Closing the Office for Good: Part 1
Moving that Office Server to Your Home Office?
In the post pandemic world, some small business owners have decided that they do not need to rent an office and have moved their office to their home. Moving that office includes considering the options of moving the server to a secure location at the home office or moving it to the cloud. Regardless of which option is chosen, we still need to be able to do business as usual with clients and co-workers without interruption.
So, what happens to the server and that data? In some cases, it is time to move to the cloud. In other cases, one needs to keep the server.
Why would one choose to keep the server running at the home office?
Usually performance would encourage one to choose the option to keep the server running at the home office location. Design work, video editing and other types of architecture, engineering, art, audio or graphics require a high end computer connecting at high speed to the file store. Services such as Dropbox have their limits and can become very complicated leading to lost work.
Many businesses also have a database that organizes things. That could be estimating software, scheduling, job tracking, accounting and / or some mix of all of those connected together. Trying to connect them together in the cloud can be costly and best put off until the software suppliers provide better products. The cloud has its limits, and different pieces of software working together is one of them.
Imagine that you are a small architecture firm with 5 designers and two support staff. You have been working from home by using something like Go To My PC each to their own desktop. The designers have high quality workstations configured for high end use of Adobe products. The support staff uses QuickBooks multi user edition hosted on the server. There is also a job tracking program that helps scheduling and work assignments. The owner has a high end desktop that does all three of these things at once.
So, the owner decides that there is not a lot to be gained by having a mostly empty office with 8 computers being run from home along with a server, firewall protected internet connection and backup system.
A New Home Location for the Server
In order to close the office, the server needs a new home. For a small business, that can mean the owner’s home where they probably already have an office anyway.
High-Speed Internet Connection for All that Use the Server
That home will need a high-end internet connection. That could be something like Xfinity fiber bundled with cable and a phone. Some of the speeds offered might be faster than what your office is currently paying for.
Increase Power Availability and Usage
Power is also a big need. Start adding up the device wattage and make sure you have a circuit that can handle it. Sometimes a good electrician can isolate the plugs in your home office and provide a separate circuit breaker. An uninterrupted power supply is extremely important to protect your devices. If you were putting that off in the office, protect yourself from power outages at home.
Adding a Second Server
For the company I am describing in this example, I would suggest a second server.
That server would provide remote access to the 7 employees. They will use the Remote Desktop Protocol to connect and have a screen wherever they are work that is the equivalent to being in same network as the server.
The end result would be 3 computers, I behind your firewall, including the owner’s workstation, and probably a printer in the office. The servers could sit under a table and not need to use their keyboards and monitors very often. (there is a way to make them share the keyboard, mouse and monitor of the workstation too) I like to add a network attached storage for the backup and put that device in a different room. It is smaller than a toaster.
Staff would continue to work remotely, thus closing the office forever, and using that remote desktop server and data would continue to be backed up with the dual local and cloud method that is recommended today.
Additional Options for Configurations and Hosting
There are other ways this can be configured and hosted. A common option is to put these computers into “colocation” facility where power, internet connection and a well air-conditioned building is provided. In that case everyone uses the remote desktop.
What a service company would do for you is move your equipment and reconfigure it to the new location. In the case of a remote desktop server, a company like ours would make sure it had the capacity for the software you run, install and configure the operating systems and apps you need for your work.
This kind of setup can be combined nicely with a move to Office 365 for email, software and even part of your clerical data.
Stay tuned for next week's article to ask yourself if it is
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We are experts in telecommuting and remote access using readily available and inexpensive software appropriate for the small office.
Given the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns many offices are thinking to have some or many of their staff working from the outside.
There are also many other good reasons for small business staff to be able to telecommute.