I would love to use the feature creating Issues from email (https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA/Creating+Issues+and+Comments+from+Email) - but unfortunately we do not offer support for IMAP/POP at our company, as our IT resposible told me we just have the MS Exchange service running.
Is there a way to get this running directly with exchange, or receiving emails with SMTP (as I am able to use that protocol)?
I am not aware how exchange protocol is different from IMAP/POP, but I think if you can't get them to make an exception for this purpose it is going to be difficult. SMTP isn't really a protocol for retrieving messages from a mailbox, only for sending emails between always-connected servers. You would probably have to implement a Mail Fetching class in a plugin to support one of those protocols.
If you have access to the JIRA source, In Jira 4 and earlier, there is ImapService which is an example you could start with. In JIRA 5, everything has been migrated to the MailFetcherService, which is "hopefully going to be moved to the jira mail plugin" soon. You would have to write a drop-in replacement for it, or extend it, to support SMTP transport as well.
You might also try setting up something like fetchmail to pull emails down into a local mail folder on disk, then having a cron job regularly check it for new emails and make REST API calls to create issues, but this means doing a TON of work yourself.
Actually, with fetchmail and the local folder option - Jira does support "email from local file", so you wouldn't need all the cron/REST stuff.
Getting the mails as files, I've done for another system which wasn't really email, so I'm a bit stuck on that bit, but it's not too hard to implement the "read files, create issues" process without any coding. See https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA/Creating+Issues+and+Comments+from+Email and look for the "file system messages" bits
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