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best setup for remote users to balance costs, control and offline access. RRS feed

  • Question

  • looking at different options for a small business I'm involved with. Currently there is only 1 member of staff, but this is expanding to potentially 4-5 over the next 12 months. The employees will be based at home, and are spread throughout the UK and are responsible for different regions.

    we went to provide a laptop for these users to use. They will mainly be used at home, but there is a requirement for them to be used while at meetings on Client sites. Nothing special about the software, but we went to keep costs low.

    We would like to retain control of the laptops, so we can install updates, add/remove software etc, but also disable login access should an employee leave.

    I have been looking at different ways to do this. I think the options I have come up with are:

    1. Using some kind of traditional server set up, running ADDS and WSUS. Users can login in on the laptops using a domain account. My issue here is if they don't have a connection to the server (e.g. On a client site with no WiFi). Also not sure how they would connect on a day to day basis.

    2. Setting up a remote desktop session so users have all their files and applications stored remotely, and their laptops are used just to access the remote session. Again, offline access is an issue.

    in terms of the software needed, it would be fairly basic, Office 365, Skype for Business, Adobe Acrobat Professional, OneDrive for Business etc. Sharing files and folders with different permissions, within the company, needs to be fairly simple, sharing outside the company is a bonus.

    currently we have an Office 365 subscription, and a windows 7 desktop. No server other then a NAS drive for backups. Home internet is Virgin Media fibre 250meg, with a gbit wired connection. Employees would be provided similar, depending on availability. All can achieve 8meg ADSL as a minimum, and would have wireless connection to the laptops. We do have a VPN setup on our router, which allows both local LAN and internet access.

    what is the best way to achieve this setup? Ideally I would like as much as possible hosted in the cloud(Azure?) and are there any things I need to look out for? I'm aware I will need to license software, and I have a budget to do this. I think Windows Server 3012R2 Essentials provides what I need, but happy to hear alternatives.


    Matt

    Sunday, April 17, 2016 8:46 PM