Archive

Archive for February, 2013

International Womens Day Guelph

International Womens Day Guelph

Come join us as we celebrate International Womens Day March 5 from 4:30-8 at Innovation Guelph.

How To Work In Your Jammies On Snow Days (Canadian, eh?)

I was sitting in my jammies earlier today, watching the snowstorm with my coffee, when a client called me. She was unable to go to her workplace because of the treacherous road conditions, but she didn’t want that to keep her from working. She told me, “Sharon, I want to be able to work from home. I know you set up that type of functionality a while ago on the new business server, could you help me get connected to it?” “Of course”, I replied, and five minutes later, she was connected to her office desktop through her home computer.

Last fall, I upgraded this client to Small Business Server 2011 Standard, as well as many other additional technical improvements. I love the SBS servers; and with their large variety of features, they’re a great solution for small businesses.

The feature this client called me about is Remote Web Access (or Anywhere Access, as it’s now referred to in Microsoft’s latest server operating system), and it allows users to securely access in-house resources using any web browser. This means you can seamlessly work from anywhere with an Internet connection the same way you would at your workplace.

Here’s a quick overview on what Remote Web Access looks like:

rwa-blanked

Your users can easily connect to your server by entering a designated web address into their web browser. They will then be presented with a very simple log-in screen, as seen above.

RWA Web - blanked

Once successfully authenticated, the user can connect to any of the resources he/she has permission to access; whether it’s shared folders on a server, desktop or (depending on the version of SBS installed) the internal SharePoint site.

Shared Folders - blanked

Users can upload and download files as necessary, depending on their access rights. In the picture above, the account is an administrative one, and has access to all folders and computers.

As a bonus, I can remotely support businesses using Remote Web Access and Remote Desktop; which allows me to address issues without having to physically be on-site, reducing the business’s downtime. Remote Web Access is just one solution to allow your team members to work remotely. Talk to your certified IT professional about what solution will best meet your team’s needs.

Hit By A Bus

I was recently asked to write a blog on the Canadian IT Pro Connection website. Here’s the article I wrote, called “My IT Guy Was Hit By A Bus”. The posts you find on my blog are usually directed at the small business owner, whereas the Canadian IT Pro Connection website is oriented to IT professionals. As a small business owner, you can still use the information in the article to ensure your IT support has left you everything you need, just in case they get Hit by a Bus.Image

Nas vs Server – Part 1: The Nas

As I move more small businesses to the cloud, my clients’ dependence on an in-house server continues to decrease, and more of them are choosing not to replace outdated servers with another one, but instead, with a NAS.

I recently worked for a client who had a server that needed to be replaced.  After determining their current and future needs, we decided to replace the server with a NAS (Network Attached Storage).  This company has 8 employees, 5 of which who work on-site full-time, with 7 out of 8 employees using laptops.  95% of the businesses’s workflow is cloud-based;  and they keep very little data on-site.  The employees only need to share their documents with one another and have them available for future reference.  In this case, a server would have been overkill for their needs, but if the company’s line of business applications were on-premise, a NAS would not be suitable.

Every business is unique.  As a guideline, I have listed some of the benefits of a small business NAS:

NAS Benefits

  • Cost – for the most part, a NAS is much less expensive than a server and its licensing.
  • Hard Drive Redundancy – NAS manufacturers offer a choice of RAID options within the device.  For the small business, I recommend RAID 1; this means both hard drives contain the same data, therefore if one hard drive fails, the data is still available on the second drive.  Keep in mind, this configuration is not a replacement for off-site backups, and an off-site backup should always be part of your data recovery strategy.  For the “3-2-1 Backup Strategy,” click here.
  • Access Control – you can control and customize each users access (if any) to the data stored on the NAS.
  • Other Options – remote access, online backups, desktop backups, etc.

A NAS may be the perfect solution for your small business, but talk to your qualified IT professional before investing in this technology.  A NAS is a great solution for businesses that require basic file storage and limited functionality, but it is not a substitute for the advanced functionality and security of a server-based environment.

Stay tuned for NAS vs Server – Part 2: The Server

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