Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

Microsoft Exchange Server: Business email without the technology hassle.

Microsoft Exchange is leader for business collaboration, and the 2013 version is making great strides to support the new ways people interact.

Some of the new features:

  • Smart Search learns from a user’s work habits to optimize search results
  • Contacts from multiple sources can be merged to provide a unified view of each business contact
  • Enhanced message archiving and search capabilities that include other resources in your organization (not just mail, contacts and appointments on the Exchange server)
  • Outlook Web App is more sophisticated than ever – view merged calendars, link multiple contact sources such as Linkedin. The look and feel is designed to work better on tablets and mobile devices
  • OWA for devices is available for iPhone and iPad
  • Very flexible options for hybrid deployments using an Exchange server on the LAN in concert with Exchange online

For smaller businesses, Microsoft is abandoning the small business product which included and Exchange server. The offering for this market is a combination of Windows Server Essentials for local LAN file and print services and Active Directory, along with Exchange Online hosted service or Office 365. The hosted services run on the same server software and provide the same features.

These services are right for very small organizations and widely-distributed, highly mobile workgroups. I do have concerns with aggregating mail for thousands of companies into a large high-profile target for hackers. There are other hosted options (smaller hacker targets) besides Microsoft’s offering, and for some situations an in-house server still makes good sense.

Keep your business out of the headlines

Security Breaches: bad news for your small business.While you may spend a lot of your time making the world more familiar with your business, there is one kind of publicity that really is bad publicity – being the target of a security breach that puts your customer’s information at risk. Rarely a week goes by without another high-profile incident of hacking; compromised customer information costs big businesses millions and could certainly spell doom for a small one.

There are a lot of important policy decisions that go a long way towards limiting your business’ exposure to security breaches:

  • Physical security: Limit access to the places where your information is stored and used –  your office, warehouse, outsourced facilities, and even employee’s homes if they must keep business information there (they shouldn’t). Keep track of visitors and vendors who come on-site.
  • Make sure the minimum number of people necessary to do the work have access to business information. This covers both physical aspects and things like shared file and data resources.
  • Good password practices: passwords are always the last line of defense so make sure they are not guessable, and are changed regularly. When someone leaves your employ, make sure passwords get changed as a matter of course immediately.

These are just a few of the ideas that are crucial to the physical and social-engineering aspects of security. On the technology side, a well-designed strategy for protecting against attacks is just as important. This side of the equation also protects your business against lost productivity caused by annoying malware infections.

trendmicrologoFor ‘endpoint security’ (today’s industry buzzword) I recommend and use Trend Micro products. Trend has excellent offerings sized from one or two office PCs and a smartphone, all the way to a multi-national enterprise with hundreds of locations and thousands of employees.

For my customers, Worry-Free Business Security is the right fit. It has a good balance of cloud-based and on-premises resources for good performance and great protection against viruses, trojans spam and malicious websites. It supports Windows PCs, Macs and both Android and Apple iOS devices.

The best feature of WFBS is its management interface – a simple-to-use web GUI that gives a great view of the security status of all your PCs and devices. The agent deployment process is mostly transparent to end users, and you can easily enforce rules on your network to ensure all devices are protected.

Once configured, updates are deployed automatically and seamlessly. Trend’s Smart Protection Network  collects (anonymous) data about threats around the world from millions of Trend Micro installations and uses the information to deliver detection and removal of new threats more quickly.

If you’re migrating from another anti-malware solution, the agent install process will smoothly remove the existing agent for many popular competing packages. In most cases, employees won’t even know the process is happening (a reboot is usually needed to complete the process, end users are notified to do this at their convenience).

Worry Free Business Security Advanced also includes anti-malware and anti-spam protection for Exchange servers, and inbound email filtering using Hosted Email Security. This is another productivity booster – inbound spam drops dramatically with this product. It also saves resources like bandwidth and Exchange server resources, because spam emails never reach your site. EHS offers a simple web interface so each user can control his or her Approved senders and deliver any legitimate emails that get intercepted (usually a very rare occurrence).

I can also manage and monitor your WFBS system remotely, and provide support when malware is detected.

Ready to get started? Contact me today!