Century IT blog

Microsoft Small Business Server 2011

September 24th, 2014

Microsoft Small Business Server 2011

 

 

Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 End of Life

 

As you may be aware that Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 is being phased out by Microsoft and the dealer channel supplies of this product are drying up.

 

According to Microsoft the Official Statement for Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 is:-
“The support date for this product package is determined by its individual component product’s respective support lifecycles. Please review the individual component product’s support lifecycle to determine its length of support.”

 

Looking at the major components of Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 we could draw some conclusions that this Network Operating System Main Stream Support will end in January 2015 and the extended support will cease in January 2020.

 

Microsoft End of Life Table

 

 

 

 

 

Our Informed Opinion

So why are supplies of Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 drying up?

 

There doesn’t seem to be a published official line to this at present

 

Well in our opinion Microsoft has made major investments in its Office 365 technology and in our opinion they would much prefer you move onto a pricing model where they can charge you monthly, month after month and year after year. And also let’s not forget they have this Office 365 system which needs to pay for itself.

 

 

 

So is Office 365 Better

Well this is not straight forward to answer as you are comparing Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 to Office 365 which are not the same nor can you draw direct comparisons.

 

With any traditional Microsoft Server you generally have a server of some description within your building and all of your company data is stored on this server or servers. Thus the security and maintenance of this server/s is pretty much straightforward.

 

With Office 365 you in effect move all your data which you would have otherwise stored on your server, in your building into ‘Microsoft’s Cloud’ and trust the electronic and physical security to Microsoft and its Suppliers and Sub Contractors.

 

 

Should I be Worried about Storing our Data in the Cloud

There are a wide range of risks in storing any data in the ‘Cloud’ for any company and you should give careful consideration before doing this.

 

 

If you have a traditional type of Microsoft Server in the very least for most businesses, your employees can only access the company’s I.T systems and data when they are at work and in the building.

 

 

For most business we look after there would be grave concerns by Business Owners, Managing Directors etc if all of their employees had access to private company data whilst they were not at work, at home or in a foreign country.

 

Let’s now consider a scenario where all your company data is in the ‘Cloud’ and can be accessed by all employees, at anytime from anywhere. Would your business have any concerns?

 

It is true that this type of ‘Cloud’ I.T system may suit certain types of businesses but there are still the risks and more importantly the unknowns involved in using this type of system.

 

Square Peg in a Round Hole

  • How is my Data Stored?
  • Where is my Data Stored?
  • Is my Data Stored within the U.K?
  • Are there copies of my data in foreign countries or data centres?
  • Is my Data secured properly and encrypted?
  • Who has the decryption keys? Specifically
  • Is my Data available to employees of the Cloud Service Provider?
  • Is my Data available to subcontractors or suppliers of the Cloud Service Provider?
  • Will my software work in the Cloud?
  • How can I restore data from backup? Is there a backup?
  • Can my broadband connection take the extra load and extra internet traffic?
  • Does my broadband have a usage allowance?
  • What about if my Data is commercially sensitive?

 

I think we all know that in the I.T Industry there is no such thing as 100% secure, there are always new technologies and methods and hackers trying to exploit or extort money.

 

I think if you have a have a salesman that is insistent that his Cloud Service is 100% secure, the litmus test is to ask him to save all of his Online Banking usernames and passwords on his Cloud System and then wait to see what happens!!

 

Are you an Accountant, Solicitor or Financial Advisor?

If you are an Accountant, Solicitor or Financial Advisor and /or governed by the Financial Conduct Authority the rules state that you must observe and comply with Strict Data Collection, Data Protection, Data Storage and Data Retention Policies.

 

“Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data”

 

“Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes”

 

These statements mean that you are responsible for the storage of data and must ensure that data is held securely and use that data in a proper manner that complies with English Law.

 

I doubt very much with any Cloud service you could specifically guarantee where you data is being held at all times an also guarantee that copies of data a 100% definitely stored within the U.K

 

 

So is Office 365 Cheaper

There is a general misconception that Cloud Services are free or low cost.

 

People seem to be attracted by the pricing model of 1 User per Month Cost.

 

Let’s look at the Office 365 pricing:-

 

15 Users

For this example let’s assume you are a small business of 15 users

Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium is £9.70 per user per month

15 Users @ £9.70 per Month = £145.50 per month

£145.50 per month x 12 Months = £1,746 per year

 

Let’s assume you plan to keep you I.T investment for 5 years and the number of users doesn’t increase.

£1,746 x 5 Years = £8,730

 

25 Users

For this example let’s assume you are a small business of 25 users

Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium is £9.70 per user per month

25 Users @ £9.70 per Month = £242.50 per month

£242.50 per month x 12 Months = £2,910 per year

 

Let’s assume you plan to keep you I.T investment for 5 years and the number of users doesn’t increase.

£2,910 x 5 Years = £14,550

 

Ok see we can see that Office 365 is not a ‘cheap’ solution. So who benefits from an Office 365 Solution?

Well as we have said, a hosted or Cloud based I.T System may suit certain types of businesses but in our opinion it’s not a solution that suits all businesses. Its main attractions seems to be the low monthly per user cost but as we can see in our costings that will soon mount up could easily turn into an expensive solution.

 

So What About the Future

As with most things, especially technology, things tend to move in cycles for example in the early days of computing there was the Centralised Computing Model and then the move to the Distributed Computing Model that we know today, and now what seems the cusp of a move back to the Centralised Computing Model.

 

The hard facts are there are many small and medium sized businesses in the U.K and the majority need some sort of business server or storage and probably won’t be, be able to, store or run their businesses completely from the ‘Cloud’

 

The reality is that broadband speed and capacity in the U.K are not the same speed, capacity or specifications of a Local Area Network and until this milestone is passed in broadband technology then Cloud Storage will always be in our opinion not as good or reliable as more traditional types of file server technology.

 

Cloud Storage and Services is still in its infancy in technological terms and so is the levels and layers of security needed to properly secure a Cloud Based I.T System or business.

 

At this present time, Microsoft still offers a wide variety of server products but as with any market place there seems to have made a ‘gap in the market’ to replace the Microsoft Small Business Server product. We suspect that if Microsoft doesn’t ‘plug’ this gap then we could see a new emerging product from another existing company or start-up.

 

What Alternatives are there to Small Business Server 2011 or Office 365

For many businesses that don’t want to be pushed into the Office 365 Cloud there is a wide range of solutions that will meet their business needs.

 

The main attraction for Microsoft Small Business Server was its competitive cost and ‘everything you need bundle’ for small businesses or I.T Networks on one DVD.

 

The Microsoft Servers, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft SQL Server Products are still being marketed, developed and sold by Microsoft although not as a bundled Small Business Server DVD Product, therefore not necessarily as competitive on price as the SBS product.

 

If you are looking to replace or upgrade your I.T Systems for your business and want an informed and experienced I.T company that specialises in the requirements of small and medium sized business give us a call.

 

We can offer you a confidential, no obligation discussion on your I.T requirements.

We are an I.T Specialist and cover business in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex. Specifically in Southampton, Winchester, Salisbury, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Poole, Blandford, Basingstoke

 

Resources:-

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?alpha=Windows

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?alpha=Exchange+Server

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/compare-office-365-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en-gb/products/servers/Pages/sbs_overview.aspx#fbid=QUjK4-U9rjY

http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/data_protection/the_guide/the_principles