Exchange Online is the hosted version of Microsoft's messaging platform, Exchange Server.
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Introduced as part of the Exchange Server 2010 release, Exchange Online gives companies a majority of the same benefits that on-premises Exchange deployments provide. By integrating with the Microsoft Outlook client, companies that use Exchange Online can make use of hosted email, calendars and contacts, at a cost of $5 (USD) per month, per end user. Microsoft Exchange Online is available as a standalone solution or as part of the Microsoft Office 365 collaboration suite.
According to Microsoft, Exchange Online will provide customers with the following:
- Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 connectivity with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome browsers.
- Mobile access with push email, calendar and contacts through Exchange ActiveSync
- Compatibility with Microsoft Windows Phone, Apple iPhone and iPad, and many Nokia and Android phones
- Mobile device security policies, including PIN lock and "remove device" wipe
- 25 gigabyte (GB) mailboxes and the ability to send messages up to 25 megabytes (MB)
- Ability to share free/busy calendar data with other organizations using Exchange Online
- Company directory, distribution groups and shared contacts
- Hosted voicemail compatible with on-premises PBX phone systems and Lync Server 2010
- Voicemail preview, call answering rules and company auto-attendant
- 99.9% uptime commitment with financially backed service level agreement (SLA)
- Continuous data backup between globally-redundant data centers
- Deleted item retention and deleted mailbox recovery
- Virus/spam filtering with Microsoft Forefront Online Security for Exchange
- Continuous intrusion monitoring and detection
- HTTPS connections
- Built-in email archiving with the ability to search multiple user mailboxes at once
- Policies to automatically expire email data or preserve it for compliance purposes
- Flexible transport rules for applying disclaimers and other policies to email in transit
- Free tools for migrating IMAP and Exchange Server mailbox data to Exchange Online
- The ability to combine Exchange Server mailboxes and Exchange Online mailboxes in a hybrid environment
- The ability to synchronize on-premises Active Directory with Microsoft Online Services
- 24/7 support by phone or on the web
- Centralized, Web-based access for configuration and administration of Exchange Online services
- Remote PowerShell connections for advanced configuration and automation
- Role-based access control (RBAC) for controlling administrator permissions