Business network with no servers?...

  jvarty101 12:17 PM 01 Jan 12
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We are a medium sized business with around 150 employees, most of whem have their own PC or laptop. I've just taken on IT management as part of my area management role, and I'm looking to propose some changes to our current set-up.

In particular, rather than having support contracts for our IT (currently costing a signififcant amount) I'd like to do away with this and spot purchase IT support (maybe get each computer audited / checked over every 3 months?). I'd also like to move away from servers in each office and move to a cloud-based approach for email and file back-up.

My first question is: how do individual users manage windows updates, etc without being set up as administrators on their machines? Is there a cloud-based method for managing updates for multiple users?

  wiz-king 17:26 PM 02 Jan 12

You cant rely on your employees. What every system you use you will still need an IT contractor 'on call'. If 10% of your staff cant work one day because their computers have caught a cold what are you going to do? With a decent IT firm on contract you should get most of them back in a few hours. Also the IT firm is a large part of your companies disaster management plan, Can your business run without your PC's - no server no PC's? It only takes a rampaging digger driver a few seconds to remove your internet connection or power cable and the whole lot goes - at least with an IT firm at your beck and call they can set you up to run from home or anywhere else for a time or use another offices server.

Even with a cloud based system you will need IT support, in fact it is more essential to keep track of the 'who can do what' on the system.

  jvarty101 19:37 PM 02 Jan 12

Thanks for your response... do you work for / own an IT company by any chance? ;)

I think we need to distinguish between IT support and IT administration. We have someone who is very IT literate and can compitently control user authorisations, etc. Our users are spread over multiple sites, so I think the scenario you suggest actually supports the cloud-based approach. Using multiple cloud-based providers for different aspects of our IT needs will mitigate against disasters. It is similarly very unlikely that 10% of our PCs could 'catch a cold' in this scenario; More likely 1-5 machines at any one time, and in this eventuality we would spot-purchase an IT professional to look at the machine. This would cost between £50-£100 to rectify, and be much quicker to do than our current arrangements. Compare this to somewhere between £300-£700 per year per user for an IT support contract.

  Forum Editor 23:54 PM 02 Jan 12

"I think the scenario you suggest actually supports the cloud-based approach."

I would certainly recommend taking a good look at that solution. It has a lot to offer small to medium sized businesses, although many people have understandably expressed concerns about data security.

The ad-hoc support purchasing solution can help in an emergency, but I would prefer to see a more structured approach. Is it out of the question to train up an in-house support team?

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