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Monday, September 26, 2011

Microsoft Hosted Exchange: A Lucrative IT Solution Microsoft Hosted Exchange: A Lucrative IT Solution

A never-ending battle for most small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) is maintaining an adequate cash flow. Simply put: they are making money, but the rate at which it comes in is nearly parallel to the rate at which it goes out for expenses. This makes unexpected costs difficult to manage, especially if even just one or two clients' accounts become delinquent.

The two most obvious solutions are to either increase revenue or decrease expenses. Looking at the expenses, most businesses go directly to labor costs. However, a large portion of monthly costs can often be attributed to information technology (IT) software and management. Tools, processes and equipment related to things such as coding/programming, data communications and systems control fall into this category.

It's no secret that the Microsoft Exchange Server is an extensively used communications platform that boasts flexibility, reliable safeguarding, increased productivity and mobility. Microsoft Hosted Exchange was created as a cost-effective alternative for businesses that are striving to reduce IT expenses and in-house efforts. Using a hosted exchange solution eliminates the need for in-house systems configuration, hardware and software ordering and set-up.

Hosted exchange providers own, manage and operate the entire infrastructure required to run Microsoft Exchange. The only items needed in-house are the PCs for personnel and an Internet connection. Hosted Microsoft Exchange solutions gives SMBs the benefit of having expert technical staff managing the technology 24x7, while also avoiding the investment associated with purchasing and managing on-site equipment or software.

Services are typically offered at a monthly or yearly rate, and allow for easy up/downgrades if your staff numbers or needs change. This flat, recurring expense allows SMBs to budget the communications costs and allocate them with total accuracy, rather than relying on numbers forecasted based on past events.

Additional features and benefits of Microsoft Hosted Exchange will vary depending on the service provider chosen. However, below are some elements to look for when shopping for a quality hosted exchange supplier.

* Collaboration: Keep a shared list of contacts; view others' calendars for easy scheduling; access public folders for centralized storage
* Mobility: Blackberry Messaging; Smartphone compatibility (e.g., iPhone, Android and Windows mobile); Microsoft ActiveSync availability
* Compliance: Retrieval, monitoring and audit tools for policy enforcement; case management tools; privacy, confidentiality and non-disclosure encryption
* Anti Virus/Spam: Spam filtering; inbound and outbound virus blocking; Directory Harvest Attack (DHA) and DoS blocking; user-specific quarantines
* Active Directory Synchronization: User account synchronization; address book and password change synchronizations
* Self Management: User-friendly administrative control panel; add or remove users as needed; create and manage mail services on your domain

Between the economy's spontaneous fluctuations and the growing complexity and risk of technological investments, now is the time for many SMBs to evaluate their expenditures. With Hosted Microsoft Exchange solutions SMBs have the ability to decrease IT expenses and resources, while expanding their communications capabilities and bandwidth. The value of switching to a hosted exchange provider is not just perceived; it's undeniable.

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