Microsoft Exchange vs Outlook

Microsoft Exchange is used together with Office 365 in many businesses. However, you might be unfamiliar with what Exchange does for you. We’ll explain about the importance of Exchange to SyncGene.

Innes McLean
December 15, 2021

What is Microsoft Exchange?

If you are using Outlook as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications, you may have heard about Microsoft Exchange. But what is it and what does it do?

To understand what Exchange is, we need to learn a little about how Outlook works and the difference between Exchange and Outlook.

Microsoft Exchange is an email server service that manages email, contacts, calendars, and task data for those with Office 365 Business plans. The server service is responsible for sending and receiving emails to a company’s computers.  

Think of an Exchange server like a post office responsible for storing, sending, and delivering mail. The only difference is that the service handles more than mail – it also saves your contacts and calendar data too. Unlike the post office, your items will never be lost since they are backed up and synchronized on the Exchange server.

Microsoft Exchange vs Outlook

If you want to write emails, schedule appointments, or create address books, you need to do this from your email client, like Microsoft Outlook. Your email client then connects to the email server service to send emails or save your productivity data.

If we continue from the earlier example: using Outlook is like writing a letter and Exchange is the post office responsible for sending it.  

So, Microsoft Exchange and Outlook perform different tasks but work together as one.

Do I need Microsoft Exchange?

If Outlook is your main email client, then it’s best to use Exchange as your email server service. Exchange and Outlook are complimentary to one another and some functionality features are lost when using another service as a workaround.  

You could still use Outlook, but you would essentially be using parts of the software in offline mode. For example, you could add an event to your calendar, but it would not be visible to others in your company.  

But with cases of internet interruptions, this is what happens when you are disconnected from the Exchange server.  

Once reconnected again, Outlook can sync all the latest changes to your account with the Exchange server. This includes updates to your contacts, calendars, and emails to be sent, received, marked as read and so on.

How is Microsoft Exchange different?

Keeping all your emails and productivity data synchronized with Outlook is what makes the Exchange server so useful.

Let’s compare this with how other services handle mailing.  

We can use the example of sending emails like a post office again. It’s useful because this concept was applied to how emails were sent in the early days of the web.

Post Office Protocol (POP) is where emails are downloaded once from the server to your computer. Once received, the emails are deleted from the server.

Although it was more suitable in the days of slower internet connections, it might not match people’s requirements today. Imagine needing an email whilst out of the office and it would be accessible on only one computer. It’s unthinkable nowadays with all the various devices that we use.

Now, we largely rely on another protocol for email clients. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) enables you to access emails directly from the email server service. IMAP is better as emails are saved on the server and you only need to download a copy of the email when reading it. Changes to emails are synchronized across all the devices that you use too.

IMAP has become the standard for most email services and it’s good for syncing your email data. But what about your contacts, calendars, and tasks from Outlook?

How Microsoft Exchange works with SyncGene

Other mail server services will only sync your emails using IMAP, but Exchange was designed with Office 365 in mind. Outlook can use another protocol called Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) to connect with the Exchange server.

Using MAPI means that your emails and productivity data are kept in sync by using the Exchange server with Outlook.

And with the Office 365 suite of applications, everything is linked across your account and devices. Everything fits together perfectly – your contact lists, work calendars, and tasks to complete are all available across your network and beyond.  

This unity between Microsoft’s suite of products is what helps SyncGene to work.

SyncGene accesses your Office 365 data to sync your contacts, calendars, and task data to more platforms. The service can connect your Google and iCloud data with Office 365 so you can get everything you need in one place.

No matter what platform you are using, SyncGene will ensure that your productivity data is synced across all the devices you use: work computers, laptops, tablets, and compatible smartphones.

Choose how to sync data with control and flexibility using directional synchronization. You can sync data one-way or two-ways between platforms, or just share specific data only. For example, you can filter work calendars or contact folders to avoid seeing them in your personal accounts. Whatever way you want to sync data, we have a solution.  

SyncGene is ideal for all businesses – brand new start-ups with a handful of members or established corporations with worldwide operations.

And for larger businesses, SyncGene Enterprise can accommodate as many users as needed. Managing users is easy with the Admin Panel too. Just add your members to your plan, choose the sources they will sync with, and their sync options.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to Exchange, we can save our Office 365 data in the cloud and sync it to our devices in a few moments. You can see how useful the email server service is to the people using it every day.

And Exchange is a key component for SyncGene too. It’s what helps to sync your Office 365 data across multiple platforms and devices.  

Staying productive and saving time is another important part of our service. Try out SyncGene today and see how much better work is with all your accounts and platforms in sync.

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Innes McLean

Innes is a Copywriter with the SyncGene team.

His work combines his love of writing, technology, and helping others on their mission to learn.