NETsec’s GALsync software is designed for organizations who need to provide a single Global Address List across multiple email systems. In the past we’ve been very impressed with NETsec’s synchronization products so this time around we’ve taken a look at the product as a whole; and also examine what new features it offers in version seven.
Solving the challenge of a single address book
For many reasons, organizations end up with multiple Active Directory forests each with independent Exchange server installations. It is increasingly common to see multiple Office 365 tenants as well, some functioning in Hybrid mode and others implemented as standalone tenants. The reasons for this are varied – often though it will be as a result of a business requirement, such as to keep some mailbox data at a higher security level or resident in a particular geography, or more commonly as a result of mergers and acquisitions.
Although in most cases the end goal might be to eventually move to a single email environment, the challenges of migration often mean this isn’t something that can be accomplished in a very short period of time. Therefore, it is quite common for organizations to want to implement a single Global Address List so that all employees can use a common directory to look up colleagues regardless of the system they are located on.
A single, consistent Global Address List is required by organizations for a number of reasons – these usually fall into variations of the reasons below.
· Implementing a single global address list so that on day one after a merger all employees can function as “one organization”
· As part of a Multi-Forest migration to Office 365, implementing a single global address list so that the data synchronized to a single Office 365 tenant is consistent and mail routes efficiently.
· If you’ve got multiple Office 365 tenants for data residency reasons you may want to provide a single address list for users.
· During a consolidation of Active Directory forests and Exchange organizations you may need synchronization of the global address list to ensure that as users move their mail routes correctly.
· When working with a partner organization you might want to automatically provide a method to share contacts between directories.
There can of course be more – for example some education institutions have separate staff, student and even alumni Office 365 tenants; but the above fit the most common scenarios we’d expect to see.
What’s new in Version 7
In addition to support for directory to directory synchronization for Exchange 2007 through to the latest versions of Exchange and Office 365, NETsec GALsync brings new functionality.
In this version it’s possible to synchronize the Global Address List from an organization into an individual user’s contacts folder.
This is surprisingly useful in certain scenarios – one common one is executives who want to have full access to the companies’ GAL from their mobile phone at all times.
Although the GAL isn’t synchronized to an ActiveSync device or to the Outlook Mobile App, contacts folders are, making this a quick-win for some organizations who have this requirement from people on the go.