What’s next for small businesses now that the Microsoft server software that bore their name has gone end-of-life?

When Microsoft announced the retirement of Small Business Server 2011, they were accused by some of removing choice and imposing their vision for cloud-based email solutions on millions of loyal customers. So what does the future hold for former SBS clients?

Since 1997, Microsoft had always offered a bundled email server product with every release of its small business solution and SMEs had grown used to this idea. But since the withdrawal last year of SBS 2011, which included Exchange 2010 as a core component, the landscape now looks quite different. Instead, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which is the successor to the Small Business Server product line, contains no built-in email system at all.

[themecolor]Good reasons to consider the cloud[/themecolor]

So what should a small business do for emails in 2014? Well, one cost-effective solution, being actively encouraged by Microsoft, is to leave your file store onsite whilst moving email delivery into the cloud. Windows Server 2012 Essentials integrates perfectly with Microsoft’s own Office 365 if this is the route you wish to take.

Indeed, there are some good reasons a small business may consider moving its old on-premise email server solution to a public cloud offering. Organisations of any size who rely on a single broadband line and power to their office in order for their email system to function know they cannot compete with the resources of an online data centre.

What’s more, planning for disaster recovery, archiving and backing up can be very expensive with on-premise messaging solutions, so a cloud solution can reduce admin costs, ensure higher service availability and shift responsibility for uptime to your cloud provider.

[themecolor]Some companies will want to retain ‘control’[/themecolor]

But not everyone is comfortable working in the cloud. Privacy concerns or other legal requirements mean that some SMEs may wish to pay more for an on-premise solution.

For example, Exchange 2013 comes with sophisticated content filtering which can enhance the protection of your company’s confidential data. So a small business with strict compliance requirements may opt for Exchange with Windows Server 2012 Essentials rather than Office 365 mailboxes. Yes, it can do that too.

So who said Microsoft had removed all choices? Although please note 25 users is the maximum number currently supported by Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

If you wish to discuss your own server or email upgrade options please do not hesitate to contact us on 01293 871971.