Microsoft BPOS & Messagelabs

Can Exchange Online co-exist with Messagelabs or other 3rd party scanning tools?

That is the question I have been investigating for the past week or so…and I have an answer…sort of…nearly.

First things first, yes I know Exchange Online includes ForeFront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) and I also know that it is a very good product.

However there are a number of situations where customers would like a2nd option too. This could be because they’re mid way through a contract, because they’d like a “safety net” or indeed because they just don’t like Forefront.

I first looked into it last year and got a definite “Yes it can be done”; I used that as the basis for a customer conversation around 3rd party support. The customer then spoke with BPOS support around how to implement it…and they advised that it couldn’t be done! This was something of an issue and set me off on a quest to get a concrete answer, one way or the other.

I posted a question up on the Technet Exchange Online Forum but didn’t get a response so after much confusion internally at Microsoft, conversations with business groups and technical support teams, the final answer was:

“It isn’t supported but it should work”

So this wasn’t as good as my original “yes” but a vast improvement over “No”, which is something.

This is yet another issue that will be resolved with the arrival of Wave 14:

An update to FOPE, scheduled for release at the same time as BPOS wave 14, will include new connector functionality that will enable this scenario.

So within the next 6 months we’ll have full support for 3rd party mail scanning tools, which will be one less thing to worry about :-)

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