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# 142988 31-Mar-2014 10:06
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Hi All,

It has been a while since I have had to spec out a setup for a small business.

I have been asked to help out a friend, whose business is struggling with their IT provider (or lack thereof). They have pretty simple needs, and they are getting the impression that they are being oversold a solution, or that the provider does not really care about them because they are too small.

They are a transport company, with 3 depots in the North Island.

Their drivers do not need email access

They have probably 5-6 users who will need email access, and have access to PCs, most in their central location, 2 in satellite offices. All have a DSL connection.

They currently have their own domain name hosted for email somewhere (they are not sure where - on my to-do list to find out).
At present they are POPing email into their computers. It is getting confused, and people are deleting emails before they are read, or getting confused when an email they have already dealt with comes in on another computer (as happens with POP email).


My thoughts:

Tidy up current PCs - bring them up to standard if needed, ensure they all have Office (pretty sure they do).

If Office is missing or outdated - Look into Office365 SB Premium.

Move email domain to a cloud based email provider - I like Office365 Small Business (or Premium), This will give them exchange, and access to email on mobile devices.

** Is there something better/cheaper - they have Outlook currently on their machines. I personally have my own domain transferred over to Windows Live, and it works perfectly - any reason we cannot do that with a business email address? It is free.

Setup OneDrive for simple sharing/syncing of files - create a folder in the SkyDrive for each user, point the MyDocs on their PCs to it. Bonus that it gives them mobile access to them if needed.

Document and leave some sort of way for me to get in and fix up any small niggles.

Be happy :)



Can you think of anything else, or any other avenues I should be looking down.

The key will be simplicity of administering (remotely probably) and ease of use.

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gjm

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  # 1015854 31-Mar-2014 10:23
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looks good to me although I'd be a bit wary of using skydrive / onedrive as Ive seen it do some strange things with losing files and sync problems. If they dont need cloudy access to files then I would prob keep them local...maybe on a NAS or something similar and then make sure that was backed up. Exchange Online is def way to go. 




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# 1015855 31-Mar-2014 10:34
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First thoughts:

Office365 for email is fine.  We make extensive use of it, and it is well supported.  You can go for the email only plans which are cheaper - $9ish if I remember correctly.  Getting GMail to work is possible ($50/yr Google Apps accounts) but it is messy and in my experience unreliable so we don't bother.

OneDrive isn't bad for storage but there are limits to the number of documents you can store (which we have hit multiple times) and the syncing is far from trouble-free.  Consider something like an HP Microserver running Windows Server 2012 Essentials for in-house storage.

Self-serving bit:
We occasionally take on a new client that has had a 'friend' set up the system, but when things go wrong the friend is not available during business hours and it starts costing the company money in delays.  Some companies can handle support delays, but with the transport and logistics companies we look after, if for example the dispatcher's PC starts misbehaving the client wants help ASAP.  We would of course be happy to help on a commercial basis.  :)




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

 
 
 
 


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  # 1015859 31-Mar-2014 10:39
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OneDrive is a little picky with syncing files.... just the other day I was setting up a friends desktop and laptop with oneDrive to keep his business files synced - next day he called to ask where all his files were - OneDrive upload stopped due to PC crashing overnight, and OneDrive decided that because there were only 100 files on the laptop, that it had finished and the desktop was wrong, and removed all his other 3900 files from his desktop when he powered it on.

Luckily I had just done a backup before starting OneDrive.




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  # 1015886 31-Mar-2014 11:03
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is this OneDrive or OneDrive for Business?

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  # 1015903 31-Mar-2014 11:35
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Me ? Just the standard OneDrive - trying to convince user to sign up for O365 SB to avoid his email syncing issues... 





XPD / Gavin / DemiseNZ

 

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  # 1015906 31-Mar-2014 11:37
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trig42: Hi All,

It has been a while since I have had to spec out a setup for a small business.

I have been asked to help out a friend, whose business is struggling with their IT provider (or lack thereof). They have pretty simple needs, and they are getting the impression that they are being oversold a solution, or that the provider does not really care about them because they are too small.

They are a transport company, with 3 depots in the North Island.

Their drivers do not need email access

They have probably 5-6 users who will need email access, and have access to PCs, most in their central location, 2 in satellite offices. All have a DSL connection.

They currently have their own domain name hosted for email somewhere (they are not sure where - on my to-do list to find out).
At present they are POPing email into their computers. It is getting confused, and people are deleting emails before they are read, or getting confused when an email they have already dealt with comes in on another computer (as happens with POP email).


My thoughts:

Tidy up current PCs - bring them up to standard if needed, ensure they all have Office (pretty sure they do).

