My company has evolved a truly haphazard system for giving remote users access to their e-mails. With new staff joining in the next few weeks, I'd like to clean up how we provide access to e-mail for remote users.
At present we have a Windows 2000 server, running MS Exchange 5.5 and this serves all of our local users very well.
We also have a small number of remote users who have been provided with a number of schemes to access their e-mails.
Some have stand-alone POP3 mail accounts to which company e-mails are automatically copied using MS Exchange.
Others connect to local PCs using VPN/remote desktop in order to have remote access to their e-mails.
Others still connect to our Exchange server via VPN and synchronise their local copies of e-mail.
Using what we have, (remote XP clients running MS Outlook, a working VPN, a Windows 2000 domain with MS Exchange 5.5), how should our system be best reconfigured to provide the most reasonable centralised mail service? I am aware of Outlook Web Access (which publishes the user's mailboxes as a web application to be used via a web browser). If this is my best option, so be it, however, I'd prefer for my remote users to be able to access their mail via the MS Outlook mail client (either the version with Office 2000 or Office XP) - ideally with offline access to their mailstore.
One limitation which may or may not affect this: for compatibility reasons, we are currently not able to run the SMTP service on the MS Exchange server (it's presence on the server crashes a business-critical legacy system). If this service is part of the best solution, I'll reinvestigate this.