By utilizing the “Outlook Anywhere” service in Microsoft Exchange, firms can provide full-featured, anywhere access to the native Outlook application for staff and attorneys. This means that firm members can access and operate their exact same workplace Outlook mailboxes from anywhere rather than only having access while in the physical office space. This should allow firm members to be more efficient since most prefer using applications natively as opposed to over remote-access utilities.
Most law firms run Microsoft Exchange on their server so they can host their own email. Firm members then access their individual email accounts via Microsoft Outlook, a product offered in the Microsoft Office software suite. Most of us use Outlook all day, every day to manage all of our emails and, in some cases, our calendars and contacts as well.
For years now we’ve all run into the same problem: you could only use Outlook while in your physical office space – otherwise known as being connected to the “domain”. But what if we wanted to access our native Outlook email application from the road? No dice.
Example of the Problem
Let’s say you have Outlook on your primary work desktop and your laptop, like I do. Most people simply give up and access their emails via smartphone, VPN, Terminal Services, RWW (Remote Web Workspace) or via OWA (Outlook Web Access) when out of the office, since it allows them to work within a web browser to access their mailbox and emails. There’s nothing wrong with this; in fact, the new OWA for Outlook 2010 is a fantastic, powerful and feature-rich product. But we can do better.
There is a little-talked-about Microsoft Exchange feature called “Outlook Anywhere”. This feature allows you to access all your emails, folders, contacts and calendars within Outlook, say on your laptop, but without the requirement of having to be in your physical office space for Outlook to work.
How the Solution Works
Outlook Anywhere connects to your Exchange server by RPC (Remote Procedure Calls) and HTTP(S). This just means that Outlook is able to communicate with Exchange over the internet by nesting RPC within HTTP packets.
What’s it mean?
For the non-techies like me – simply put – you can now get your new emails, contacts, calendar events, etc., all in real-time, all while being outside the office, all in your native Outlook application. No need for VPN, Terminal Services, RWW, OWA or GoToMyPC. Just use Outlook out of the office the same way you use it while in the office – all in your native Outlook application. Pretty cool. Very powerful. If there’s a reason to utilize this service, other than the fact that it comes at no additional cost, it’s that typically you operate more efficiently when using applications natively as opposed to using them in remote-environments like Terminal Services or GoToMyPC, or via web-browser utilities like OWA. These services, while great, are laggy, inefficient and can be obstructive; this can result in wasted time. Thus, eliminate the laggy environment by using Outlook natively, get more done.