OWA (Outlook Web App)
Thanks for returning to Part 3 of our Working remotely blog. During this instalment we are going to be discussing OWA.
What is OWA?
In short, OWA is a secure feature used to access your Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox, from any device that has an internet connection. OWA is a mail service accessed via a web browser, it is accessible on any platform e.g. Windows, Apple Macintosh, UNIX, using any browser e.g. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari. OWA is provided by Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 and above, it was formerly known as Outlook Web Access, previously to this it was known as Exchange Web Connect (EWC). OWA provides a speedy and easy option, for company users to securely access emails when on the move.
Outlook Web App is the perfect solution for people who like to travel lightly with laptops or tablets, giving them full access to their mailbox(s), contact(s), calendar(s) and task(s) anytime, on the move. OWA is a great, secure way of accessing email whilst roaming and when away from the office.
How to access OWA?
To log into OWA, you will need to know the URL for your specific Server – this information can be gained from your system/network Administrator. Your Network/System administrators will also need to configure OWA for your user login. Once this has been complete, you can simply log in by typing the URL into a web browser. Once you have correctly typed the URL into the browser you will be welcomed by a screen similar to the below screen shot (depending on Server Operating system).
You will log in using your domain credentials. The option to select “this is a public or shared computer” and “this is a private computer” is extremely important. If you choose the first option OWA will close and disconnect after 15 minutes of inactivity- keeping your information secure. The other option, “this is a private computer”, will keep your connection for 8 hours after idle time. This option has been implemented to ensure security on public PCs/Laptops.
Is OWA secure?
Outlook Web App (Exchange 2010) offers a mix of security features that are adaptable to your company’s requirements. OWA uses SSL (secure Socket Layer) and Forms-based authentication out of the box. SSL is used to secure connections between PCs/Laptops and OWA, SSL is a method of encrypting data. Forms based authentication enables a log in page for OWA, using a cookie to store data – the data allows the Mail Server to monitor OWA sessions and activity. If an OWA session has been inactive for a certain period of time, the Mail Server will deny access until credentials have been re-entered, making OWA secure to use on public machines.
Benefits of OWA
• Conversation View – OWA 2010 provides the same Conversation View as Outlook 2010, giving users a familiar environment
• Forward as an attachment – with OWA 2010 you can forward an email message as an attachment
• Delivery Report – To check if emails have been received
• All features, Any Browser – all premium features are available on different platforms
• Opening mailboxes – OWA allows you to open another users mailbox (with correct permissions implemented)
• Access the Archive – OWA allows users to access archived mailboxes from within OWA.