For most small/medium sized businesses one of the first things to get sorted when you startup are a website and an email address. Now-a-days this is fairly easy to do – you can sign up for your @hotmail.com or @gmail.com email address quickly and freely. You canstore your documents on SkyDrive or DropBox or your local hard-drive (please, please back it up!) and setup a page on Facebook for free or get a website from a hosting company for a little amount per-month.
So, your company is off the ground and in time hopefully you’ll start to grow – you may take on extra staff, or get another PC at home but now you need to start thinking about new set of problems.
- How do I make sure we’re all looking at the latest version of a file?
- How can I schedule my team/projects/customer deliverables from my phone or PC?
- What would I do if my laptop was stolen/lost/broken?
- How do I co-ordinate my business and it’s employees?
Now traditionally when you reach this point you’d start thinking about buying a server. Windows Small Business Server is great for this purpose and we still sell and supply a number of these. It provides a professional email server, shared calendaring, somewhere to store your files and remote access to your PC/files via your broadband internet connection.
However, there are a number of costs you need consider here:
- The hardware / software licenses / implementation fees.
- TIME spent backing up your server
- TIME spent testing your backups (although most people don’t do this until it’s too late)
- TIME spent updating the software
- TIME installing and running virus scanning software
- TIME to keep it all in sync (if you want a belt-and-braces approach then double all this in case the first server goes down.)
Microsoft Office 365 offers you and alternative to this method of growing your IT. Instead of purchasing a server in your office you access a bank of servers that runs in a Microsoft Owned and Operated data-centre over in Ireland. You get the same email services(with you own @yourcompany.com email address), you get the same ability to perform Shared-Calendaring and you also getsomewhere to centrally store your files.
However, you also get:
- web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (no more file conversion for your iPad)
- access you email and files from a Laptop / PC / Mac / iPad / iPhone / Android or Windows Phone.
- access to Microsoft’s flagship collaboration product SharePoint Online
- an internet facing website that you can manage yourself and the ability to run multi-way web-conferences thrown in too!
All of this in a package that just works! The software get’s updated and maintained by Microsoft. Your data is replicated to an identical data-centre in Amsterdam in case Ireland disappears. The software comes with spam and virus scanning software as part of the service and in the unlikely event that Microsoft cannot keep to their 99.9% availability guarantee (that’s just 8 hours of downtime) then they’ll give you your money back the next month in service credits.
So the choice is yours – if you’re not happy storing your files and email on a cloud system (and there are a lot of people out there that aren’t) then give us a call and ask for a Small Business Server – we’re very competitive and we’ll help you get the most from it.
However if you want someone else to worry about your backups, updates, virus scanning. If you want to get access to some pretty neat software that you can use on any device and you want all this for around £5 per user/per month – then call us for a FREE 25-user, 30 day trial of Office 365 and see if it can’t just change the way you do your business.
One final thought – If you’ve already got your own email servers, active directory and SharePoint server up and running or you’d like to upgrade to the latest version of Office we can help you save money too.