Final piece of the Exchange jigsaw

Today’s achievement is that I am syncing my phone – a Palm Treo Pro running Windows Mobile 6.1 – to my Exchange server. This means that my phone and my email, contacts and calendar sync automagically, so that when a new email arrives, it’s also on my phone. If I want to add a contact, I can do it either via Outlook (or Entourage on a Mac) or via the Outlook Web Access client and again, it automagically appears on my phone. Equally, anything I do on my phone – reply to an email, enter a contact, add an appointment to my calendar – registers on the server and is reflected in Outlook, Entourage, OWA etc.

The reason I wasn’t able to do this over the weekend was because the process of getting a secure web server certificate was a little opaque, despite the wizard, in SBS. However, I had another go at the wizard this morning and it informed me – as it hadn’t done before – that I could buy the required certificate from my registrar, GoDaddy. Without it, my phone was refusing to sync, saying it couldn’t verify the kosherness of my server. You can tell web browsers to ignore that, but the phone said no.

Having realised that, it was a matter of minutes to buy the certificate, confirm my identity via an automated series of emails, download and install the certificate on the server. This is where the SBS 08 wizards really do make life easier: apparently it was a pain in the arse in SBS 03.

What this means is that browsers – both on computers and mobile – and any applications that interact with my server recognise that it is trusted and safe. I did ponder, mind you, just how “safe” this kind of “yup, this is me, this is my server, now trust me” automated process really is: if I can do this, so can anyone, including people with malign intentions. Still, the point here is that it was easy – once the wizard belatedly offered me the option to buy the certificate via my registrar. It hadn’t before and I was a bit puzzled.

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