“Would you take a few minutes and humor me with a list of benefits. What is the value that your customers receive from working with you? An example of a time when you may not have given what they wanted, but in the end they were glad you gave them what they needed!” – Jackie Simmons, “No Talk, No Drama”
Remote Control, Support and Maintenance
16 years of experience
Pro bono accounts
Web design (now retired)
Network configuration and maintenance
Workstation and server builds
Proactive managed services since 2004
Primary clients were and remain Legal and CPA firms
As business owners were told by their software vendors during the early 2000’s that they had to move to server-based platforms to enable sharing of data across a company network, I was ready with the best tool of the day – Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 – using Windows XP as workstations. In many cases, I built Intel-based servers and workstations to accommodate their needs. I included a Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) agent on every machine, which patched the machines automatically and alerted us to any unseen problems.
Case Study: In one instance, we were alerted to a failing hard drive and the server only had a single drive (the best practice was to have two hard drives that were mirrored with RAID 1). We arrived on a Saturday morning, backed up the single disk drive, and then listened as the drive ground to a halt and died. We happened to have two new identical drives in the shop, so we grabbed those and set up a RAID 1 mirroring configuration on the server. By 10pm that night, we had the machine back in complete order with a safer drive situation in place. On Monday morning, the workers arrived and resumed work as if nothing had ever happened. We kept following up with them for the next week, but no problems were reported.
But 5 years later, servers and server applications started moving to the cloud. Always the early adopter of cutting edge technologies, I left my servers behind and moved my business to Sarasota in 2009. I have, in fact, deployed one server since then, but it was a hybrid server that connected on-premise accounts to Office 365, enabling graphics files to remain on the Local Area Network so that designers could work without the latency of pulling from files stored in the cloud.
As all things technology-related have evolved, I would not recommend a server for that situation again. Now we can deploy hosted virtual desktops onto inexpensive thin-clients or standard workstations so that workers can work with their familiar desktop, files, and applications without latency and without worry that their data or applications might be lost.
For most users, though, most data is in the form of Office files, such as Word or Excel documents.
Case Study: Quite recently, I set up a small office with new Dell All-In-One computers and Office 365. As they use Outlook, their emails, contacts and calendar items are no longer stored locally, but stored in the cloud along with with their Office documents, which are accessed using the new Office application, OneDrive. OneDrive displays their documents in the familiar File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer). So when Monday morning arrived, they opened their documents from the default save location, which is the OneDrive folder. They still don’t realize that their documents reside in the cloud, but I happen to know that their documents will never be lost due to a local hard drive failure.
As workers have moved further away from their standard office computers to smartphones, tablets, and lightweight yet powerful laptops, Office 365 becomes the ideal productivity platform. Its cross-platform capability (Windows 10, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android) enables users to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). On any device, one can conduct business anywhere or at any time.