An Alternative to Exchange Public Folders

15 / 07 / 2014

Exchange Public Folders are used as a tool within Outlook which allows the sharing of emails between colleagues. The owner of the Public Folder can set privileges so only certain people can access the folder, or it can be made available to everyone that uses the same mail client.

The premise of Public Folders is what every business wants – greater collaboration between colleagues – which ideally saves the company time in the process. However, Exchange Public Folders only act as a simple sharing tool. As this Tech Net article explains, ‘Users whose mailboxes are on Exchange 2013 won’t be able to connect to Exchange 2007/2010 Public Folders from clients that use Exchange Web Services’. This is just one of the drawbacks of using Public Folders which can cause major problems in large businesses that do not have a unified Exchange environment.
Public Folders can also be cumbersome when migrating to a new version of Exchange and are unsupported when strict limits are reached.

Knowing the drawbacks of public folders, Techne-Comm has developed a feature for their Email Archiving product Mailsafe called Tagging and Sharing. This allows users to ‘Tag and Share’ emails within Mailsafe’s database with up to six index fields. It holds the premise of greater collaboration throughout organisations similar to Exchange Public Folders, but goes a step further.

The six index fields within Mailsafe are operated by a drop down menu which can be pre-populated on installation. These options enable users to tag emails to projects, customers or other tags relevant to your business, so others can search and find these emails quickly and efficiently via Mailsafe’s integrated Outlook toolbar.

This is perfect for a wide range of companies that file by Account Number, Customer Name, Project ID etc. It enables advanced searching within the archive from Outlook, all messages are archived as single instance messages (no duplication, which can be possible with Public Folders) and are compressed within the archive to offer on average 50-60% storage savings. Departmental Tagging is also available, which is ideal for larger companies who want different tags for each department (i.e. Accounts file by Account No. and IT file by Support Ticket reference.

So although Exchange Public Folders can ‘do the job’ in terms of sharing emails, it’s not quite the silver bullet that all organisations are looking for, which is where Mailsafe’s Tagging and Sharing feature steps in.