We're all now familiar with the raft of new communication technologies that have come along in the past ten or fifteen years. We can sit in our offices or at home and stay in touch with key business contacts, clients, customers and colleagues in many instantaneous ways. But what about when we're on the move?

What about organisations who rely on individuals being able to do their work wherever they are, who need contact to be maintained across diverse locations? Mobile phones offer a high degree of connectivity, of course, but access to online material remains limited, as does the ability for distant colleagues to co-author a piece of work, and the best communications can become very expensive. What's more, there are serious concerns regarding the security of data, following a number of high-profile hacking cases.

Although none of these concerns are particularly relevant to the overwhelming majority of private users, an alternative solution is highly desirable for large businesses that require a secure, effective and affordable means to maintain the high levels of communication that their work demands. In Microsoft Exchange Server, many companies have found just that solution. They've also found that, with Exchange Server, they can save time, save money, and be more confident of the security of all forms of communications that they use.

Saving time

Exchange Server gives you the power and freedom to tailor your usage to your company's specific needs. With the software, you're providing a single point, set up and managed entirely within your organisation, for staff to access all of their key business communication. Many of us find a great deal more information in our inbox each day than we can effectively use - and not necessarily unwanted mail, either. We may simply find our email accounts submerged with messages of many priorities and none, some that are critical to the job in hand but lost amongst those that are rather less vital.

With Exchange's inbox management tools, it's easy to prioritise those emails that you need now, and to access them from anywhere that you can get a rudimentary internet connection. And to make the key information immediately clear, Exchange can arrange messages into threads - regardless of their position in the inbox - to form a conversation view that keeps all the important details together and instantly to hand.

Exchange also allows users to access all their communication in a single place: voicemail (which comes with an instant preview, the better to prioritise your received messages as you do with written content) and instant messaging can be reached from the same software on the same computer, making it that much easier for colleagues to work together without having to switch repeatedly between multiple technologies.

Saving money

To make aspects of your business more efficient in this way is good for your company's accounts - time is money, as we all know. But Exchange can help save money for your business in other ways, too. By simplifying the business communications process to one application, IT costs can be markedly reduced: the ability to match capabilities to your organisation's needs makes it easier to limit hardware costs, and only invest in the storage capacity that you need; disaster recovery tools help to avoid expensive business continuity strategies; and there's no longer any need to set up and maintain a costly virtual private network to provide security of communication.

Saving your business information from falling into the wrong hands

Ah, that virtual private network that has been customary to guarantee communication security. Doing without it will certainly save money, but can you be sure that the integrity of your information isn't being compromised? Exchange will fit differing levels of sensitivity, to ensure that your information is sufficiently protected without creating any obstacles to access.

Every email that passes through the server can be checked to identify secure content according to Transport Rules that you've identified - so ordinary, personal messages with no sensitive information can pass through the system normally, whereas emails containing the content you need to protect are instantly picked up by Exchange's security. It can then be automatically encrypted and sent on its way, redirected to a manager, or deleted as soon as detected. And this filter will apply to everything that passes through the server, so you can be sure that information that you don't want to leave the company, doesn't.

Exchange can also help to ensure that, even if there's no risk of highly sensitive content leaving your company, the organisation won't be compromised in other ways. Dynamic signatures can be added to mails to prove their provenance, allowing you to be confident that messages you receive are indeed from who claimed to send them. And to make sure that all employees are adhering to company emailing policies, MailTips can easily be set up to warn users if they're at risk of violating your standards.

Using Exchange Server to manage business communications can be advantageous for any organisation, providing secure and efficient solutions whilst simultaneously reducing IT overheads - and you and your staff could likely benefit from a short training course to get the most from its range of powerful and versatile tools. And with more effective communications, and more confidence in security, your business can reap the rewards of being able to work effectively, everywhere.