Office 365: Big opportunity for small business to exploit Exchange

I’ve been enabling Exchange services for twenty years, from the fledging version 4.0 when you had to set up a modem handshake for each destination domain, to the current deluxe options of Office 365 trundling data all around the info skyway.

The evolution of Exchange and its companion product Outlook emphasized reliable connections to groups and to individuals.  The cost and complexity of an on-site Exchange server included a hardware-software administrator to run it, which overwhelmed small business.

Now, you can realistically put this people-pleasing resource in the hands of a trained email administrator and leave the server and software mechanics to Microsoft.

The problem with Exchange is how powerful it is:  so many places to make a wrong turn, miss an option, over-use a feature.  Ultimately, Exchange Server is a big database with two parts:  the people and their info.  Careful planning pays off in smoother operations.

Exchange Mailbox permissions are formalized because email addresses serve as identities in many ways that are beyond Exchange itself.  Ironically, while regular email itself is not considered secure, the fact that email addresses are unique is why they are frequently used for site ID.  Consider the fact that banks, stock exchanges, and the IRS do not use email because they do not trust it (no real time result, too much queuing!).  Website connections are immediate and interactive.  Remember THAT when considering what personal or corporate information you’re willing to email and what you should transfer more securely to the recipient.

Exchange TIPS (presuming O365 subscription services):

ALIAS addresses are included in an email account; you might be Anne.Accountant@officetradecraft.com but also get mail for HR@officetradecraft.com and Info@officetradecraft.com.  You cannot “Reply as” an alias.

DISTRIBUTION GROUPS are free, you add email accounts to them to share information such as teams or departments.  Membership is easily adjusted so this is perfect for committees and projects, too.  Group members may “Reply as” the group itself rather than using their own account name:  Anne Accountant Replies as “Management Team”.

For best results, make Groups of Groups.  Rather than maintain a separate group listing each member of your All Company distribution group, have All Company be a collection of smaller groups:  departments, teams, or regions.  When you change sub-group membership, the All Company group will update automatically.

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