Small Business Server Solutions

Designed and priced for small businesses, Windows Small Business Server 2011 is an affordable server solution to help your business run more efficiently. It provides core functionality for:

  • Networking
  • Server and PC Backup
  • Security
  • Advanced e-mail and calendar capabilities
  • Database and line-of-business support
  • Document and printer sharing
  • Remote Access

Windows Small Business Server offers you a server solution with reduced complexity and increased manageability over traditional enterprise servers, helping you to focus on running a more efficient business.

Looking for a Small Business Server Solution for your business? Why not contact us.

Small Business Server Solution

Benefits

Simplify Small Business IT Simplified Purchase and Setup. Identify, purchase, install, and manage multiple components and technologies together in an interoperable single-server experience. Simplified Management. Reduce administration costs by using an intuitive management interface, one that presents relevant system information and a matching set of tasks.

Increase Business Productivity Remote Web Access. Remote Web Access provides a single, simple, consolidated, and highly secure entry point into a small business network. Access files and documents from inside and outside the business through any common web browser. Desktop Synergies with Windows 7 and Office 2010. By combining Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 with Windows Small Business Server 2011, you will have the IT foundation you need to be more efficient and effective, to easily collaborate with your peers, to work remotely, and to feel confident that all your critical business data is protected. Mobile Device Support. Integrated setup features configure collaboration services so that you can easily add Windows Phone or other Internet-enabled phones. Run Business Applications. Supports critical line-of-business applications and runs them on a secure award winning platform. Tailored to Online Services(1). Provides a cross-premise solution, allowing small businesses to retain core infrastructure and enables simple, single sign-on experiences with cloud-based services.

Help Protect Business Data Simplified Backup for Business Data. Businesses can easily backup server and client data to external and/or internal hard drives. Network-wide Protection. Complete, network-wide security with integrated state of the art protection technologies. Client Protection. Monitors client computers for antivirus status, update compliance, and overall security health. Full Client Backup. Performs a daily, automatic, backup of every computer on a network and the server itself.

Greater Business Insight Information Organization. Streamline document access and control information sharing using a centralized data repository that can be accessed from any computer on the network. Enhanced Support and experience for Line-of-Business With Premium Add On Applications. Run a vast number of line-of-business applications on a second server, and enjoy a powerful data management and analysis

Contact us to start enhancing your IT experiance

Virtualising the desktop – save space, save money, save the environment

Virtualisation’ and ‘cloud computing’ have become IT buzzwords of late, and are often used interchangeably. This is a misconception – cloud computing is in fact only one form of virtualisation, one that uses the Internet as a platform for dissemination of resources and applications, among others. Other forms of virtualisation, some of which could be of enormous benefit, bear investigation.

Virtualisation is, very basically, the sharing of resources and software on a single machine with multiple terminals. Cloud computing creates a virtual environment where the Internet becomes a platform for the sharing of resources, software, Web services and so on. It is therefore simply one of the various ways of harnessing virtualisation.

There are in fact several different levels or flavours of virtualisation besides cloud computing, including platform, application, resource and database virtualisation. Desktop virtualisation, however, has perhaps the most far reaching implications and benefits.

Desktop virtualisation is about remote manipulation of a computer desktop. It is usually an in-house solution consisting of dumb terminals connected via a wired or wireless network to a server room. Here, a single server will run multiple dumb terminals. On a smaller scale, one desktop computer may run more than one terminal, enabling far more efficient use of resources for low end users.

 Desktop virtualisation has applications in a variety of sectors and industries. For factories, using dumb terminals on the factory floor means that expensive equipment (e.g., hard drive) is not exposed to dust and sparks from machinery. In large corporations or organisations with many users, such as banks, virtualising desktops means that many people can rely on a single machine for access to desktop applications. This saves space as well as lowers the energy requirements needed to run multiple machines.

Universities and Internet cafes can also realise many benefits from running a virtualised desktop environment. Computer rooms at tertiary institutions and public Internet spots experience a large amount of traffic with the potential for security breaches. In a virtualised environment, many terminals can be run off a few servers, which can be placed in a secured room. This will lower the threat of theft as components such as hard drives, CD-ROMS and CPUs, which are very easy to conceal, will not get stolen. And, of course, the dumb terminals are useless without the correct back end. Minimal installation is required for such a set up, thus also reducing maintenance costs. .

Using a virtualised desktop environment has many benefits, but because of the expense in setting up such an infrastructure, it is better suited to large corporates – it becomes more cost effective as numbers increase. It provides a solid foundation that scales easily and quickly to accommodate more users. This means that new users can be added with minimum fuss.

Other benefits include lower maintenance costs because there are fewer boxes to maintain. And fewer upgrades are needed as only the server machines – not all the terminals — need to be upgraded. This can save massive amounts of bandwidth, and therefore cost, in large organisations with many users.

