Make a company wide address book in Exchange

Posted on 2009-02-22
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I am trying to see if there is any way to make a company wide address book in exchange of our clients and vendors. We currently have a CRM application we are using, and we are able to export our client lists to CSV format and I know you can individually import it into Outlook via the Import/Export menu for each mailbox, however I was wondering if there is any way to import it into Outlook/Exchange so that all users in our company would be able to see the client lists. This would make it easier to send emails to clients so that it would automatically match the name in the To field with the email address on file. Is this a public folder thing to setup?

However, there is one consideration. We need to make it so that say a disgruntled employee could not simply "Export" the client list and try to steal our information and/or sell it to another competitor. Is there any way to make it so that the clients list would not be able to be emailed to anyone else or saved onto a flash drive? Could we make the list viewable in Outlook to all employees, but not able to be changed, copied, added, or deleted except by a system administrator. We would want to probably be updating the list every week and figured we could simply delete all of the records at the end of the week and import all of the new data if there were any changes, additions, or deletions from our CRM software.
Question by:jeffschick
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    You can do this with a public folder.  That's what Public Folders are for.  Just create a new public folder and make it so that contact items are to be added to it.  Then make sure that everyone's permission is read only.   You can give certain people publishing/author permissions.  

    There will be nothing however, from keeping anyone from exporting it to a local .PST file.  If you are allowed to "see" the data, you can get it to store on your local drive, in many different ways.  So the second part of your question is not even really feasible.  The very premise that you would want people to access the contacts, but not access them at the same time won't work.  You have to make a choice about whether you want

    Author Comment

    Right now we have everyone using a Citrix Environment with Outlook running over Terminal Server, so there are now local hard drives with the data. We also have outlook web access. Would users be able to export the data from OWA or on outlook when it is running over Terminal Services? How easy would it be for someone to export data from a public folder?
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    by:Ken Fayal
    Well, if you don't allow local drive connections in your TermServices/Citrix profiles, then I guess you are OK, except for the fact that someone could use a simple screen print program to take snapshots of the client list and then use an OCR program to read it.  Of course it would take a while to do it, but if you are worried about disgruntled EE's doing this, as I have found disgruntled EE's make it a mission sometimes to do bad things.

    A public folder is definitely what you want to do in this case, but don't assume that you can tighten it down so that no one will be able to get to the data.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    I'm not sure what CRM software you're using, but you may want to check to see if there is a feature that allows it to Sync with Outlook or with Exchange.  Most of the mainstream CRM applicatins today (Microsoft CRM, ACT,, Goldmine, Business Contact Manager) allow you to sync with Outlook.
    Your second challenge - keeping users from exporting the data - is going to be a little tougher.  My understanding is that, once a list is visible as Outlook Contacts, most users can export it.  I know that there are some global address books in exchange that may make this a little more difficult to do.  Even with most CRM applications, we've found that your options are: (1) button security down so tightly as to make CRM less worthwhile, or (2) risk allowing a determined user to be able to figure out how to export data.
    In the latter case, a strong non-compete and a corporate culture that fosters trust are the best defenses.

    Author Comment

    Crm_info -
    Our CRM does not sync with Outlook/Exchange. It is actually for electronic health medical records, and out client list is all confidential which is why we need it to be secure. This is why keeping the list from being exported is so important since it is patient's names, emails and phone numbers, and to have that get stolen would be a real issue.

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