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File Sharing Using Windows 2012 Server

Would like to use our Win 2012 server for file sharing with our sales, accounting and field service employees
do not want to use any client software if not needed, want the ease of use to be as simple as possible
security is always looked upon as welcome, but the use of our own solution(s) was mandated by the board
all help is greatly appreciated
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David Elebute
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David Elebute
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3 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
What's the question?  How?  I don't understand... can you elaborate?  What do you mean your "own solution(s)" mandated by the "board" of what?  Being vague won't get you good answers unless someone correctly guesses what you're talking about and have.
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David ElebuteSystems ConsultantAuthor Commented:
I mean they do not want to use third party servers like dropbox etc.
want us to use our own internal windows 2012 servers
sorry did not mean to so vague
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Ok... and how are your users accessing the information?  Via their cell phones?  iPads?  Android Tablets?  Laptops?  Desktops?  Windows PCs?  Macs?  Linux Systems?  All?  Some?  What's used most?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Are they all working in one office or are the "field service employees" (and others?) working remotely?  Do you have a campus where these people are working or "field service" refers to an office of people?  Or do they go to other people's offices in other buildings/geographic locations?
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David ElebuteSystems ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Field Service can be anywhere including their own personal WiFi hotspots
other working remotely from different locations not controlled by us (other people's offices)
we use Cisco ASA firewalls at our location where the servers are
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
(repeating) Ok... and how are your users accessing the information?  Via their cell phones?  iPads?  Android Tablets?  Laptops?  Desktops?  Windows PCs?  Macs?  Linux Systems?  All?  Some?  What's used most?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I try to look at the big picture and give you good advice based on good information... if you don't want to share and elaborate basic aspects of your business I can't help you and others will, at best, provide limited information.
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David ElebuteSystems ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Lee  the users will be using mostly their laptops a few have iPads but we were looking at these devices at the moment, but now that you brought it up we would eventually look to open to smartphones, tablets etc but right now it is windows 10, windows 7 desktops and laptops
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
File sharing to smartphones, tablets, ipads, and the like will generally require a third party service - Dropbox, onedrive, SugarSync, etc.  OR you could setup an RDS system and allow folks to remote into that.  That keeps data OFF the devices (better security) and allows generally anywhere access.  That said, some of those devices can be tricky to manipulate a full windows session with (especially smartphones).

The full computers have options.  RDS again for security or you could use VPNs to connect into the network and access file shares.  How effective VPNs can be depends on the kinds of data you're accessing.  SQL database apps often perform poorly and opening large files can also be quite problematic.  Simple Word or Excel files generally work well.  RDS removes many of these hassles since they are remoting into a server for access.  But beware, RDS servers, while they can reduce the cost of hardware needed DO NOT decrease the software licensing costs much if at all.  Your clients need RDS CALs *AND* for each user (human being) you want to have access to Office documents (Word, Excel, etc), you NEED a full copy of Microsoft Office either through Office 365 *OR* a volume license.

File shares themselves are easy.  But implementing security should be done right - create groups for your users and assign the users to the groups.  Then assign the Groups access to the file shares - NEVER assign users directly to file shares EXCEPT for personal, single user only resources, like their home drives.  It's much quicker and easier to add a new user to a group than to add them to the NTFS file access control lists.  And make sure the shares, when you create them, have share level permissions that allow your users WRITE access as well (default is Read Only).

Lastly, make SURE you enable Volume Shadow Copy - VSS - this is an incredibly useful feature that often gets overlooked.
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David ElebuteSystems ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank you Lee!
very good points; RDS sounds like a good, we have done this for several users
how about sharing files? most of the files will be originating from their desktops or laptops directly i.e. word, excel some accounting QB files nothing at 1GB in size but could be 300-500MB each
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The idea is to keep ALL files off the workstations.  I use Folder Redirection for all office based PCs and then enable offline files ONLY on the laptops for those folders.  Backing up workstations is a pain - by redirecting Desktop and Documents to a server share, in RDS the files are always available and easily backed up.  Again, for security, even the laptop users can be forced to use RDS to access files.

The exception wouldbe Quickbooks, but I'd set that up on a desktop and if necessary, have users connect to that through Remote Desktop.

(Some of this depends on your security sensitivity)
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David ElebuteSystems ConsultantAuthor Commented:
I see so setting up all our files that they need or will share should all be done from the RDS session and not on their physical systems; got it
sounds great, thank you
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