Features of Windows Small Business Server

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Although a list of components is impressive—especially when considering the package price—it doesn’t really convey the full extent of Windows Small Business Server capabilities. The next sections describe those capabilities and what’s special about their use in Windows Small Business Server 2003.

Internet and E-Mail Made Easy

Everyone needs e-mail today and a business without Internet connectivity is viewed as absolutely antiquated. Unfortunately, under normal circumstances, setting up e-mail and an Internet connection is just about as daunting as it ever was. Windows Small Business Server changes all that with tools to make both processes quite painless. For example, the Configure E-mail and Internet Connection Wizard allows you to easily configure the network, set up a shared Internet broadband or dial-up connection, configure firewall services, and customize Exchange Server for e-mail. Use Exchange Server 2003 with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and add numerous features including the ability to schedule meetings and hold online conferences.

Chapter 6, “Completing the To Do List and Other Post-Installation Tasks,” covers the use of the Configure E-mail and Internet Connection Wizard for the initial set up of e-mail. Details on Exchange Server are provided in Chapter 14, “Using Exchange Server.”

Ready-Made Intranet

Most businesspeople know the value of an intranet as a centralized location for users to collaborate and share documents, providing a friendly and easy-to-use framework for teamwork. However, many of those same people have been forced to retreat when faced with the costs of building and maintaining an internal Web site. This particular problem vanishes when Windows Small Business Server is deployed because the product includes a pre-built internal Web site based on Windows SharePoint Services.

The internal Web site comes with preconfigured document and picture libraries, shared lists, and sample content. The site can easily be set up so that users can share documents, read announcements, respond to surveys, make a request to the Help desk, and view the vacation calendar. If the preconfigured elements don’t meet your needs, you can remove them or add new ones.

More Info 

Chapter 17, “Customizing a SharePoint Web Site,” and Chapter 18, “Managing an Intranet Web Server,” are all about customizing and maintaining an intranet site for your business.

Quickly Add Users and Computers to the Network

The Add User Wizard in Windows Small Business Server allows you to add a single user or multiple users. The wizard sets up everything a user will need: a mailbox in Exchange; access to shared printers, files, and folders; access to the intranet; a home folder on the server; and a user account in Active Directory. Use a predefined template to add multiple users with settings in common, or create your own template with the Add Template Wizard.

More Info 

Adding users with and without a template is covered in Chapter 9, “Users, Groups, and Security.”

Client computers can be added to the network simply by browsing to a Web site that contains all the tools for configuring network settings. Client applications included with Windows Small Business Server are installed with the Set Up Computer Wizard, and other software can be set up to deploy to client computers using the Set Up Client Applications Wizard.

More Info 

The Setup Computer Wizard is described in Chapter 6 and configuring client software is covered in Chapter 12, “Managing Computers on the Network.”

Effortless Remote Access

The number of workers who telecommute—at least part of the time—continues to grow. Whether an organization has a few or many remote users, the mechanisms for access have to be reliable, secure, and easy to use. Unfortunately, this is honored more in the breach than in the observance. In many places, problems with remote access make up the largest single category of calls to the Help desk.

To improve this situation, Windows Small Business Server provides the Remote Web Workplace. Using any device that can connect to the Internet, authorized users can access this dynamically created Web site using a simple Internet address. These users can then read their e-mail, access the company intranet, and connect to their own computers’ desktops. Users can download Connection Manager, which automates the process of connecting their remote computers to the company’s network, making the whole process quite easy.

More Info 

See Chapter 6 for information on configuring remote access. Chapter 15, “Managing Connectivity,” discusses remote access administration.

Services for Mobile Devices

Client computers are added to the network using the Setup Computer Wizard. This wizard also configures client computers to support mobile devices. Users of Windows Small Business Server just connect a mobile device to the client computer to access their e-mail, schedule, and task information. See Chapter 6 for more information.

Simple Administration and Management

All the most common network management tasks are made simpler than ever before. As a result, you can spend more time on what you do best (your business) and much less time managing your network.

Set up automatic backups with the Backup Configuration Wizard. This tool and Volume Shadow Copy are powerful ways to protect your data’s integrity. You create a backup strategy and Windows Small Business Server takes it from there—on any computer, back up to tape, a network hard drive, or a shared folder. The program will report the success or failure of each backup and even remind the appropriate person when a hard drive is full or it’s time to change the tape.

More Info 

See Chapter 13, “Backing Up and Restoring Data,” for the essentials of backing up and restoring data.

Monitoring and usage tools are easy to set up and reports are easy to read. The Monitoring Configuration Wizard sets up alert notifications, performance reports, and usage updates. You choose when reports are sent and to whom. Authorized recipients can receive notices in e-mail or on a secure Web page on your intranet.

