Start With the Basics
When talking about small business environments, having a dedicated IT department is sometimes too great of a luxury. This is especially true in the dynamic business climate of today, where startups are often the product of just a few people with limited resources, but great ideas. This is where Windows Small Business server 2011 Essentials comes in, offering an excellent solution for the type of small business that can’t spare the expense of employing IT experts.
The “skeleton” behind SBS 2011 is the highly-acclaimed Windows Server 2008 R2. The distinctive characteristics of the Essentials edition, however, don’t end with the custom-built functionality for small businesses, as you will find out yourself. Keep reading to get familiar with the unique properties and advantages of SBS 2011 Essentials!
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The Essential Features
The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essential platform has two main objectives. The first one is to provide small businesses with an infrastructure that contains the fundamentals in a server, but with features and enhancements that will bring unmatched value to your organization. With support for up to 25 users and lack of any client access license (CAL) requirements, SBS 2011 Essentials also works towards making the end-user experience as easy and intuitive as possible, without any palpable sacrifices in capacity or performance. In fact, this is its second objective and what makes it a unique server OS: it makes sure accessibility is on such a level that even users who aren’t IT gurus can create and manage their server in a productive and competitive manner. Here are the features and improvements that allow SBS 2011 Essentials to reach these ambitious goals:
Simplicity redefined with the Dashboard. The main driver behind the Essentials edition’s ease of use is the feature that replaces the ubiquitous Server Manager you’ll find under one form or another in most other server operating systems. Called the Dashboard, it is designed without any prior experience requirements - you can get to the good stuff right away thanks to a wizard-based centralized console that is as user-friendly as it gets. You can configure and perform all the main server-related tasks, as well as manage sharing options, server roles and user setups, among many others. If you need some guidance, the Dashboard has that covered, too: a “Getting Started” appears after a click on the new console, which goes through everything you need to know about your options in a simplified manner anyone can grasp.
Hassle-free centralized backups. One of the paramount configurations in running a server is setting up backups. SBS 2011 Essentials makes your life easier in that regard as well, thanks to the removal of any advanced features won’t need for your small business. You won’t have to worry about figuring out enterprise-level storage solutions and the whole process becomes pretty straightforward. What’s more, backups in the Essentials edition can be stored in a central location thanks to the new Server Folders. Three of those are created upon installation, and every user gets his own folder.
Efficient installation with minimal input. Speaking of installation, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials takes care of everything related to that pretty much on its own. What you gain is reduced installation times and easy setup. Particularly useful if you aren’t well-versed in advanced configuration settings, this improvement is a boon for those of you who may not be seasoned IT professionals.
Reach your server anywhere. The strongest feature of SBS 2011, and by extension the Essentials edition, is the new Remote Web Access. It basically allows your server resources - such as files, folders and shared printers - to be readily available to users no matter their location. It’s as simple as setting up a router, which in true Essentials fashion is done for you almost automatically. Then you set an external domain name, which can be an already-owned one, or a new domain name that SBS 2011 will help you find - what’s more, you can use a free personalized Microsoft domain if you wish to. Last but not least, you can customize virtually any aspect of your remote web access site - company backgrounds, logos, any image you want to use - the list goes on.
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