Automated Office 365 GAL Sync to Smartphones Reduces Business Risks

While demonstrating a $1M project, Diana faced an unexpected technical question from an impatient customer. Unable to access her company’s Office 365 Global Address List (GAL) offline, she promised an answer by morning, fearing she might have lost the sale.

Remote workers, from sales reps to telecommuters, grapple with outdated or inaccessible corporate contact information. This communication gap can lead to lost sales, wasted hours, and frustrated employees. Organizations must ensure easy access to their GAL to avoid these consequences.

The Impact of Outdated Contact Information

Whether it’s an email address, a phone number, or a physical address, contact details serve as the primary conduit for connecting stakeholders – from employees to customers. But what happens when this information is outdated? The repercussions can be more severe than one might think.

Communication Breakdowns Due to Incorrect or Missing Contact Details

Modern businesses rely heavily on effective communication. Whether it’s for project collaboration, handling customer complaints, or day-to-day operations, outdated contact information can pose significant challenges. An email that bounces back or a call that goes unanswered could lead to missed deadlines, misunderstanding between teams, or even lost opportunities.

For instance, imagine if a critical piece of information intended for a stakeholder doesn’t reach them on time due to outdated contact details. This could not only halt a project in its tracks but also increase costs due to delays and miscommunication.

Potential Consequences on Employee Productivity and Customer Relations

Outdated contact information doesn’t just impede communication; it can also affect overall productivity. Employees may waste valuable hours trying to reach a colleague or a business partner. This unnecessary expenditure of time and effort could have been better used in more productive activities, thus affecting the overall output of an organization.

Moreover, from a customer relations perspective, nothing frustrates a client or a potential lead more than being unable to reach a company representative when they need them. Such incidents, while seemingly minor, can have a cumulative effect, eroding trust and confidence in a brand over time. In a world where customer experience is paramount, companies can’t afford such slips.

Security Concerns Arising from Unauthorized Access to Outdated GAL (Global Address List) Data

Security in the digital age isn’t just about warding off external cyber threats. Sometimes, the risks come from within. When an organization fails to update its Global Address List (GAL), it leaves itself vulnerable to potential security breaches. Outdated contact details, especially those linked to former employees or collaborators, can be exploited by malicious actors. This unauthorized access to company communications or data poses a threat not just to business integrity but also to its stakeholders.

For instance, an ex-employee with access to a company’s GAL could misuse this information, intentionally or unintentionally, leading to data breaches, leakage of proprietary information, or even financial losses.

Why workarounds of syncing the GAL to smartphones don’t work.

Not having up-to-date GAL access often creates a lot of business pain for end users, and many IT teams either aren’t aware—or aren’t taking it seriously. Some IT pros have stepped into the fray, fighting (and losing) the battle of trying to keep their company’s smartphone users in sync with the GAL. They’ve tried all kinds of workarounds including manually opening each person’s contact folder and adding, deleting, and updating the contacts from the GAL or dragging and dropping contact folders in Outlook as updates occur.

Such workarounds fall short for several reasons:

  • Manual updates are time-intensive – Consumption of IT staff with manual GAL updates to each user’s contacts can waste dozens of hours each month―and prevent them from focusing on bigger-picture projects.
  • Customization is tedious – Manually configuring lists of exceptions and special groups within a GAL push is a laborious process—especially when it needs to be revisited with every update.
  • Human error is inevitable – From transposed digits, duplicate contacts, accidental deletions, and forgotten pushes, humans are often the weakest link in the manual update process.

Transforming GAL Sync for Smartphones

So, what can eliminate the cost and business risk of manual GAL sync for smartphone users?


The ability to enable automated GAL sync to smartphones provides key productivity advantages:

  • Address lists are available and current 24/7
  • Offline or remote users never have that moment of panic when they realize that they can’t access the information they need, when they need it
  • Manual pushes, data or user edits, and after-the-fact error corrections are eliminated
  • IT resources are freed to be re-allocated to work on more important initiatives

Automated GAL sync packs a fast ROI punch.

The global mobility team at the consulting firm—Oliver Wyman Group—needed a way to provide better GAL support for their smartphone users. Employees were expressing frustration at not being able to easily separate unsolicited callers from important colleagues.

Now, with CiraSync—a secure, cloud-based solution that is easy to configure and scale—Oliver Wyman Group’s IT team has streamlined employee productivity and saved the company an estimated $100,000 in annual IT labor costs.

GAL Sync to Smartphone Solutions

Until recently, IT organizations were forced to develop solutions for smartphone GAL sync in-house and the results generally ranged from disappointing to poor. But, today several solution providers have built dedicated solutions to automate GAL sync for smartphones.

Here is a list of some of the offerings on the market today:

  • Add2Exchange (Did It Better)—Syncs the GAL, public folders, and mailboxes, and can scale up to 100 users. The solution is cloud-compatible, but it does not support SaaS. The company offers 8/5 technical support.
  • Epicenter (Connected Software)—Syncs the GAL and can scale to hundreds of users. The disadvantage of this solution is that it a desktop app only and does not support SaaS. It offers email support within one business day.
  • CiraSync (Cira Apps Ltd)—Syncs the GAL, calendars, and public folders multiple times of the days. Unlimited number of contacts and calendars can be synced and quickly scales to thousands of smartphones. Secure, SaaS, Azure-based solution. Offers 24/5 technical support; usually responds within one hour.

For more case studies, visit our Case Studies resource page to see how customers are using the CiraSync solution to increase productivity for their employees. Also, read reviews from happy customers on G2 Crowd and Capterra.

More Tales from Tech Support

Set up and start syncing contacts to business smartphones in less than 5 minutes.

Try for Free


CTO and Founder of Cira Apps Limited. I have been building Exchange applications and related contact management for 15 years.