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Hosting a shared folder for a client

Posted on 2017-07-25
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I have several small clients that would like to purchase a file server. I had considered spinning up a couple of vm's at my office and hosting it for them, but Im not sure how I should do it. All they want is a "Company drive", they dont wish to be joined to a domain. Its primarily for files, but it could host a quickbooks db. Any suggestions?
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Question by:zjb100
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by:Robert
ID: 42228959
I think that the cheapest / easiest way to do this would be one of the following:
1. Add a drive to one of their PC's and share it out (does not require to be joined to a domain) however you would need to setup some kind of backup solution. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770880(v=ws.11).aspx 
The tricky part when not on a domain is access control. you will need to either make the share available to all users or setup accounts on the machine where it is shared for the remote users to authenticate.

2. use something like free NAS http://www.freenas.org/
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by:zjb100
ID: 42228962
That would work locally, but they would like me to host the server.
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David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 42229024
What you are looking for is a NAS (network attached storage) i.e. synology/qnap/drobo. They come in all sizes and pricing levels
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by:Robert
ID: 42229032
You may want to consider talking to them about cloud based storage solutions such as Drop box or possibly onedrive.
but as David said a NAS is probably the best solution. We use freeNAS as the price is right for a small shop.
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by:Robert
ID: 42229089
If you do need to host a "server" instead of the options listed above you would need to do the following
Setup your server on your network with a shared folder.
setup local accounts on the server and grant them the needed permissions to the share / folders.
get an external IP
setup a NAT from the external IP to the internal servers IP
configure your firewall to allow connections only from specific clients to that target server
(another option would be to setup a VPN tunnel/connection)

The clients could then access the share via the UNC path

There are obviously security factors to consider in any configuration you may choose if you are hosting a server that is internet facing.
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