025
  • Exchange Server 2019 – Supported through 10/14/2025

It is recommended that you use the most updated version of Microsoft Exchange to make use of the most recent security tools as well as take advantage of advancements in processing power and storage that may not be compatible with earlier versions. However, if you are running on older technology, or simply just don’t want to commit to the newest version, the earlier versions of Exchange will have security and feature updates through the end of their supported life-cycles to keep them safe from hackers and malware.

Whatever version of Exchange that you use, it is important to make sure that thorough research into your server database needs is conducted to ensure compatibility and maximum effective use. While many of the versions of exchange have similar functionality, legacy features like Universal Messaging System have been phased out of newer versions in favor of newer offerings by Microsoft.

Likewise, Exchange 2019, the newest version of Exchange, has added functionality for mobile devices, inbox streamlining, and archiving functionality that allows for multi-mailbox search, as well as many other features not available on earlier versions. Exchange 2019 also has expanded information protection and control support, making it easier to encrypt, moderate, or block e-mails that may be sensitive or inappropriate.

How Do I get Microsoft Exchange For My Business?

While it is possible to go out and purchase Microsoft Exchange and set it up yourself, its recommended that you first consult with your IT or managed services provider first. There is a lot that goes into migrating from one type of email service to another, and their expertise can help to expedite the process, and spare you from any problems or complications that may arise.

Contact Us for More Information!

Whether you have more questions regarding what is Microsoft Exchange or are thinking of making the leap to using it, we are here to help.

With a decade of experience in IT and a track record of excellent customer service, LG Networks has the experience to make the transition to using Microsoft Exchange smooth and painless so you can focus on what matters, running your business.

To learn more, click here for more information, or give us a call at 972-528-6546 for immediate assistance.