SMB resources on the move



  • I was driving home from work last night, thinking about how to better serve the SMB market. More on the side of micro businesses under 20 people. A few questions I was processing and expanding on:

    • Do they really need servers? You could buy a simple NAS, or use a cloud storage provider like OneDrive for Business, Dropbox for Business, etc.

    • Do they need a domain? If so, they could use something like Azure AD.

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    What are your thoughts on some of those displacements? Thinking about this from, say, an MSP perspective. Not in-house IT. I'm thinking of how to better serve those micro businesses so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    I was driving home from work last night, thinking about how to better serve the SMB market. More on the side of micro businesses under 20 people. A few questions I was processing and expanding on:

    • Do they really need servers? You could buy a simple NAS, or use a cloud storage provider like OneDrive for Business, Dropbox for Business, etc.

    • Do they need a domain? If so, they could use something like Azure for AD.

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    What are your thoughts on some of those displacements? Thinking about this from, say, an MSP perspective. Not in-house IT. I'm thinking of how to better serve those micro businesses so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    I would use Zentyal for all of the above, you can purchase a server for really cheap. A 20 person office is right there on the cusp of "needing" AD.

    You get everything baked into one open source package that a business would need, for free (unless you wanted the supported version).

    And a server for Micro-Businesses like this would be super cheap.



    • They might need servers... It just depends on the business. Cloud Storage would depend on how much bandwidth they have at their place of Business... But for your average user dealing with Word Documents and such, I'd agree with you on that front.

    • For > 10 users, I'd suggest yes, a domain would simplify some things. Domains are cheap & easy-ish now days. Azure AD, SAMBA on Linux, or a Windows DC, or other hosted DC options.

    • I would suggest that if they need email, then they should be using O365 or Google Apps for Business, whichever one has better pricing at the time. They both do similar things, and it will largely depend on brand recognition among the SMB's leadership as to which one they should use.

    Thinking about this from an MSP / ITSP perspective, AD should definitely be considered. The days of a business truly needing a local server are coming to a close -- especially for micro-businesses (to use your own term, lol).

    I think the current mindset, especially here on ML is that you should be moving away from On-premise servers for File Servers and using Nextcloud / OneDrive, etc...where it makes sense. I think email has reached a point of "You really shouldn't do this yourself anymore" as well. With services like Google's and O365, there's no real reason to do Email yourself.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    Zoho provides free email with a custom domain for up to 10 users. Anything more then that and Exchange Online is the way to go.



  • @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    Zoho provides free email with a custom domain for up to 10 users. Anything more then that and Exchange Online is the way to go.

    How much storage space do you get with the Zoho email?



  • @dafyre said in SMB resources on the move:

    @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    Zoho provides free email with a custom domain for up to 10 users. Anything more then that and Exchange Online is the way to go.

    How much storage space do you get with the Zoho email?

    5GB/mailbox.



  • @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @dafyre said in SMB resources on the move:

    @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    Zoho provides free email with a custom domain for up to 10 users. Anything more then that and Exchange Online is the way to go.

    How much storage space do you get with the Zoho email?

    5GB/mailbox.

    Which is more than enough for someone who never had email before anyway.



  • @JaredBusch said in SMB resources on the move:

    @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @dafyre said in SMB resources on the move:

    @coliver said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    Zoho provides free email with a custom domain for up to 10 users. Anything more then that and Exchange Online is the way to go.

    How much storage space do you get with the Zoho email?

    5GB/mailbox.

    Which is more than enough for someone who never had email before anyway.

    Yep, it's a really nice system too. I like the new interface but not everyone does.



  • I like everything you've put up there.

    I'll admit that I find it pretty hard to get away from the idea of centralized logon, no matter how small the company it. If the customer is on O365 at any level that includes email, then they get Azure AD as part of it (who knows, they might also get it with the local install of Office version of O365 as well?).

    So assuming everyone has moved to Windows 10 - they have, haven't they? Then Azure AD is a great solution to that. Sadly though, you don't get Group Policy with Azure AD, you need Intune for that.

    As for email - If you're a business and are trying to be a real business, then you need a business email address. There are several options, on the super cheap side you have RackSpace email for $1/user/month through the Spiceworks deal, but even without that, it's $2/user/month.

    Then we toss in shared storage. If you're going to go for cloud storage, and you're doing email - it's pretty hard to not just go O365 and wrap it all up together for a starting price of $5/user/month, that's an extra $3-4 a month for all the benefits of O365.. personally for a business, about the best offer around.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need a domain? If so, they could use something like Azure for AD.

    The old rule of thumb (from MS) was that only shops over 10 users should be normally considered for AD, and only over 12 were likely. That was long ago. Today Azure AD (not Azure for AD) eliminates lots of AD scenarios (like ours, NTG is Azure AD), AD from Linux handles others, but the biggest move is to not have anything for AD. People have discovered that AD really isn't very important for most companies, especially most small ones, today. Just not having AD is often the answer, even at hundreds of users.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they really need servers? You could buy a simple NAS, or use a cloud storage provider like OneDrive for Business, Dropbox for Business, etc.

