For the first time in ten years, Microsoft is holding a dedicated conference for its Exchange software this week in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of the event is to highlight new changes in Exchange 2013 (the server-based version) and Exchange in Office 365 for Enterprises (the cloud computing version).
According to eWeek, "The 2012 MEC will focus on new features of Exchange 2013, which is a much richer platform than it was a decade ago, including unified contact management, integrated voice mail that offers the ability to convert voice mails to text, archiving, e-discovery, data loss prevention and anti-spam/anti-virus protection."
In an interview, Microsoft's Michael Atalla explained to Information Week, "We've layered a new policy engine on top of Exchange that allows IT managers, whether they're online or on premises, to define data-loss prevention policies to help keep information inside the network." The article added, "The tools include software that scans outgoing emails for information, such as credit card or social security numbers, that could violate industry regulations or privacy laws if sent to a third party. If a potential violation is detected, Exchange Server 2013 can automatically block the outgoing mail, or it can be configured to simply warn the user that they are about to send restricted information."
"There are major architectural changes that simplify deployment and make Exchange run well on cheaper, slower hard disks. Principal program manager Ross Smith claims Exchange will be so efficient that you can use budget 7200RPM drives, which are cheap enough that there will be no need for email quotas in business. 'It's a big productivity problem; users come in and they spend the first hour of their day deleting mail so they're back on quota. They're comparing their mail box to their free webmail and asking why they don't have to purge their free mailbox but you're making them do it.'"
Computerworld noted, "As in other areas of enterprise messaging and collaboration, Microsoft faces a variety of competitors like IBM Lotus, VMware's Zimbra and Google's Apps, which is in the process of gaining native email security, archiving and compliance features via an ongoing integration of Postini services and technology."