From the Oct. 2006 Issue
Microsoft developers have been busy, and the upcoming blitz of new versions
of both desktop and server products is the result. I’ve previously written
about the upcoming release of the Office Suite, and slated to support this release
of knowledge worker tools is a new version of Exchange. For those readers who
may not know, Exchange is the mail server that supports the e-mail capabilities
The new version incorporates many of the technologies recently purchased and
enhanced by Microsoft, including the following:
• Anti-spam — An integrated, IP-based block-and-allow
list based on sender reputation. Lists are automatically updated as new versions
become available. The block-and-allow list can be customized by Administrators
• Anti-virus — Forefront Security (FrontBridge)
for Exchange uses five anti-virus engines to filter viruses and worms while
also providing protection against phishing attacks.
• Search — Using the Microsoft standard search
technology, content in Exchange Server 2007 mailboxes is fully indexed and searchable
using a variety of criteria. Administrators have the ability to search across
multiple mailboxes using a single query if compliance or legal requirements
require information discovery.
Additionally, new mobile capabilities have been added to the server that allow
administrators to remotely erase mobile devices that are lost or stolen. As
is standard operating procedure for Microsoft, many of the new “built-in”
capabilities of new versions are released piecemeal ahead of the new version
release. The remote wipe functionality is available now for Exchange 2003. This
new version of Exchange will include several optional server “roles”
and one non-optional one. One of the optional server roles is referred to as
Edge transport. As the name implies, this role for Exchange is designed for
a server located outside the internal network. It supports Simple Mail Transfer
Protocol (SMTP) routing, provides anti-spam filtering technologies and support
for anti-virus scanning.
Another feature set that should make the new version worth looking at is the
promised Unified messaging capabilities. This supports the overall theme of
Anywhere Access. Microsoft recently provided its definition of unified communications:
“You are one person, but you end up having multiple identities because
of the devices, and that leads to communications islands. Some research that
we reviewed indicated that the average organization has 6.4 different types
of communications devices and 4.8 different communications applications per
user. And this leads to one of the key problems, communication is inconvenient,
it’s not connected.”
Microsoft plans to build unified communications into Exchange Server 2007,
along with several other products, to make this long emerging technology more
mainstream. In Exchange, Microsoft will combine voicemail and fax into e-mail
inboxes to give users a single location to check all messages. The server will
also feature speech-based auto attendant capabilities so users can phone their
Exchange server to have e-mail and calendar items read to them or have voicemail
How will this all work? Megan Kidd, group product manager for Exchange, says
there will be only one main requirement beyond Exchange for those capabilities.
“If you have an IP-PBX, it would hook directly to your server. If you
have just a PBX, you’ll have to buy one of the third-party gateways that
is being developed for Exchange 2007,” Kidd says.
A tidbit that addresses one of my personal pet peeves is the out-of-office
scheduler. First, to my whining: A user sets their out-of-office reply when
they leave on vacation. However, in the rush of getting back and catching up,
they forget to turn it off. So even though the user is back and reading e-mail,
their mailbox is still sending out-of-office messages. This is confusing for
recipients and downright embarrassing for the sender. In the new version of
Exchange, out-of-office messages can now be scheduled to begin and end on specific
dates and times, reducing the likelihood of a user’s out-of-office not
being set properly. In addition, administrators can enable or disable the out-of-office
functionality for a mailbox, and this can be set or unset from a mobile device.
I’m looking forward to continued testing of these promised new features.
Whether I really want to trust Microsoft to completely provide security for
my e-mail is still debatable, but I’m going to keep an open mind.
Mr. Goodfellow is a partner of BKR Fordham Goodfellow, LLP, and
manages its wholly owned subsidiary One Tech, LLC. He can be reached at 503-648-8523