A virtual environment saves space, as terminals take up less room than fully functional boxes do. It also reduces power consumption dramatically. Because the power requirements are lower using dumb terminals, virtualisation is a greener way of computing. Having fewer towers also reduces cooling requirements, so further reduces power consumption since air conditioners do not have to work as hard or as long. In addition, noise pollution is reduced, since fewer machines with fewer fans generate less noise.

Virtualisation can also assist mobility, as users can connect remotely to the office computer from another location. Even if the entire desktop is not virtualised, certain applications, such as Outlook, can be, allowing users to easily access mail from anywhere.

With all of these benefits, it is however necessary to bear in mind that desktop virtualisation may not be suitable for every application or organisation. Virtualised desktops are slightly slower in terms of response times, and do not provide the full experience of a real desktop. For this reason a virtualised environment is not viable for organisations with users that need to access resource intensive applications.

Not all applications are compatible with virtualisation either, so organisations need to take care when virtualising environments. However, as the popularity of this model grows, more and more applications are becoming compatible with the virtualisation model.

Virtualisation is without doubt a fast emerging market in South Africa. Previously such technology was very expensive, requiring a very specialised setup and skills to implement. These all presented enormous barriers to entry and made virtualisation of anything other than high-end applications very difficult.

However, looking into the future, simpler solutions are emerging that are far easier to implement, which makes the virtualisation model more attractive to the mass market. Virtualisation could have a lot of application locally, and the market can expect to see a surge in the uptake of this model in the near future.

By Dawie Bloomberg, Managing Director, Green Apple IT

IT Risk & Security : The Five Phase Approach

 The proposed approach uses five phases to examine organisational and technology security issues, thus assembling a comprehensive holistic picture of information security needs. The five phases for the Method are depicted below:

Final installment for IT Risk & Security

IT Risk & Security : Working Assumptions

In addition to the above mentioned objectives, some considerations/assumptions have been made for the development of the risk & security assessment approach it presents:

  •  In many cases the SME may be unfamiliar with computer security and in consequence may benefit from access to awareness, training and guidance material.
  • The establishment of a security guidance framework through SME trade bodies and associations will help promote understanding of security issues by those with little background in information security.
  • Policies and frameworks for information security planning and disaster recovery are usually non-existent. Moreover, a basic understanding of information security risk in SMEs does not extend much beyond viruses and anti-virus software.
  • Most SME business managers barely understand highly technical and complex scientific terminology related to information security.
  • Inadvertent threats pose some of the highest information security risk to SMEs and yet personnel training and awareness programmes are often neglected. Even if the staff of SMEs has special knowledge of information systems, they might not possess special know-how on IT security matters. An aggravating factor is that companies generally cannot afford to invest enough resources in risk & security management.

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : The Five Phase Approach

IT Risk & Security : Approach & Methodology

The proposed approach is self-directed, meaning that people from an organisation assume responsibility for assessing the risks, selecting controls and thus setting the organisation’s security strategy. This technique leverages people’s knowledge of their organisation’s security-related practices and processes to:

  •  capture the current state of security practice within the organisation,
  •  identify risks to the most critical assets,
  •  prioritize areas of improvement and set the security strategy for the organisation.

The objectives behind the introduction of this risk assessment and risk management approach are to:

  • Improve existing Information Security Thresholds. The approach can be used as a catalyst to accelerate SME efforts towards information security risk management by addressing high risks. Furthermore, by targeting typical threat scenarios it will ultimately improve existing information security thresholds.
  • Fulfil business requirements, context, and constraints typically found in SMEs environments by avoiding specialized terminology and eliminating highly demanding tasks incorporated in almost every existing, wide-spread professional methodology and industry standard (i.e. asset evaluation, business impact analysis, identification of security requirements etc.).
  • Use a self-directed approach tailored to the means, resources and expertise typically found in an SME environment.
  • Focus on critical assets and highest risks. The method was developed as a simple and easy guide for identifying and protecting assets judged to be most critical to the organisation.
  • Develop a measure-independent risk assessment and management method. For the purpose of producing a first practical and realistic output

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Working Assumptions

IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (Partial Outsourcing)

Do you deem it necessary to retain an increased focus on core competencies and strategic business processes but also improve internal information security awareness and competency in information security matters?

Is it likely you can make available one to two people in your organisation who have a broad and deep understanding of the organisation and also possess most of the following skills?
• ability to understand the business processes and the underlying infrastructure of the organisation
• problem-solving ability
• analytical ability
• ability to work in a team
• leadership skills
• ability to spend a few days working on this method
• they are going to be on a longer term employment

Do you have a complex and a relatively large IT infrastructure but a relatively simple business model?

Do your business and service offerings include financial transactions?

Do you operate a business that is highly subject to strict Domestic Legal and Regulatory constraints and/or mandates?

