Can your server do this? – Outlook Anywhere

Here’s a common scenario I run into with business networks all the time.  Let’s say you are running Exchange on your server in the office to handle all incoming mail to your company’s domain at  Employees in the office use Microsoft Outlook to manage their email, contacts and calendar info.  This works great for everyone except for a few sales employees with laptops.  They are sometimes in the office, but often travel to other cities on sales calls and seminars, and they take their laptops with them.  Their Exchange Server OutlookOutlook works fine in the office, but as soon as they leave the office with their laptop, Outlook goes into “cached mode” and won’t send or receive anything new or synchronize calendars or contacts until the next time they are back in the office.

Some people get around this using Outlook Web Access, which allows you to use your web browser to access email from the office server (more on this in another article).  But what if you want to stick to the familiar Outlook interface?

Enter Outlook Anywhere (formerly known under the esoteric “RPC over HTTP” moniker).  Starting with Microsoft Exchange 2003 and Outlook 2003, the server can be configured to allow Outlook to function from anywhere in the world that the laptop has an internet connection.  The upshot of all this is that the sales people in the aforementioned example can take their laptops on the road, and still have LIVE access to all their email, contacts, and calendar info, without ever having to leave the comfortable Outlook interface.

Initial setup of Outlook Anywhere on the server is a bit tricky, and does require the registration of an SSL certificate, which carries with it a minimal yearly registration fee from the certificate issuer.  (SSL Certificates allow secure communication between the laptop and the server, which is important if sensitive email info is being transmitted)  Despite the somewhat complex setup, if you have users on your system that travel with their laptops, this feature is insanely useful.  Once it’s configured, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.  Considering that the ability to use Outlook Anywhere is built into your 2003/2007/2010 Exchange install, it is almost a crime not to take advantage of it.  Ask your network technician for full details, and remember you can always contact me on the website or leave a comment if you want to know more!

Paul Nicodemi


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January 2020
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