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Moving our small office from WHS2011 to 2012. Have some cloud integration questions.


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Hey all,

 

So, this is a setup for a very small business environment (about 5 users now, maybe 10 soon).  I figured you guys would be a good group to ask for some direction.  I've been getting a lot of "Just go %expletive% hire someone!" from other sources.  That may end up being the best approach in the end but I'd like to do the research and come to that conclusion on our own.

 

Anyway, here's whats going on.  This is for a home office business with a few employees that may (hopefully) expand into a small office suite in the future.  They currently have:

 

- WHS 2011 server (located at the home office site) with a few hard drives doing mostly filesharing/FTP.  WHS box backs up (just user data) remotely to my Server2012 R2 essentials box (located at my house, not part of the company).

- They have a domain account, small website, and email hosting with someone, I do not know who.  Not that it matters because half the people are using their gmail accounts.

- They have a few scattered copies of office 2007, 2010, and maybe 2013 on various PCs.

- Their workflow consists of a medium amount of data that is delivered to them through clients.  Lots of pictures/videos.  They don't do anything with the pictures or videos beyond word/powerpoint.  Typically this comes on CDs/DVDs/portable hard drives.  Final work goes out the same way.

- All laptops

 

What they really want is a way to collaborate on files with their clients and develop an easy way to transfer data back and forth, securely.  Something like a business edition of onedrive sounds like it might be a good fit, but I really don't have any experience with onedrive for business.

 

I manage the setup somewhat but feel like I'm getting in a bit over my head and would like to bring things in and consolidate a bit, and at the same time have a good setup for future expansion.

 

I'm thinking of upgrading them to a server 2012 essentials box and using it to manage a cloud hosted sharepoint/onedrive setup, then in the future try to move their email hosting over to office365 cloud services.   Then they will also be setup for when they eventually make the switch to a domain setup.  Does that make sense?  Does this sound like something I could manage with a little research and a home-techie-gadget background?

Edited by hoorah
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Sounds like a good plan. Look at the Western Digital DS5100/6100. Comes with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Raid installed and ready to go. Just setup the User Accounts. Has Office 365 integration and support Mac laptops. Office 366 can include Sharepoint.

 

If you want to setup the server hardware, look at a HP Gen 8 with a Xeon CPU.

 

Also look at theofficemaven.com add-ins

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Sounds to me like it's time to find an IT support partner. I get the impression that their IT infrastructure is quite fragmented and disjointed. A good IT partner company would help get things organized and streamlined. With this kind of thing, it's always better to get help earlier rather than later. Since it sounds like the members of the company are ready for that help, I would take advantage of their willingness.

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Sounds like a good plan. Look at the Western Digital DS5100/6100. Comes with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Raid installed and ready to go. Just setup the User Accounts. Has Office 365 integration and support Mac laptops. Office 366 can include Sharepoint.

 

If you want to setup the server hardware, look at a HP Gen 8 with a Xeon CPU.

 

Also look at theofficemaven.com add-ins

Thanks. I think we're good on hardware for now but may upgrade anyway when moving to 2012 to minimize downtime in the future.

Edited by hoorah
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Sounds to me like it's time to find an IT support partner. I get the impression that their IT infrastructure is quite fragmented and disjointed. A good IT partner company would help get things organized and streamlined. With this kind of thing, it's always better to get help earlier rather than later. Since it sounds like the members of the company are ready for that help, I would take advantage of their willingness.

 

It might be.  Without going way into the details they did speak with one IT company and were not a fan.  I think they came on too strong and tried to propose a huge jump in infrastructure (domain, all new business laptops, new server, and a huge price tag).  Perhaps a more moderate approach would be better but for now they prefer to stick to what I can do in my limited capacity.  Thats why I'd like to get them something that I can manage remotely but leave the services I'm not experienced with to microsofts cloud services and have the two work together.  I thought that was kind of the point behind server 2012.

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Do the users outside of the company have Company accounts?  For a price between $4-$7/month per user you could Office 365 with SharePoint.  SP would be the optimum data collaboration tool and there is no hardware to support.

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Do the users outside of the company have Company accounts?  For a price between $4-$7/month per user you could Office 365 with SharePoint.  SP would be the optimum data collaboration tool and there is no hardware to support.

 

Most don't, at least on the WHS box.  In one or two instances, I was asked if there was a way that clients could upload them files.  I created a temporary account on the WHS box for that person and sent them the web interface link (which was straight to an IP address, and is not associated with their domain).  I don't think they ever used it, whether out of technical confusion or they found another method in the interim I don't know.

 

In the future, I had suggested that when a new project/client is opened, a new account can be created for that person to upload files and they liked that idea.  I assume you could manage that on the web, or you can manage those accounts from within server 2012, but I don't have a ton of experience to know for sure. 

 

For convenience, I would prefer to manage those 'client' access accounts from the same place as I manage the local network user accounts, but if not its not a huge deal.

Edited by hoorah
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Most don't, at least on the WHS box.  In one or two instances, I was asked if there was a way that clients could upload them files.  I created a temporary account on the WHS box for that person and sent them the web interface link (which was straight to an IP address, and is not associated with their domain).  I don't think they ever used it, whether out of technical confusion or they found another method in the interim I don't know.

 

In the future, I had suggested that when a new project/client is opened, a new account can be created for that person to upload files and they liked that idea.  I assume you could manage that on the web, or you can manage those accounts from within server 2012, but I don't have a ton of experience to know for sure. 

 

For convenience, I would prefer to manage those 'client' access accounts from the same place as I manage the local network user accounts, but if not its not a huge deal.

 

Yes, all of the accounts would be managed web side.  You get the benefits of managing access, permissions, and restrictions without having to manage the infrastructure side of the house.  If they can use One Drive, they can use Office 365 and have a professional appearance.

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They should, of course, be certain to check that they're in compliance with any and all privacy laws. This can be a big concern for some (but not most) companies when using online services.

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Thanks guys.  I watched 3 youtube videos on sharepoint last night and was about to figure out more about it from that than all of the marketing material from microsoft.  It sounds to be exactly what they need.

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