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Approach & Methodology

IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (Full Outsourcing)

Do you deem it necessary to retain an increased focus on core competencies and strategic business processes?

Would you find it hard to make available two to five people who have a broad and deep understanding of the organisation and also possess most of the following skills?
• ability to understand the business processes and the underlying infrastructure of the organisation
• problem-solving ability
• analytical ability
• ability to work in a team
• leadership skills
• ability to spend a few days working on this method

Do you have a highly complex and a relatively large IT infrastructure?

Does your business and service offerings include financial transactions?

Do you operate a business which is highly subject to strict Domestic Legal and Regulatory constraints and/or mandates?

Do you have a relatively simple information technology infrastructure which is well-understood by at least one individual in your organisation?

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (Partial Outsourcing)

IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (In-sourcing)

Is your organisation small?

Does it have a flat or simple hierarchical structure?

Do you have internal know-how in IT Systems and Networks?

Does your organisation have qualified and available human resources?

Do your business activities have a low dependency on IT systems and are they uninvolved in storing or processing customer data of a sensitive nature and has your organisation been involved in similar activities, i.e. quality improvement processes?

Can you find a group of three to five people who have a broad and deep understanding of the organisation and also possess most of the following skills?
• problem-solving ability
• analytical ability
• ability to work in a team
• leadership skills
• ability to understand the firm’s business processes and the underlying infrastructure of the organisation
• ability to spend a few days working on this method

Do you have a relatively simple information technology infrastructure that is well-understood by at least one individual in your organisation?

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (Full Outsourcing)

IT Risk & Security : Implementation Parameters

Decision makers can initiate risk assessment on their environment and trigger the introduction of suitable measures to face unacceptable risks. This is the precondition for the management of information security. In performing this, a variety of approaches may be followed concerning the staffing of such an effort (also known as a “make-or-buy” decision). We differentiate between three approaches:

In-sourcing of risk & security services: the risk & security assessment and the identification of necessary measures are performed by internal staff. The assessment is based on a risk & security assessment approach that has been selected by the organisation (e.g. a good practice, a known standard, etc.). This will help the organisation to master the assessment approach for recurring executions.

Full outsourcing of risk & security services: according to this approach, the entire risk & security assessment is performed by an external contractor. The assessment is based on a risk & security assessment approach that is chosen by the external contractor. The contractor can also undertake recurring future assessments. No know-how transfer to internal personnel is foreseen for the entire life cycle of the risk & security assessment/management of the SME.

Partial outsourcing of risk & security services: this approach assumes that the initial risk & security assessment is performed by an external company. The assessment will be based on a risk & security assessment approach that is known to the SME. Hence, further risk & security assessments can be performed by internal personnel. The initial assessment performed by the outsourcer serves as know-how transfer to the SME’s internal personnel.

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Decision-Making Questionnaire (In-sourcing)

IT Risk & Security : What you need to know

Information security is about identifying, mitigating and managing risks that are relevant for the information assts. Risk assessment is the first necessary step to understanding risks by carrying out a comprehensive risk identification and evaluation of an organisation’s information security risks.

The output of such an activity is essential for managing business as the risks involved can influence significantly the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets and may be critical for maintaining a competitive edge, financial stability, legal compliance, and a strong commercial image.

As such, risk assessment can help decision makers to:

  • Assess organisational practices and installed technology base;
  • Enforce information protection based on potential impact on the organisation;
  • Focus security activities on what is important. Measures that are associated with acceptable risks can be abandoned;
  • Ensure that implemented measures and expenditure are fully commensurate with the risks to which the organisation is exposed. In this way a balance between the costs of addressing a risk and the benefits derived from avoiding the negative impact can be maintained.

During a risk assessment, an organisation performs activities to:
a) identify information security risks,
b) evaluate the risks to determine priorities and (c) define how to mitigate the risks

Information security risk assessment, though, is only the first step towards information security risk management, which is the ongoing process of identifying risks and implementing plans to address them.

Clearly, risk assessment itself provides a direction for an organisation’s information security activities; it does not necessarily lead to meaningful improvement unless an implementation of measures has taken place. As in any other management discipline, implementing one part of the management life-cycle alone does not bring the desired effects.

No evaluation, no matter how detailed or how expert, will improve the security posture unless the organisation follows through with implementation. Besides risk assessment, effective risk management includes the following steps:

  • Plan how to implement the protection strategy and risk mitigation plans from the evaluation by developing detailed action plans. This activity can include a detailed cost-benefit analysis of various strategies and actions.
  • Implement the selected detailed action plans.
  • Monitor the plans for progress and effectiveness. This activity includes monitoring any changes in risk levels.
  • Control variations in plan execution by taking appropriate corrective actions.

Our next installment – IT Risk & Security : Implementation Parametres…