More Info 

Chapter 20, “Monitoring and Fine-Tuning Performance,” covers monitoring and fine-tuning your network.

You can grant to power users rights and privileges ranging from the very specific to the very general. These users can then take over management chores such as backing up the server, adding new users, or monitoring network performance, or they can perform any other task you want to get out of your hair.

More Info 

Chapter 9, “Users, Groups, and Security,” is all about granting and restricting rights.

Fax with Fewer Phone Lines

Windows Small Business Server includes a shared fax service that allows faxing from the users’ desktops. Faxes can be delivered through e-mail, Windows SharePoint Services, or to a printer. No matter how many or how few faxes your business receives, the ability to share phone lines will reduce the total number of lines needed.

More Info 

See Chapter 6 for information about fax services.

Enhanced Security

Of course you want your network to be secure—everyone knows about the menace of hackers, viruses, worms, and other vermin. But how to go about it? Windows Small Business Server includes an internal firewall to protect your network and supports external firewalls as well. The Premium Edition includes Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, which provides improved security and ease of use beyond that of traditional firewalls. ISA Server includes built-in intelligent filtering of HTTP, FTP, Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP), streaming media, and remote procedure calls. Third-party programs can add the ability to scan for malicious viruses, detect intrusions in real time, improve ISA Server caching, and use additional user authentication methods.

Group Policy allows you to restrict unauthorized software installations, require strong passwords, and ensure that users receive access only to resources they need.

More Info 

Chapter 3, “Designing a Network,” includes information about planning for security. Chapter 6 has details about adjusting security policies.

Manage Data Effectively

If you have a lot of business information to manage, such as inventory, e-commerce, and data warehousing, you need a way to organize the data to make it useful. The Premium Edition of Windows Small Business Server comes with Microsoft SQL Server, a database that’s fast, very reliable, and grows with your business.

Manipulate your data in simple ways, for example, by conducting full-text searches. You can search not only plaintext data stored in relational tables but also formatted documents such as Office and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) documents. Do more complex operations such as developing profiles of your most valued customers and what those customers want. Analyze data, construct business models, and get personalized, real-time reports that can be delivered anywhere, anytime, on any device.

SQL Server will fit your business now and, more importantly, can be scaled up to whatever your future needs might be.

More Info 

Chapter 19, “Using SQL Server,” covers this topic.

Create Advanced Web Pages

Microsoft FrontPage has long been the preferred application for easy Web page creation. It has been offered as a standalone application and as part of Microsoft Office, adding ever more sophisticated capabilities with each version. Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 is included in the Premium Edition of Windows Small Business Server.

The delight of FrontPage is that it can be and is used by everyone from true beginners to professional Web developers. Use the pre-made templates and the scripting features in FrontPage 2003 to quickly implement a site with simple interactivity. Create your own templates, each containing multiple content regions, and apply these to pages in your Web site. In fact, you can build, update, and maintain a whole site—even an e-commerce one—without knowing a word of HTML, DHTML (Dynamic HyperText Markup Language), or XML (Extensible Markup Language).

On the other hand, a developer accustomed to writing HTML code will feel equally at home using FrontPage. Complicated, interactive Web sites with precise layouts, imported graphics, scripts, dynamic updating, and other features are cost-effectively constructed using FrontPage. Integration with Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server makes editing and presenting live data possible—it even allows users to post to the Web using just their browsers.

More Info 

Chapter 17 covers using FrontPage 2003.

Online Licensing

Both versions of Windows Small Business Server include five client licenses. If you have more than five client computers, you must purchase additional licenses. You’ll receive a paper license from Microsoft (instead of a floppy disk as in the past), and licenses can be activated over the Internet.

Client access licenses can be device-based (one license for each computer) or user-based (one license for each user). The two types of licenses are priced the same. You can even have a mixture of license types, but it’s best to choose one type and stick with it to make tracking easier. Chapter 6 covers how to add client access licenses.

Growth Is Good

If you intend to expand your business by leaps and bounds, you might be wondering what happens to Windows Small Business Server when you’re no longer a Small Business. In this context, a small business is one with fewer than 50 PCs or fewer than 100 employees.

If it turns out that Windows Small Business Server can’t keep pace with the growth of your business, you’ll be able to convert to Windows Server 2003 without incurring either major expense or business disruption.

Because Windows Server 2003 is the underlying operating system in Windows Small Business Server, all files, records, and configurations are migrated without change. You lose nothing and gain all the abilities of a Windows Server 2003 domain.

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Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Administrator's Companion
Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Administrators Companion (Pro-Administrators Companion)
ISBN: 0735620202
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 224

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