I own an iPhone and an iPad. I paid for my iPhone and iPad. Every month I pay the bill for my iPhone. I get no contribution from my employer.

If you read my blog or listen to MacBites, you’ll probably be aware that for some time, I’ve been chasing The Holy Grail of having access to my work calendar on my personal iPhone and/or iPad.

And I’m not the only person to want to do this. The evidence is there in the emails that I’ve received and the threads on the company Yammer network… “How do I get my work email on my iPhone/iPad/Android?” “How do I get my work calendar on my iPhone/iPad/Android?”

iPhone

Well now we’ve reached the Promised Land.

The company is in the process of moving from on-premise Exchange Servers (mailboxes are hosted on servers that are located on-site or in data centers that are maintained by company employees or outsourced partners) to Cloud-based mailboxes, using Microsoft’s Office 365 service.

As a key member of the Email in The Cloud project (my responsibility is to create the training materials), my mail account was transitioned to The Cloud a few weeks ago. The capacity of my mailbox increased 400x (50GB as against 125MB) and I can still access my email, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes via Outlook 2007). However…

I can now access my mailbox on my iOS devices. I had to configure it via settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars. I chose to sync my mail, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes.

MAIL

When I tap on the built-in Mail app, as well as seeing mail from my personal email accounts (Gmail and iCloud), I also have access to my work email. I can read, reply, forward and delete emails, as well as creating new emails.

CALENDAR

When I tap on the built-in Calendar app, in addition to seeing events from my personal calendars, I see events/appointments from my work calendar. I can create new events from here as well as manage existing events. Meeting request invites appear in my Calendar and I can accept/decline them from here. Any changes are synchronised back to my Cloud-based mailbox and will be show in the Outlook desktop client.

CONTACTS

Any contacts stored in my Cloud-based mailbox will appear with my personal contacts in the Contacts app.

TASKS

Tasks created in Outlook are available via the iPhone’s Reminder app. If I create a new Task in the Reminders app I have a choice of whether it will be personal task (i.e. personal) or a work-related task. If I select the latter, the task will be synchronised to my Microsoft-hosted mailbox.

NOTES

I use the Notes feature of Outlook extensively (electronic sticky notes). Notes created in Outlook are available via the iPhone’s Notes app. If I create a new Notes on the iPhone, it is synchronised to my Microsoft-hosted mailbox.

OUTLOOK WEB APP

Another way to access my work mailbox using my mobile device(s) is to use Outlook Web App in mobile Safari. I simply navigate to a pre-defined URL, type in my credentials and I have access to my mail, calendar, tasks, contacts and notes in a fully-featured browser-based version of Outlook.

LYNC

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With the Lync 2010 app installed on my iPhone (and iPad), I can use IM to keep in touch with colleagues whilst I am away from my work computer.

RSA SECURID APP

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Until recently, in order to connect wirelessly to the company network (either on-site or remotely), I needed a SecureID fob – a small physical device that I had to carry around with me.

This device generates a 6-digit number that changes every 60 seconds. To log in to the company network, I had to type the 6 digits into a dialog box on my PC during the login process.

Now I no longer need the fob as the 6 digits are generated by the RSA SecureID app that I have installed on my iPhone.