Theoretically, staying connected to our friends, colleagues and clients should be getting easier by the day. New advances in technology, as well as new implementations of relatively old ones, are making it increasingly easy to have your communications networks move with you. By setting up an Outlook Web Access Server address you will equip yourself with one of the more versatile tools to keep yourself in constant contact with the people and information you need.
The idea of an e-mail service to which you can connect from any terminal with Internet access is hardly new. This kind of e-mail service is known as “web-mail” and there are many such applications available. There are even numerous free webmail services like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail, to name some of the more popular ones. The companies that provide these services can often do so for free because they make money off advertising embedded in their interfaces. Additional features, such as the omission of advertising, can often be obtained by upgrading to premium accounts.
In light of the advantages presented by such systems, many e-mail users are increasingly moving toward these webmail systems, specifically choosing them over other systems like POP3 accounts that were the traditional mainstay of e-mail communications. There are, however still reasons why you would want to use the older systems.
The main advantage is increased control. You get to choose what kind of anti-virus scanning and security features you use that aren’t necessarily integrated into your e-mail client and they are compatible with any domain name you might want to use or any host you may want to use.
Some free services, like Google for example, will allow you to forward messages to and from your accounts, but even then there is one element of control you’ll never have unless you’re willing to pay for it: control of how the service provider screens mail.
Any ISP or e-mail provider will screen e-mail to try to prevent spam from overloading their systems. The problem is that they sometimes do not disclose the conditions set by their filters and you will not be informed when your e-mails are screened out by the automated systems. That means you can be missing e-mail because it resembles spam, even if it isn’t. The filter rules are something you can discuss with your service provider, but being able to change providers gives you a definite advantage.
Maintaining a Microsoft Outlook Web Access system is an attempt to bridge the gap between the two technologies. You can have all the functionality and features of your Outlook client combined with the convenience of being able to access a server-side system remotely. All you need to do is setup the server and then you can connect, remotely, from anywhere with any machine using your unique Outlook web access server address.