Nowadays, the role of smartphones and various mobile devices is increasingly relevant even in the business world. If initially we could think of the phone as a simple communication tool, now smartphones are a real work tool, able to optimize time and resources on the move without the constraint of the office. In this context, a crucial role is still “played” by e-mail, alongside messaging and file sharing systems.
Zimbra OSE Mobile
The iteration of Zimbra Collaboration Suite Open-Source Edition with mobile devices is rather limited. In fact, out of the box, you can only sync emails with your smartphone via IMAP, which implies a number of associated inconveniences. Syncing things like the global address book or calendar with mobile devices in the free version of Zimbra is possible, but rather difficult to set up and not very reliable, and on most mobile devices it simply won’t work without using third-party applications. The most interesting solution to overcome these limitations, take advantage of Zimbra’s functionality on mobile devices and enjoy additional benefits exists and it’s called Zextras Suite.
Zextras Mobile, part of the Zextras suite, allows you to bring your server with the free Zimbra Collaboration Suite OSE in line with all modern standards for working with mobile devices. It adds support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol to Zimbra, thanks to which it becomes possible to synchronize all data with mobile devices without using any third-party client. In addition to the calendar and contact address book, users have access to shared folders and mailboxes, as well as instant push notifications not only about incoming emails, but also about various changes in the calendar, and so on. Moreover, it becomes possible to work with the calendar directly from a mobile device.
The Zextras Mobile support for Exhcange ActiveSync protocol, also adds compatibility with MS Outlook to Zimbra, so that you can synchronize them together as you can read in our blog article “ Outlook Synchronization “. This is important especially for those companies that have decided to switch from MS Exchange to the more inexpensive Zimbra Collaboration Suite. This compatibility allows you to preserve the already familiar interface of the mail client at the workplaces of the company’s employees, while completely replacing the server part, and due to this, making the transition to Zimbra seamless and, possibly, even invisible to employees.
LDAP Address Book
In the previously mentioned article, “ Outlook Synchronization “, another interesting feature of Zextras mobile is also shown: an LDAP Address Book to which Outlook clients can connect to get access to the system GAL, their own address books and other address books defined by the administrator. To learn more about this feature, you can read the above article from our blog, or read the official documentation.
Administrators will appreciate the ease of installation and configuration of Zextras Mobile. In fact, for mobile synchronization to start working, the administrator only needs to select specific categories or users that will be able to sync with mobile devices. There is also the option to decide to enable mobile synchronization only for one or more specific teams, precluding it from others. Another important aspect is that several accounts can be synchronized with one device, and one account can be synchronized with several devices, opening the use of Zextras Mobile to additional scenarios.
With support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, the Zimbra server administrator has plenty of opportunities to increase the security of using Zimbra Collaboration Suite on mobile devices, which remain a potential threat to corporate data security. The IT manager will be able to not only remotely disconnect a compromised smartphone, but also prevent the extraction of data such as an account password.
Another feature that makes using Zimbra on a smartphone more secure is Mobile Password. With its help, Zimbra server administrators can create an additional password for users that will be used exclusively for authentication using the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Such a measure will avoid intercepting the password from the Zimbra account in public wireless networks, as well as retrieving the password from a lost, stolen or hacked device, in addition, in the case of using a strict password security policy Mobile Password, it will avoid the need to re-enter the password from the Zimbra account on the mobile device.
If your enterprise uses corporate devices, then using Zextras Mobile, the Zimbra server administrator can manage them using the reliable MDM protocol. It can be used to remotely manage various security settings on corporate devices of employees: change the device pin code, disconnect the device from synchronization with the server, assign default applications, and remotely erase all information from it.
It is well known how instant push notifications can go to increase the server load, especially when there are hundreds of synchronized devices. To reduce it, the server administrator can use advanced settings for push notifications. Zextras Mobile allows you to disable instant notification, flexibly configure the delay between an event on the server and the sending of a notification, as well as change the ping frequency between the device and the server.
We’ve seen how Zimbra OSE works and is managed on mobile devices, and how with the addition of Zextras Suite‘s mobile features comes significant functionality and security benefits. You will, in this way, have a complete collaboration tool that you can take anywhere and that can simplify the transition to Zimbra from other collaboration platforms.