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Exchange 2003 Server - Eliminating VPN Requirement

Currently we have 1 Exchange server setup on a Windows 2003 Server machine.  The only way users can access their email accounts from outside the office is by connecting to the VPN.  Does anyone know how Exchange can be configured to eliminate the need of the VPN connection.  I have read somewhere that VPN is not required but since have lost the document.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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sbryant007
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sbryant007
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
how are you trying to get them to connect?  MAPI, IMAP, POP3, HTTP, etc???
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sbryant007Author Commented:
We use SMTP currently.  I need to keep the mailbox storage at the server level.  We do have the OWA setup and it works fine.  I have some remote users that need the ability to connect to exchange using their outlook but while they are not on the VPN.
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
SMTP is how servers send email to eachother (sometimes used by clients to send mail to their mail server), but it's not a method for users/clients checking mail on a mail server. in your outlook client setup are they connected to "microsoft exchange server"?  if so that means they are using a MAPI connection (which is MS's proprietary default).
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sbryant007Author Commented:
Yes, connected to a microsoft exchange server with the mailboxs being stored on the server.
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mikeleebrlaCommented:
ok,, it sounds as though your cllients connect to your exchange server via MAPI.  There are many different types of methods your clients can use to connect to it to get their mail (MAPI, IMAP, POP3, HTTP, etc).  I'm 99% sure you can't connect via MAPI over the internet without a VPN (and you wouldn't want to for security reasons).  you can however set it up so your users could use some of the other standards to check their mail over the internet without using a VPN. HTTP (outlook web) is perhaps the easiest.  all your users will need is a web browser to access their mail.  if they have outlook 2003 (or xp i think) they can actually use the oultook client to connect via http and it will look very much like a mapi connection. You could also have them set up to connect via POP3.  You just need to decide which methods offers the most functionality to your users without being too hard for them to set up.  FYI, most users like the "full" functionality of a MAPI connection.  why dont you want them to use a VPN to get their mail, its a very secure method and they have full functionality like they are used to
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SembeeCommented:
If it is a Windows 2003 Server with Exchange 2003 and the clients are Windows XP SP2 with Outlook 2003 then you are a prime candidate for RPC over HTTPS. This allows full connectivity to Exchange with the Outlook 2003 client without the need for a VPN. They just need an internet connection that allows port 443 (ssl/https).

It works very well as long as you meet the requirements and best practises.
Take a look at my web site for setup instructions: http://www.amset.info/exchange/ 

Simon.
Exchange MVP.
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