Exchange ActiveSync is Microsoft’s solution for enabling mobile devices such as smart phones to securely access their email, calendar, contacts and tasks from remote networks.
This is one of the greatest strengths of Exchange ActiveSync; that it is a built-in feature of Exchange that does not require additional licenses, servers, or software products to be installed in your network or on the end user devices.
This is very attractive for smaller organizations who want the convenience of mobile email access for their staff without having to incur significant additional costs.
With Exchange ActiveSync businesses get the benefits of:
- Secure mobile access to email, calendar, contacts and tasks
- Support for a wide range of consumer smart phones and devices, keeping costs down by allowing users to utilize their own personal mobile devices
- Policy-based control over devices and data, including features such as remote wipe
Here are some more details about the features of ActiveSync in Exchange Server 2010.
Direct Push is an attractive feature for mobile users because it allows a device to be updated instantly when new content is ready to be synchronized.
Although the name “Direct Push” suggests that the server initiates a connection when new content is available, it is the mobile device itself that makes the initial HTTPS request but with a long timeout period of 15 minutes.
If the mailbox receives a new item the server responds to the HTTPS request. If the 15 minute timeout lapses the device simply opens a new HTTPS request and the process repeats.
Similar to the way AutoDiscover allows an Outlook profile to be automatically configured for a new mailbox user, it also simplifies the configuration of a new mobile device for connectivity to a user’s mailbox.
This helps reduce administrative effort and costs by allowing a user to set up their mobile device to receive email simply by entering their email address and password.
ActiveSync Mailbox Policies
Exchange ActiveSync mailbox policies allow administrators to configure the same features and security settings to apply to each group of users.
This includes settings such as whether email attachments can be downloaded to devices, whether devices require a password to unlock them, and how many days’ worth of mailbox content to keep synchronized on the device.