If Office is missing or outdated - Look into Office365 SB Premium.

Move email domain to a cloud based email provider - I like Office365 Small Business (or Premium), This will give them exchange, and access to email on mobile devices.

** Is there something better/cheaper - they have Outlook currently on their machines. I personally have my own domain transferred over to Windows Live, and it works perfectly - any reason we cannot do that with a business email address? It is free.

Setup OneDrive for simple sharing/syncing of files - create a folder in the SkyDrive for each user, point the MyDocs on their PCs to it. Bonus that it gives them mobile access to them if needed.

Document and leave some sort of way for me to get in and fix up any small niggles.

Be happy :)



Can you think of anything else, or any other avenues I should be looking down.

The key will be simplicity of administering (remotely probably) and ease of use.


If you are using Office 365 - you can use Exchange Online to configure the email for them using their domain.  Office 365 from memory will also keep itself up to date.  You may also like to consider setting up some mail rules such as signatures and the like.   Consider the privacy act when putting documents and potentially confidential information into cloud storage - not everything is suitable to go online.

One thing you may want to consider with exchange is shared mailboxes where email sent to a company can be read and responded to by an appropriate list of people.  It allows correspondence to be visible to a group of people rather than only individuals.

Another question, how are they for upgrading from Win XP?  Do they need to be managed through this?

Finally, one question I often ask is how are the business depreciating their hardware/software.  If this is well managed, the business can often be in place to upgrade to new hardware/software every three years or so -  this can be an aid to ongoing maintenance and also in some cases can reduce costs (power savings etc.). 







Software Engineer

 




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  # 1015923 31-Mar-2014 11:51
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Great replies thanks people.

I have not yet been onsite, so do not know the mix of XP/Win7 etc, or if they have some sort of file storage already.

There will not be a huge amount of shared files, but sharing email addresses (like the main Point of Contact one) is a good idea, and would be done.

It would probably be the O365 SB - which is email only (no Office Applications).

 
 
 
 


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  # 1015939 31-Mar-2014 12:17
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Take a look at Box for file storage.  They seem to have better facilities for syncing among multiple users, and securing folders per user/group as well.

Also an O365 account that includes Lync Online would be advantageous, given they have multiple branch offices.  Being able to Lync - Lync for video or voice is great - and the collaborative tools are awesome.

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  # 1015973 31-Mar-2014 12:48
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If total 5 users then can look at buying 4 x small business licensing for Office 365 and 1 x small business premium license which will cover 5 machine install of MS Office 2013 on desktops etc. This will cover Lync for audio/video/IM conferencing, OneDrive for business file sharing, emails.




Do whatever you want to do man.

  

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  # 1015975 31-Mar-2014 12:52
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I would just go with a Live custom domain and outlook.com. You can use the Hotmail connector with Outlook and it generally works well.

This will be a huge improvement from their current setup in any case.

It's a shame they don't do free Google Apps anymore




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  # 1016020 31-Mar-2014 14:00
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personally I think a business should use a paid for account, rather than Outlook.com, so that you have an SLA, someone to call for support etc etc



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  # 1016024 31-Mar-2014 14:04
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ajobbins: I would just go with a Live custom domain and outlook.com. You can use the Hotmail connector with Outlook and it generally works well.

This will be a huge improvement from their current setup in any case.

It's a shame they don't do free Google Apps anymore


This was my initial thought, and it is what I do for my emails (and it goes perfectly well).

 

As Nathan mentions above, an SLA is good, as is tech support if I pass it off to a local IT company (they would have no idea about calling MS tech support).
Of course, if I did it (and I have recommended local IT companies to them instead of me), I would document as much as I could, so that when someone else takes over, they do not have to start again.

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  # 1016061 31-Mar-2014 15:25
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trig42: Hi All,


At present they are POPing email into their computers. It is getting confused, and people are deleting emails before they are read, or getting confused when an email they have already dealt with comes in on another computer (as happens with POP email).


That alone is a worry.
Something very wrong with their IT setup & HOW EMAIL IS BEING USED
How/why are emails being deleted before being read??
Im guessing they are sharing email adress's across pc's. Never a good option. Also check if any of the email adress are aliases.

If they each had separate email accounts (NOT alias's & no a/c's being shared) , this wouldn't happen.
Its almost certainly not a pop3 issue at all.
This sort of thing happens when you have multiple PC's using the same email adress, or are using alias's .





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  # 1016063 31-Mar-2014 15:27
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Or it happens when multiple people use the same PC and they are not communicating.

But, I agree,, it is messy.

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