Office365–Exchange Overview

As part of the series of posts on Office365 this post will look Exchange Online.

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Administration for all Office365 services are managed via a common site.  The default for this is https://portal.onmicrosoft.com.  When you sign in (and Office365 provides a really good update to the single sign-in client) you are shown initially the user centric view, clicking Admin will take you to the central services Administration screen.

Each service provides it’s own management pages with the central site providing user, group and domain management (future post will cover these aspects).

Manage Exchange Online

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The administration user experience with Exchange Online is first class.  The people who designed this have really done a lot of work providing the basic features within easy reach, and as you need more advanced features opening up these in an easy to find way.

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User management is made very easy with the ability to search using free text and filter by types of mail boxe.

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Room management is something that is embedded in Outlook/Exchange and its good to see it here and easy to find.  The select view also gives an indication of the Advanced capabilities available with the option to choose Mailboxes on litigation hold.

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Management of additional user information and features are provided via a comprehensive, but still very easy to use, dialog. Management of groups is also similar with membership and properties managed via simple dialogs.

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External contacts can be also be added and made available to all users.

Migration options for Exchange Online are fairly extensive and will be covered in more detail in a future post in this series.

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Roles & Auditing

For a lot of small businesses these features could be considered advanced options.  You can happily use Exchange Online without ever having to look at or adjust these.  They do however provide some comfort in that if you need them, you know the options exist.

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The options available for auditing is something that you will be grateful for if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to perform an audit.

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At it’s simplest you can look at who’s in the administrators group  up to specific non-owner mailbox access reports.

Mail Control

Spam is a massive issue, if you have never received a spam email then your in the minority!  Exchange Online provides its protection through Microsoft Forefront Online Protection.  This application is a spam and anti-virus service that protects you from all sorts of nasty’s.  The big benefit of the online service is that Microsoft are responsible for keeping these services up to date and tuned – as a user of the service you really don’t want to have to worry about this.

In addition to the external control Exchange Online allows you to manage internal rules.  You can see from the screen shot below that this has been tested in Education with the anti bullying and closed campus rules and safety settings.

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Journaling also features here giving you the confidence that should you need this, for compliance or other reasons, Office365 and Exchange Online have you covered.

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Another example of good user experience in the delivery reports screen.

Phone and Voice

During the beta we have not tested the phone and voice integration,  being a small hybrid organisation 21apps does not have an on premise phone system.  It is understood that Microsoft are working with phone providers, including mobile operators to integrate their systems into the Office365 platform.

The ability to have a unified number and voice mail across all of my platforms is something that I am looking forward to.

Summary

Exchange Online provides enterprise class email in a hosted environment with the ease of use of even the best online applications.  For business class email there really is no alternative.

The next post will look at Outlook Online and how the familiar Outlook features are available on the web.

More information about Office365 can be downloaded here.

Please note these screen shots are based on the Beta Release and there is no guarantee that this is what will be available in the final product.

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  • http://twitter.com/ssummone Steven Summone

    Hi Andy, I been looking for more info about Office 365 online and I not finding much info about the SharePoint offering at present. I have tried to join the beta testing but have not been given and invite from MS yet. I will follow your post closely. Thanks Steven

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  • http://ashrafhossain.wordpress.com/ Ashraf Hossain

    Handy post,can you give any link for getting more about Exchange and Sharepoint? Thanks

  • http://www.21apps.com AndrewWoody

    Steve,

    I will be posting on SharePoint very soon – its more than the current bpos offering but not feature parity with on premise – although the admin UI is pretty slick UX

  • http://mybellarocca.com/default.aspx Ana B-E

    I’m a very small business owner. I manage mybellarocca.com, a jewelry site. What does all of this mean to me?

    I mainly use the office live services because I don’t have to hassle with any issues, or extra knowledge. How will the new services enhance my business. I love the easy interface and have recommended it to at least 10 of my peers that became users. I don’t want flashy, or sophisticated. Just MS simple. Does that make sense? Could it be that maybe this is no longer a service for those of us that have a tiny business that are trying to keep it that way? Thanks, A-

  • http://www.21apps.com AndrewWoody

    Office365 is about making the featured app’s available to the small business (and large) in an easy to use way.
    I’m not sure of the roadmap for the live services, but if you only used the email side of the solution you get a great story and you have the ability to scale up if needed.

  • http://www.21apps.com AndrewWoody

    Office365 is about making the featured app’s available to the small business (and large) in an easy to use way.
    I’m not sure of the roadmap for the live services, but if you only used the email side of the solution you get a great story and you have the ability to scale up if needed.