I’m at the World Wide Partner Conference in Minneapolis and have been presenting some demos on Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging and Security Feature pack, showing how to configure a device to connect to the exchange server over the air (I’m using Wireless 802.11, but I also have a Smartphone which I configured over the air using GSM/GPRS) – configuring a device is as easy as connecting to OWA (Outlook Web Access) – you simply need your server name (like https://mail.contoso.com), and user credentials (user name, password, and domain), and then you’re all set.
Today I was presenting an exchange/windows mobile, ISA 2004, and Sybari keynote demo for Andy Lees (VP for Server an Tools) at the WWPC – sat behind stage I was catching up on e-mail and working on a little utility for Windows CE (perhaps more on this later) – my Smartphone was set on vibrate so it didn’t bleep out loud during the keynote demo when a new e-mail arrived – I reecieved three e-mails on my smartphone before they arrived in my outlook inbox, this direct-push technology is pretty impressive. The fact that you only need the SP2 upgrade to Exchange Server 2003 and you’re all set is really neat – you can control the Windows Mobile security settings, and of course have full control over the exchange server, user accounts etc…
I find it interesting that Blackberry hasn’t been delivering e-mail for a couple of days now – I guess that’s something you have to live with if you’re allowing your e-mail data to be sent through a 3rd party server/service. Perhaps it’s time to think about having complete control over your mobile e-mail experience! – Perhaps it’s more than that though – E-Mail is a mission critical application, many companies could not operate without a reliable e-mail solution, but what about other applications, I saw a prediction recently that by the year 2010 two thirds of the workforce will be mobile/remote workers – if that’s the case then you should be thinking about how you securely remote your business applications across the internet to authorized users, in today’s keynote Andy Lees was talking about the blurring of the traditional corporate firewall with users working from home or remote offices, or users on tablets/laptops working from coffee shops or in customer offices, or even on mobile devices like Pocket PC or Smartphone. It’s time to look at how you can enforce security on your data and applications through policy rather than having a flat wall firewall protecting your corporate applications.
Taking a brief look at Windows Mobile 5.0 and the Messaging and Security Feature pack, you can enforce, through policy security on all of your Windows Mobile devices, this includes enforcing a password, the length of the password, and whether the password is PIN or alphanumeric – the timeout before a device locally locks, and the number of logon attempts before a device locally wipes itself – your IT guy can also remotely wipe a device using the same direct push technology as e-mail. Devices can be maintained through SMS (Systems Management Server), and there are a number of anti-virus solutions for Windows Mobile devices – but wait, there’s more, there’s also the applicaiton development tools and related technologies, consider using XML Web Services to allow your device to consume data from your corporate applications, or perhaps using SQL Server for Windows CE to replicate data to your Windows Mobile device, have this information in an “offline store” which can be updated locally and then replicated back to the SQL Server —– all of this “over the air”, there’s no need to sync with a desktop PC (although, you can also sync data over ActiveSync). How productive could your mobile workforce be if they started using mobile/handheld devices ?