Email is the lifeblood of any modern 21st Century business. While voice messaging has not vanished completely, email has become the dominant form of communication in most medium and large-sized enterprises, due to its ease of use, reliability, and easy accessibility.
Companies looking to move their email into a distributed, or cloud-based environment realistically only have two major options right now: the Microsoft Exchange service, or Gmail from Google. While Gmail does have some compelling aspects to it – especially a lower per-user pricetag – on the whole the Microsoft Exchange service is more robust, with more useful features for today’s business world.
Benefits of the Microsoft Exchange Service
- Access from anywhere. The #1 reason a company moves to a distributed email service is to expand access to their email. By using Exchange, employees can receive their email no matter where they are, without the security risk of having them “dial in” directly to your company’s servers.
- Compatibility with Microsoft Office. Chances are, your company uses the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Data on Exchange servers can be shared with other Microsoft products, such as Access and Outlook, seamlessly. Not having to worry about file conversion instantly boosts productivity.
- Mobile support. The Microsoft Exchange service works flawlessly with any mobile device, and is practically standard-issue on business-class PDAs and Smartphones such as the Blackberry. This is an especially weak area for Gmail which historically has had issues with mobile access.
- Robust security. System administrators have access to a wide array of options for ensuring security, such as implementing per-device approval lists or even wiping data from stolen phones remotely. Exchange 2010 includes a new feature that allows databases to be synced across multiple servers as well, ensuring continuity of service even in the case of a server crash.
- Reliable customer support. Microsoft’s enterprise support is some of the best in the industry. It’s reliable, staffed with trained professionals rather than the usual low-rent call center workers. It’s also available at any time of day, anywhere in the world, and usually in both English and the local language(s).
If your company is looking to expand its email access, the Microsoft Exchange service should be one of the first products you consider. While pricier than the alternative, it offers a wealth of options the competition does not, backed by some of the best customer support in the industry.
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