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  1. #1
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    Need Help Deciding-Network or Home server & how

    Hi everyone.

    I run a small business from my home. I have 3 computers, a laptop and tablet I use out in the field. Threre are usually 2 of us working at once. I spend a lot of time moving files in and out of drop box or on and off jump drives. My office manager cannot get on my computer and use the Quickbooks program if I am working on appraisal software on my computer. I really need to get this more efficient. What is the best solution, a home network or a server?

    I have tried to set up a network on my Windows 7 coumputer (the laptop is windows 7, the other two are Windows XP), but I am not doing something right....There are certian programs I need to sync between computers.

    Confused and blonde....a bad combination. Any suggestions and help would be appreciated!

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  3. #2
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    Hi pls and welcome to the lounge.

    I would break your problem down into smaller bits and work your way through to build a plan. You should bear in mind that you are running a business rather than a residential PC and scope your system accordingly. Things to consider are automated daily data backups, centralised or cloud based document storage, centrailised or cloud based email (branded to your own domain name ideally), power supply protection, fault tolerance and security.

    If your business is likely to remain small and working from home, then you probably don't want to go down the route of a Small Business Server (SBS). However, there are advantages to that route with email, sharepoint, databases, backup security and fault tolerance all integrated into the one package. If you think your business may increase in turnover, size or location in the future, it may be worthwhile thinking about an SBS installation now, because once setup, it can be scaled very quickly and easily.

    If you decide not to go for SBS, then for a micro business, it may be worthwhile looking at Google Apps, which (for small businesses) can be used for free and can be used to brand your product and email as your own rather than Google. You will need good internet access as your data and email will be hosted in the cloud. You will also be reliant on the security of your Google Accounts.

    One thing that would be worthwhile taking time to think through is your work practices and procedures. You have mentioned Quickbooks on your machine: is there a network licence available for that package? If so, then maybe it's worthwhile thinking about a second networked machine which runs as an application server (or go back down the route of SBS), because an application server can make resources available to client machines irrespective of what else the clients are doing.

    There are many other detailed aspects to consider, not the least of which is data and document security. You could think about encryption tools such as truecrypt or you might consider that group policies on a client server system is sufficient, but either way it shouldn't be overlooked - access to your data in a business environment should be tightly controlled.

    Of course there is then Antivirus and Systems Security. With a centralised system, you can push updates to client machines and manage from a single point, but for a micro business that may not be needed. It comes back to the question about whether your business will grow to a point where manual management becomes problematic

    Notwithstanding all of the above however, it might be worthwhile searching out and spending a little time (and money) talking to a small business IT consultant or small business support network in your area. They could review your requirements and design a solution that is suitable both for work practices and budget.

    Whichever way you go, remember the purpose of the business is to make money, so you want to balance ease of use/efficiency returns against initial cost and return on investment.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pls View Post

    Confused and blonde
    Some would say that's a redundancy.

    Zig

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