Exchange Hosting is a server system, whereby software enables the sending and receiving of email, other types of interactive communications and the sharing of business critical information online or through enabled wireless devices. The Exchange system is designed to interoperate with applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and other e-mail applications, typically utilized by businesses. The purpose of the Exchange hosting system is to provide easy access to business critical information, while maximizing efficiency and simplifying the business communications of small, medium and large companies or organizations.
TheÂ Microsoft Exchange service (also referred to as Microsoft Hosted Exchange) is comprised of a mobile email and collaboration suite that includes email messaging, shared folders and calendars, contact lists and to-do lists. In contrast to typical POP3 email accounts – which are designed to delete email messages from a server upon retrieval – Hosted Exhange server systems store email messages on a dedicated server (often through a third party remote server). Employees may retrieve private or shared files anywhere and at any time, since a web browser, PDA or email client is installed on the computer.
As defined by Wikipedia, Microsoft Exchange Server ”is a messaging and collaborative software product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Server System line of products and is widely used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure solutions. Exchange’s major features consist of electronic mail, shared calendars and tasks, and support for the mobile and web-based access to information, as well as supporting data storage.”
With an Exchange hosting plan, emails and other information stored in Exchange servers may be accessed online through specific client devices such as personal computers or mobile devices. Exchange server systems offer integrated collaborative features such as scheduling, contact and task management capabilities. The Exchange server programs run on MS Windows Servers and MS Windows Server operating systems, and supports MAPI (Outlook 2003), POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP protocols.
Microsoft Outlook Web Access systems also accommodate browser-based access systems. Exchange server systems also support mobile devices such as Blackberry, Treo, Motorola QPocket, PCs and Smartphones. The Exchange programs allow for synchronization of inboxes, calendars, contacts and task lists, as well as mobile device browsers, which allow HTML, compressed HTML (CHTML) and WAP based devices to access the Exchange server.
According to research released byÂ Radicati Group, ”40% of all corporate e-mail boxes are currently delivered as an outsourced service, and this percentage is expected to grow to over 55% by 2006.” Clearly, the financial investment and overhead of owning and maintaining servers and software applications in-house is substantial. Small and medium sized businesses may experience the advantages previously only available to larger firms, such as cost-effective ownership and predictability, secure deployment, and the ability to scale up or down as needed, without risk. The availability of access to information and business-class messaging, is an immeasurable service that fosters high productivity for the employees of companies that utilize Exchange hosting. Shared calendars allow employees to view colleagues’ availability to schedule or rearrange meetings, book conference rooms and plan projects; shared task lists allow for new lists to be created and assigned, then shared with team members; and shared contacts guarantee the accuracy of client information, as well as securing the information so that it is not lost or misplaced.
Before Exchange hosting plans became available, mobile functionality was not accessible for businesses that neither had the time or resources to securely house and manage a server. However, businesses may outsourceÂ Microsoft Exchange hosting in order to lower costs, through a variety of secure and reliable hosted Exchange plans. Exchange servers are managed in data centers, while software is managed, including downloads and upgrades, along with customer support. Essentially, when outsourcing Exchange hosting, a company may have all of the functionality of an enterprise-level collaborative communication management solution, in a secure, efficient and cost-effective manner.