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Our small business is going to start using Remote Desktop to connect to a server with Quickbooks for POS and creating Estimates. We send emails from Quickbooks through Outlook. My colleagues understandably want to be able to access all their email history both when they are connected through Remote Desktop and locally on their own machines.

What is the best combination of simple and cheap to accomplish this task? Our accounting firm owns the Quickbooks server.

I know nothing of Exchange, but it seems like an expensive way to accomplish a simple task.

I was thinking about moving our mail from 3dCart to Google Apps for domains. Since GoogleApps/Gmail supports IMAP, I thought just setting their folders up as IMAP folders and synchronizing that way would be the cleanest solution.

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FYI, QB doesn't play nice with TS, so you can only have one copy open at a time. Using an IMAP server will work and you can use a lighter client like Thunderbird if you don't have Outlook licenses. – Chris S Oct 4 '10 at 15:03

IMAP is not a perfect protocol, but for what you are trying to accomplish, it does offer the simplest and most stable path to your solution given its synchronization and local caching properties. Provided that Quickbooks has no trouble with using your Google Apps account from Outlook, then I would say that you have a pretty good solution in mind.

Should Google Apps prove unsuitable for some reason, there are of course a plethora of low-cost e-mail server solutions out there that support IMAP.

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IMAP is the best way to get what you want at less-than-Exchange prices.

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Google Mail is awful with Outlook, due to the weird way that the IMAP folders are set up. Try adding a GMail account to Outlook to see what I mean.

If you do not want to run your own Exchange server, I recommend you use Hotmail with Custom Domains, with the Outlook Connector.

You can sync your local email, calendars, tasks, etc, with the web-based service, and also access everything from smartphones through ActiveSync.

Only large companies really need Exchange these days.

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