Exchange hosting

I am not familiar with exchange.  So I thought I would ask the experts your advice on a few questions.

My company has 36 users.  We currently do not use shared calendars, contacts and tasks.

Do you think it is worth upgrading from simple POP3 to exchange?  I am not interested in managing the server.  I do integrate processes from our ERP/CRM system into outlook.

If I have exchange hosted off sight is there still a way to access a database and display information in a shared calendar?  

Can I still use the autoarchive feature and back up .pst files locally ?
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lividicusAsked:
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Darksied9Commented:
CRM contains customer data.  If you host data off-site (including email) you are never guaranteed the security of availability of that data.  I would never house data off site...period for legal purposes.  However, if your legal department is willing to take that risk...

Outlook requires specific connectivity to the Exchange servers, and if you can use MAPI (or pop/IMAP) even to send your data up or pull it down, you should not have any issues.
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Darius GhassemCommented:
We currently use Intermedia for hosting Exchange at more then one location which works very well with seemless integration. Intermedia is fully secure. We had a coupld of 5 minute downtimes but never more then that. You will be able to get webmail, activesync, spam filter, and AV for one price. Having your email stored off site allows you more flexibility. If you internet service goes down and you have remote sites that use your email system they would be down to now if you have an hosting company taking care of email you have will full working email. Also, people that are emailing you aren't getting bouce backs. Hosting will also help during disasters since you will have to relocate during a hurricane for an example you will still have email.

Hosting your own Exchange can be expensive.
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lividicusAuthor Commented:
Can i still autoarchive and back up the .pst files (emails mostly) locally if on exchange??
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Darksied9Commented:
Agreed, it can have it's advantages, but it can also be very costly when you have a legal matter and can not prove chain of custody since the data is not in your control.  Seen that be a nightmare in the past.  Also, if you are going to do it make sure of the following:

1) They MUST provide daily backups to a third party (AKA Wanbishi or IronMountain - They have specific chain of custody compliance rules internally) with your company listed as a retriever.  Be sure to set a specific archival period depending on your needs.
2) Make sure they are a multi-region company that will provide mail replication or better yet regional clusters.  This gets your mail in two different earthquake/tornado/hurricane zones otherwise it is useless for BCP/DR purposes.
3) Take a site survey.
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Darksied9Commented:
Yes, same archiving will work.
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Darius GhassemCommented:
Yes, you can archive the same way. Intermedia has a PST Manager that will allow you to manage your archived PST files.
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lividicusAuthor Commented:
thanks for your assistance!
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