By Melissa J Luther
Microsoft Exchange 2010, while not a major upgrade, does provide some significant functionality improvements over Exchange 2007. It promises a bigger, faster messaging platform with more control over what happens to your communications, even after you’ve sent them.
Role-Based Access Control
Role-based control replaces the Access Control List that assumed that all users had complete access, requiring administrators to exclude permissions for each user. Exchange 2010 assumes that users have no access, and administrators then assign them to role management groups with varying levels of access. Groups can even determine how much control users have over configuring their mailboxes.
Transport Protection Rules
These rules allow a company to restrict what recipients can do with a message. Administrators can create rules to restrict email usage based on various characteristics of a message, including a keyword, attachment contents or even the sender or receiver. Rules can also specify if a message requires encryption or not. For example, a message or attachment that contains the words “Company XY restricted” could be automatically encrypted and the recipient prevented from forwarding it.
Outlook Web Apps
Web Apps (OWA) is not new in Exchange 2010, but it is much improved. In Exchange 2010, OWA is enabled by default when client access is installed on a computer. When accessing email through OWA, your browser functions, and even sounds, just like Outlook. Even better, Exchange 2010 includes support for the Firefox and Safari browsers, so you are no longer restricted to using Internet Explorer. The new OWA makes an email client optional.
This function replaces the PST files that used to be stored — and lost — on a user’s local drive. In Exchange 2010, archived emails are stored on the server, where they can’t get lost or corrupted and are easy to find. For the end user, though, nothing appears to have changed. Archived emails still appear in Outlook’s Personal Folders.
Local Continuous Replication
Exchange 2010 no longer allows you to have two copies of the same Exchange database on one server. To keep two copies of the same database, you’ll need a second server.
Ease of Use
Exchange 2010 is more user-friendly than previous versions. It doesn’t have the same steep leaning curve for administrators as Exchange 2007, and it has some nice features that make messaging easier for the end user. Two great ones include:
- Conversation View: Choosing this option unclutters your inbox by grouping all emails related to a specific conversation into one expandable thread, much like Gmail does.
- MailTips: Warns you about potential problems with the email you are about to send, such as an attachment that is too big for the recipient to receive, or a recipient who is out of the office.
Overall, Exchange 2010 is a real improvement over Exchange 2007, and most users will probably want to upgrade. The one possible stumbling block for users running Windows Server 2003 is the requirement to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 before you can upgrade Exchange.
About the Author
Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong Internet presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an Internet presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.