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Old 06-12-2012, 09:35 AM
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Default Typical Small Office Setup

Hello all,

I am looking to expand my business into the business-to-business market. I am a little apprehensive as I haven't dealt with networking/servers for quite a while.

Is there a starter guide for what I might expect from a small business network?

Typical setup? Server, Backups, Networked printers, User Access Privileges.

What are the common issues you are asked to fix?


Any resources would be gratefully received.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:57 AM
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Well, first thing I'd want to see....is someone who is familiar with current servers/networks. Time to use some technet/MAPS subscriptions and get yourself familiar again.

There generally isn't a typical "guide"....businesses are different..one business network isn't necessarily just like another business network.

Small Business Server is a great product that lots of our clients love...tons of features for a great price.

I stay away from "cheap" servers....no SATA disk based servers, it's about SAS. HP ProLiant ML300 and higher (usually ML350 and higher), or Dell PowerEdge T410 and higher.

Offsite backup. Recurring revenue for you (if you're a reseller)...and the price of a server with a tape drive and tapes...that savings of not getting a tape drive and tapes usually washes off the price of nearly the first years offsite backup. Plus no need to get new tapes on a regular basis (you really should get new tapes at least every couple of years..even though many people try to make their tapes last for years..and then wonder why something is corrupted come restore time).

Managed antivirus.

If an Exchange Server (e-mail)..do a mail filtering system....removes spam/viruses..and the Exchange server can get locked down with SMTP only open to that filtering services IP range instead of the entire world. Keeps outgoing SMTP simple also.

Gigabit network

Beefy workstations...these days I'm typically doing Dell Optiplex 790 with 8 gigs of RAM for workstations..nice and snappy with an i5.

People often like to work remotely from home....Small Business Server comes with a nice portal to remote in through. I setup other users with Windows Live MESH for remote.

Manage their domain and DNS....for an annual fee.

If no e-mail server locally, consider reselling Microsofts Office 365 for hosted Exchange and other stuff. We focus on the E3 package...20 bucks per user per month. Unlimited storage, live support, and the best part...software assurance license for Office Pro Plus for each user. That right there pays for over the first year.

Routers/firewalls...the days of plain old NAT routers at the edge are no more. Business networks need greatly increased security...UTM appliances (Unified Threat Management) are what's important. They provide (usually) 2x additional antivirus engines scanning all traffic going in and out, most have additional anti spyware modules, as well as increase protection in phishing, content filtering, ad blockers (to further reduce network traffic), At my clients that I have UTM appliances at, we have greatly reduced calls to clean infected computers.

I setup the DNS of a DC to use OpenDNS servers for forwarding..this allows an additional layer of protection because OpenDNS blocks known malware distribution sites via a constantly updated list. A workstation cannot download malware if it cannot resolve the site to get the payload from.

Keep web players up to date....(java, flash, shockwave, pdf readers, etc). Regular tuneups, or deploy via GPO regularly. Helps reduce malware.

Monthly fixed costs....managed client. Try to get them managed. Non-profits especially like this...fixed monthly costs. Tons of threads about this in the MSP section.

This can be a very long thread, almost too much to discuss for a thread.....gotta get more coffee. I guess to further move it, ask some more questions.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:07 PM
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YeOldeStonecat,

That is exactly what I was looking for - thanks a lot. I'll have a proper look through this and get back to you with questions.

Cheers,

John.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:06 AM
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The above post is quote informative. Since you have not done this stuff in a while, you may want to study a little. The CCNA and SBS 2011 certs are good for general networking SBS stuff.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:19 PM
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I've NEVER seen a "typical" setup

I can say that the only thing "typical" about my small biz clients is that they A. rarely want to spend the money to do things right, and B. have had many techs with many different ideas on how a small office should be setup over their years, and it makes sometimes for an interesting blend of technology
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:28 PM
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I agree, no such thing as a typical setup - I wish there were.

There are 2 models perhaps - one is SBS on site, one is office 365 with maybe a file server on site.

SBS 2011 - Use an HP ML350, redundant PSU, redundant fans, 10K SAS drives offer best value (P411 with 256/512MB cache + battery), as much RAM as you can sell (12-16GB min), Backup Exec, 1 Quad Core Xeon.

SBS is pretty simple to set up, and pretty powerful. Once it's set up and stable, most of your issues (referring to your question in your first post) are users forgetting to put tapes in, users losing email, software deployment, maybe the odd failed disk (set up monitoring), reminding users to put a cleaning tape in, the odd bit of malware on users PCs.

As long as your maintenance and monitoring is up to scratch - both which are pretty much automated, you shouldn't get too much. We were averaging 150 seats (users) per tech.

Cheers
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoolishTech View Post
I've NEVER seen a "typical" setup

I can say that the only thing "typical" about my small biz clients is that they A. rarely want to spend the money to do things right, and B. have had many techs with many different ideas on how a small office should be setup over their years, and it makes sometimes for an interesting blend of technology
LOL - spot on!

I've seen some pretty strange setups of the years. While I know many IT companies like SBS, I can't tell you how many mangled SBS configurations I've encountered over the years. SBS is fine when done right, and yes, it's go alot of nice built-in features, but man - it's nothing but a PITA when it's screwed up because someone didn't use the "wizards". Are SBS migrations still as painful as it used to be with the older versions? Personally, I still prefer Standard Edition or even Foundation for small shops.

-Randy
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoolishTech View Post
I've NEVER seen a "typical" setup

I can say that the only thing "typical" about my small biz clients is that they A. rarely want to spend the money to do things right, and B. have had many techs with many different ideas on how a small office should be setup over their years, and it makes sometimes for an interesting blend of technology
So say we all.

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