Historically, for a business with less than 150 users, a Microsoft small business server was the ideal solution for email and other functions.

As part of the package, businesses got Exchange for little or no additional cost.

Needless to say, there are quite a few small business servers still out there.

However, small business servers are no longer available and are approaching their end of life:

  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 – mainstream support ended in January 2015. Extended support will end in January 2020.
  • Windows Small Business Server 2007 – extended support ended nearly a decade ago – in 2009

Businesses running Small Business Server 2011 (the latest version) are beginning to find compatibility issues with the latest version of MS Office (2016) – specifically Outlook.

What to do now?

In most cases the decision comes down to using either Microsoft Office 365 or Exchange 2016 (sometimes referred to as Hosted Exchange).

The main difference between the two is that Exchange 2016 is a self-hosted system and Office 365 is cloud based.

Exchange 2016 runs on Windows networks, but resides on your own hardware. It requires an investment in hardware, infrastructure and licensing. The typical solution is a specialized server with Exchange 2016 installed.

This can be an expensive option for a small business. In addition to purchasing the server with Windows and Exchange 2016 installed, a per user licensing fee is also required. In response, many businesses have migrated their email to 365 exchange.

Office 365

A simple, monthly subscription is all that is required for Office 365. By hosting with Microsoft:

• There is no hardware to buy or maintain
• There are no additional user licensing fees
• Security is enhanced and handled by Microsoft

In addition, businesses that migrate to Office 365 often see a drop in the amount of SPAM they receive. This is likely due to the fact that, as a result of the high volume of email they process, Microsoft can learn and quickly respond to the latest SPAMMER tricks.

As we’ve said before, one of the many decisions a small business must make is how to handle email. Converting from a small business server or even an external, non-Microsoft service to Office 365 can be easily handled by the experts at Future Link. To find out how, give us a call.