Microsoft Exchange server is an enterprise-class communication platform used by many businesses to simplify the way in which their employees communicate with each other as well as to encourage employees to manage themselves to a better degree. As Exchange Server is a Microsoft product, it is only capable of running on Windows servers, but a the same time this close tie between operating system and product allows Microsoft to deliver a more stable platform that will be capable of meeting the security needs that may represent a challenge for other email and collaboration platforms. The benefit to many businesses of using a platform such as Microsoft Exchange Server is that the data hosted on the platform is accessible from a number of different devices, allowing businesses to construct a central location for email, contact and calendar information; as well as using desktop clients, data hosted on Exchange servers can also be accessed through the Outlook Web Access web interface and a number of different mobile devices including iPhones and Blackberrys. Many businesses already running a Windows-based infrastructure are likely to be using Active Directory as a way of managing and authenticating users and so Exchange Server is able to tie in with this infrastructure seamlessly, allowing your users to use a single account to logon to Windows desktop computers and their Exchange environment. Even though Exchange Server hosting services may carry an additional premium when compared to using other collaboration platforms, Exchange Server is the only platform capable of offering you such a smooth service.
Benefits of Using Exchange Server Hosting
There are several different benefits to using Exchange Server hosting that you should be aware of, especially if you are considering any other collaboration and communication platform, as these could encourage you to use Exchange Server. Such benefits include:
- Encourages communication – Exchange Server will encourage your employees to communicate with each other much more clearly using email as the system will provide your staff with a centralized point from which they can access their emails on any device – the issue with the communication structures in many businesses at the moment is that they are simply too basic and lack a number of different tools that would otherwise aim to enhance the experience and Exchange Server improves on many other collaboration platforms by providing you with a web interface as well as a system that you will be able to access on a number of different devices so that you are never far from your emails
- Allows employees to manage their schedules – another major part of the Exchange platform is the calendar feature that is provided, allowing employees to manage themselves to a higher degree so that they can keep an eye on their appointments – as is the case with email account, Exchange Server calendars can be synced with a number of different devices and applications so that you can add a new appointment to your calendar whilst on the move, safe in the knowledge that the same appointment will be viewable in your calendar on your desktop computer when you return to the office
- Integration into existing infrastructure – most businesses have an existing Windows IT infrastructure usually based around the Active Directory authentication system and Exchange Server can be integrated into your existing infrastructure with minimal work – the idea that employees can use a single username and password to access their emails and Windows desktop computer will simplify the management process for your IT department as it gives them one single platform to monitor the performance of – furthermore, it will mean that your staff will have fewer passwords to remember, thus reducing the chances them forgetting their login details – even though setting up a Windows infrastructure may be expensive, you can be sure that you will be provided with a secure and reliable infrastructure that will be more than capable of meeting your needs.
Disadvantages of Using Exchange Server Hosting
There can also be some disadvantages to using Exchange Server hosting services that you should be aware of, these could include:
- Cost– the cost of implementing the Exchange Server platform when compared to other available options can be incredibly high which is why it may not be that appealing to smaller businesses that have smaller businesses and instead will be more suitable for larger companies – Microsoft sells commercial products meaning that you will need a license to use a majority of the premium applications sold by the company, including the Windows operating system – as a business, by choosing Windows as your infrastructure platform you are going to need to take on board the extra costs that are going to be associated with running your infrastructure than if you had chosen to use Linux servers as Linux is an open source platform
- Windows-only compatibility – it is also important to take into consideration that Exchange Server is a Windows-only application meaning that if you are running an IT infrastructure that is based on any other platform, i.e. Linux, then you should consider a solution other than Exchange Server for your requirements – this means that for businesses which have never used Windows before, a significant investment in Windows servers is going to be required if they wish to make the most of Microsoft Exchange Server, on the other hand they could always choose a remotely hosted as this could be more cost effective and would take less time to setup.
In conclusion, an Exchange Server hosting service will allow you to provide your employees with a centralized communication tool that they can use to communicate with fellow employees and customers of your business. Although there are a number of alternatives available to Microsoft Exchange Server, no other platform is able to provide you with the accessibility features that are offered for a number of different devices; many employees are now on the move these days and use mobile devices such as Blackberrys and iPhones and in most cases will want to be able to access their emails.