IS claims first live Hosted Exchange 2003 in SA

Internet Solutions Pty. Ltd. (IS) has released IS Hosted Exchange 2003, the new version of the e-mail infrastructure service from its Business Gateway division. Hosted Exchange 2003 aims to bring more flexibility and user productivity than in the previous version.

"Users can now access a fully collaborative platform that brings them significant productivity gains and reductions in total cost of ownership, all in a highly cost-effective package," says Business Gateway GM, Alison Vorster. "Working together with Microsoft (Corp.), we are delighted to bring our customers this next generation of a fully hosted, stable, secure and flexible managed e-mail infrastructure service."

Hosted Exchange 2003 is fully vetted by Microsoft, and is said to be suitable for business from large corporate systems to desktops.

Because the solution is offered as an outsourced, fully hosted and managed service from IS, customers only pay for the functionality they need, IS adds. Options include Web mail, calendars, corporate Web access and fully functional Outlook access, the company says.

-- Web Mail Basic is the entry level for smaller companies, but, according to IS, it provides mailboxes, personal address books and functionality over POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP. Available from anywhere, by any user, on most client devices, including PDAs and smart phones, it is especially useful where customers have mobile staff -- it provides an 'always on' service at an affordable cost, the company adds.

-- Web Mail Plus adds global address lists, and personal calendars, and aims to provide 90 percent of the first steps for corporate collaboration.

-- Corporate Access brings shared calendars and group scheduling to the next level, IS says.

-- Outlook Access is the highest level, giving users a fully functional Exchange service. It offers MAPI over HTTPS -- firewalls see this as corporate, secure traffic, the company claims.

IS says that it has added several features not available in the standard MS Exchange -- these include an admin interface that offers companies the ability to create reports, add and delete users, change user functionality at a granular level, change passwords and create and change distribution lists (aliases).

"We have ensured that users using our existing Hosted Exchange can upgrade easily, and that our other solutions, such as ISFAX and Business Gateway Connect, plug in seamlessly. Our renowned end-user support is included in the cost, and is offered as a direct support service.

We wanted to be sure that we could present solutions that fit the customers' needs, and have worked closely with them to achieve that. We believe that customers need some self-administered flexibility in this type of solution -- they do not want to be constantly asking their service provider for small changes to their e-mail service. It is time-consuming for everyone, costs money and is not productive," concludes Vorster.