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Small Business Server 

Have you planned the next steps for your business after January 2020?

Small Business Server Reaches End Of Life Jan 2020

It has been the chosen solution for small businesses for years. An all in one product which includes email, internet access, licences for users and secure data storage. Supporting 75 users over 50 devices, made it the perfect start up and further expansion package. Unfortunately, Microsoft have decided to take this product in a different direction, and have therefore phased out the SBS server. This article will answer why you need to start thinking about a new solution and what your other options are. If you have any further questions, or items you think we have missed, please contact us to let us know. We are happy to discuss any queries you may have. 

Why is changing your SBS server is important?

  1. Costs - There are costs involved with migrating to a new product. However, with efficient planning and management this shouldn't be a painful task. If you choose to stick with your SBS server, your whole infrastructure has to stay compatible with it. This means no further technology upgrades to move with the times, or to increase company efficiencies. In the short term this might not be such an issue. But long term when you truly have to improve your infrastructure, you will have hardware and software costs. Bear in mind that technology moves forward quickly, and changing your software now may be an easier task than years down the road, which in turn will also harbour more costs.
  2. Security - When a product is no longer supported, part of this means there are no further security improvements. No weak points in code are fixed. It sits dormant while technology moves forward. Leaving entry points open for hackers, and allowing your companies security to be compromised.  
  3. Support - Microsoft have made this product an 'EOL' which stands for 'end of life'. As well as no further improvements, it will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Any problems you face with the software will be down to your IT company to fix. However, if they can't fix the issue and it is directly in relation to the software, then you are in a difficult position. 
  4. Company Responsibility - With laws and regulations in business changing to adapt to a highly technological future, requirements for the running of your business will change. Depending on your business model, you may have to upgrade. Especially when it comes to the safety of the data you store. 

Your upgrade options

Windows Server 2019: Essentials, Data Centre and Standard

With three options to choose from for your business, this may be the most popular choice for small to mid - sized companies. 

Essentials

  1. No email solution: You have to pay for an additional product to support your emails. (Read Exchange paragraph for further details)
  2. 25 users and 50 devices: Perfect for smaller companies. You are supplied with licences for all 25 users. However, as soon as you go over this number you have to upgrade.
  3. Specifications: You get 64GB of RAM and 2 CPU's (central processing units). This is your limit, however for a small business this shouldn't be a problem.

Data Centre

  1. High Limits Option: You can have an unlimited number of virtual machines and will only purchase the licences that you require. You will need one per server and one per user.
  2. Specifications: 24 Terabytes and licence up to 512 Cores. Comes with extra features such as; shielded virtual machines and clustering fail over system.
  3. Cores: For each Core you have in your machines, you will need to buy licences. If you have 50 Cores you will have to buy 50 licences. 

Standard

  1. High Limits Option: You can have an unlimited number of virtual machines and will only purchase the licences that you require. You will need one per server and one per user. (Same as data centre)
  2. Specifications: 24 Terabytes and licence up to 512 Cores (same as data centre).
  3. Basic: This is a lesser version of the data centre. It doesn't come with extra features. 

Exchange

This product is an email solution and pairs well with the Windows 2019 server. An on - premise solution, to store and manage your company emails. For larger companies this may not be a good solution for you. As you will have to buy many licences and this can get expensive. Every email needs a licence.

Office 365

A Cloud based system with a variety of options. All options come with a commercial guarantee, 1 Terabyte of One Drive storage, up to 300 users only, 50GB of email and Office available to install (licenced) on 5 devices per licenced user. It is important to mention that with any Cloud based system, if you do not have internet you will not have access to anything. If your internet is slow, then this may not be the solution for you.

Office 365 Business

Gives you access to the Office suite install only. You will not have an email solution with this package. This is great for companies who have an on premise solution already. Simply requiring the latest version of Office.

Office 365 Essentials Licence

Access to the Office suite, emails and SharePoint online. The Essentials licence is only for mobile and tablet devices. You will not be able to access anything on your desktop. (unless you already pay for outlook in which case you will have your email on your desktop)

Office 365 Business Premium 

Exactly the same as the Essentials package, however you can install your Office suite and email onto your required devices. You also have access to SharePoint. 

It is good to keep in mind there are higher tier options. It is an adaptable product, but you will pay more for these perks. We wanted to explain the perfect options for those who are moving forward from the SBS Server. If you need any more information regarding these higher tier options, or anything you have read so far, please contact us.

Other Alternatives

If you want to move away from a Microsoft solution, there are other options for you. Moving completely away from using Microsoft may be a hard process. However, there are products you can use to supplement your systems. 

Google G Suite

Cloud based system. You have Google's version of Microsoft's apps. This includes a Gmail email system, Google 'Office' and several Google applications. These are available to use within your browser or to download. You have the G drive storage system, which lots of people say is better than the One Drive alternative. However, once again, if you have no internet, you have no access to email or data.

Kerio

Alternative to the Exchange option. Kerio is the closest product in terms of specification to the Exchange. It isn't as feature rich, but still works well. It allows you to have an on - premise email server which you can control yourselves.

Overall it isn't as bleak as people believe. There are multiple options to choose from, and hopefully this has pointed some light on them. There are several steps you can take to prepare yourself for the changeover. These mainly include: talking to the right people, such as your IT company and your employees. Find out what you use the most, does it work well, and what is missing. What do you require when you move onto the new system? Ensure the new option contains all the support you may require. Do not settle for something that leaves you in a situation where you require help and it isn't available to you. Find out all of the costs involved. Whether these be ongoing, one off or for the future if you require an improvement to your solution. Does your hardware need updating to support the new system? Will the new hardware benefit your business in terms of compatibility with the new solution? Therefore, increasing efficiency for your employees and yourself. 

Communication is key. Everyone should be knowledgeable about the changes being made, and your staff should receive training / guidance to use the new solution. These new products are adaptable. If they don't work for your business one way, they may be adjusted to your requirements. Your IT company should be helping and guiding you to make the process as streamline as possible. If you are unsure about anything, they should be able to answer your questions.

If you do require any help, please do not hesitate to give ABM a call. 
01243 773113