Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync enables users of desktop and mobile devices to access email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from their organization’s Microsoft Exchange server.
Microsoft Exchange is the de facto standard in public sector and corporate IT and is the email backbone of Microsoft’s Office 365 Office suite. Given Exchange’s dominance in premium email services, Exchange ActiveSync is licensed to all major mobile devices manufacturers, although there may be minor variations in subsets of the application used by Windows Phone, Apple, and Android.
The major advantage this brings to users is that it decentralises reliance on a “primary” workstation from which emails etc. have to be co-ordinated. ActiveSync cordinates all devices to a centralised server so that each device has access to all information equally.
Network administrators can limit availability of data to user devices, which is useful in industries where data sensitivity, or in cases where devices are lost or stolen. This usually depends on in-house organisational competency, or in the case of small businesses, access to “delegated” administrators – Microsoft approved third party engineers. ComStat is an authorised delegated network administrator.
ActiveSync is a protocol. In the past, POP3 and IMAP protocols have been widely adopted by manufacturers and users. As modern technology becomes more widely adopted however, POP3’s limitations particularly make it an awkward protocol for users who want to mirror email, contact, and calendaring information between multiple devices. As small business adopts Microsoft’s Office 365 applications, technologies like POP3 which cannot synchronise data between devices “organically” are losing their popularity.
Microsoft Exchange supports POP3, IMAP, MAPI, all of which are widely recognized email distribution protocols. In its native environment, however, MS Exchange performs optimally with ActiveSync. Office 365 users can connect up to 5 devices to their account services.