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Need please on new server and vpn setup for small (12 person) business

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Currently we have 12 users with Win XP connected to one Dell Poweredge server running windows server 2000.  We use a hosted exchange solution, so no in-house exchange server. We need to solve two problems, and I'm looking for suggestions.  

1) We need remote access to our files - I've considered VPN appliances and/or a GoToMyPC solution, but haven't determined which is better/safer for our purposes.  My concern here is that I have little control over the security of the machines people use from home.  
2) Our server is 6 years old, and the boss feels like he'd rather upgrade now than have it die.  I think it probably has more life in it (we replaced all the hd's in the raid two years ago), but hey, why argue?  Newer version of MS Server has built-in VPN capability (right? how safe?), and will let us bring Exchange in house (do I want that???).

We'll certainly get help with purchase and setup from a consultant, but I like to understand what my options are before I take the advice of the guy selling the stuff.  I'm open to ideas ranging from using GoToMyPC and leaving the server alone, to buying a new server, server OS, new VPN appliance, etc.  If I should add a server but still repurpose the one we have, say so.  Any food for thought welcome.  
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Question by:emjoyce
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Andres Perales earned 400 total points
ID: 22735159
Food for thought:
New server with Windows Small Business Server (this has exchange built in)
http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/default.aspx
There are two editions
http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/editions-overview.aspx
This will consolidate your services on either one machine or two, after you migration you can redeploy your old machine as the second server in the premium version of SBS.
If all you have is files on a file server you can implement SharePoint which is web based, then you can allow access from the web with SSL to those files for you users to get access, without having to worry about any vpn services.
If you want to bring Exchange in house this will allow you to have an exchange server inhouse and in your control so you don't have to pay to have you email hosted any more...
there are alot more nifty features of small business server, check out the website and read up on it, but it would be a good way for you to go!
 
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by:emjoyce
ID: 22735264
Thanks.  Right now I can manage most of the IT questions/problems in a few hours a week.  Will bringing Exchange in-house mean I have to spend a lot more time on security and troubleshooting?
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by:Andres Perales
Andres Perales earned 400 total points
ID: 22735434
Not if you plan you implemenation out correctly but, you will have come up with a backup solution too in case something happens.
A one man shop that is familar with the enviroment and can do a bit of everything should be able to handle it!
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by:davidlanethe2nd
davidlanethe2nd earned 100 total points
ID: 22741984
I agree with peralesa get a sbs expert to setup and support the server and stick to the 1st line stuff - you should budget about 5000 pounds/dollars in total and remember to setup some kind of hardware firewall - microsoft pptp vpn will work fine and you get outlook web access etc etc I run dozens of setups like this and have little problem IF its got quality kit and setup correctly  goodluck
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by:emjoyce
ID: 31506905
Thanks for your help!
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