Introduction to Outlook Web Access 2007

Although Outlook Web Access 2007 doesn't appear to have undergone any transformations, there are a couple of changes to be aware of.

At the first casual glance, Outlook Web Access 2007 appears to be nothing more than Outlook Web Access 2003 with an updated skin. However, while Exchange 2007 itself has gone through a radical transformation, changes to OWA 2007 have been more evolutionary in scope. This is not a negative against the service at all. To the contrary, I personally find OWA to be one of the best web-based mail products out there.

I'll start with security. You probably know that Microsoft's security record isn't exactly considered the benchmark by which folks should build products, but the company, in all of their new development, does seem to be making strides in this department. Outlook Web Access 2007 isn't an exception. First off, OWA 2007 now supports two factor authentications. Second, an Exchange administrator can force users into viewing only HTML documents so that information is not left behind on public kiosk-type computers.

Microsoft has also added the ability to view certain document types from within OWA itself. In the past, you often had to download documents in order to view them, which can be a hassle. Now, messages with attachments ask if you would like to open the document as a web page, which allows you to view the contents in HTML form.

Besides the ability to view attachments, OWA 2007 provides remote document access to... well, everything. Have you ever been at a conference when you realize you need to download and print a document, but you left your laptop in your hotel room? Hence, no VPN. No problem. Using OWA 2007, you can open any network share back at HQ, download your document, print it, and be ready for your meeting. Of course, this new feature could be considered a security problem for some companies, so take care.

For those using browsers other than Internet Explorer, Microsoft has significantly enhanced the "light" OWA 2007 experience. Personally, I have not generally enjoyed OWA on non-Microsoft browsers. However, OWA 2007 will probably change this. The interface is much cleaner and more intuitive. No longer do you have your folder list taking up message space, and the interface just makes more sense.

Outlook Web Access 2007 "Light"

OWA 2007 adds significantly useful and powerful features to an already great product. Make sure to learn about OWA 2007's new security features and accessibility (as in document accessibility) features to see how they can help your organization.

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