    Depends on what they do. But generally companies of that size have never used servers. That's never been a common thing. They used to use peer to peer systems or NAS. Peer to peer can be replaced with AetherStore today. NAS is less and less common as people are used to going to hosted storage.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    ... so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    That should not have been a mindset either ever, or for a very, very long time.



  • @Dashrender said in SMB resources on the move:

    I'll admit that I find it pretty hard to get away from the idea of centralized logon, no matter how small the company it. If the customer is on O365 at any level that includes email, then they get Azure AD as part of it (who knows, they might also get it with the local install of Office version of O365 as well?).

    It has nothing to do with Office. It's from having Office 365. Not MS Office from Office 365. So yes, E1 gets it, but just MS Office does not.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    ... so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    That should not have been a mindset either ever, or for a very, very long time.

    There is a staggering amount of admins/providers I've heard that from though. When I ask why, I always got pretty much the same answer of "it's just easier to manage that way". When I talk about the huge cost to the customer I typically got a "well that's just the cost of doing business".



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    ... so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    That should not have been a mindset either ever, or for a very, very long time.

    There is a staggering amount of admins/providers I've heard that from though. When I ask why, I always got pretty much the same answer of "it's just easier to manage that way". When I talk about the huge cost to the customer I typically got a "well that's just the cost of doing business".

    A staggering amount of people also thing RAID 5 is a good idea for spinning rust. Doesn't make them right.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need a domain? If so, they could use something like Azure for AD.

    (not Azure for AD)

    Yeah no idea why I put that. I was corrected it then read your post. 😃



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    ... so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    That should not have been a mindset either ever, or for a very, very long time.

    There is a staggering amount of admins/providers I've heard that from though. When I ask why, I always got pretty much the same answer of "it's just easier to manage that way". When I talk about the huge cost to the customer I typically got a "well that's just the cost of doing business".

    No, you've heard it from intern level SMB wannabes like you see posting on SW all of the time asking questions that were answered minutes before in another thread and are, twice a day, every day. These aren't admins, they are people alone in tiny shops trying to inflate their self importance because they are embarrassed by the combination of unimportant environment and lack of skills to make even that run well. They call themselves admins and give themselves cool titles to compensate. But the vast majority of SMBs with REAL IT staff haven't been looking at this kind of set for a very long time.

    Sure, tons of hobby businesses run poorly and hire unskilled people who pretend to be IT people do this stuff to scam businesses (often those getting paid to deploy these solutions, they represent big ticket ways to make money on small time clients) but it is sales people putting in these solutions, not IT / consulting staff.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    ... so as not to remain in the stagnant mindset of "you will have on-premises servers for file serves, AD, and Exchange."

    That should not have been a mindset either ever, or for a very, very long time.

    There is a staggering amount of admins/providers I've heard that from though. When I ask why, I always got pretty much the same answer of "it's just easier to manage that way". When I talk about the huge cost to the customer I typically got a "well that's just the cost of doing business when you hire salespeople instead of IT staff".

    FTFY



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.

    Right, so was I. That's exactly what I was warning against that you never, ever, ever do.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.

    Right, so was I. That's exactly what I was warning against that you never, ever, ever do.

    Well I'll be honest, I've never even looked into doing things that way. So I don't know any of the shortcomings of doing something that way. That's why I'm asking for community advice on some of these topics. 😃



  • Funny, this conversation is exactly the counter to the 9-5 thread. These solutions that you want to replace are literally, in nearly every case, only existing in situations where someone brings in a VAR masquerading as a consultant, who sells things to make the vendor happy even though they are terrible solutions for the customer and are so obviously so that it's pathetic that the customer doesn't know enough IT to bust them.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.

    Right, so was I. That's exactly what I was warning against that you never, ever, ever do.

    Well I'll be honest, I've never even looked into doing things that way. So I don't know any of the shortcomings of doing something that way. That's why I'm asking for community advice on some of these topics. 😃

    Dangerous bundling. Giving a vendor that does one thing too much power. Same reason that you never bundle DNS, registration services and hosting together - always three separate providers.

    Email isn't nearly as bad as those, but there is no serious business email hoster that does web hosting. There could be, in theory, but there isn't. It's just not a market product that exists.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    Funny, this conversation is exactly the counter to the 9-5 thread. These solutions that you want to replace are literally, in nearly every case, only existing in situations where someone brings in a VAR masquerading as a consultant, who sells things to make the vendor happy even though they are terrible solutions for the customer and are so obviously so that it's pathetic that the customer doesn't know enough IT to bust them.

    Lol obviously I wouldn't want to sell myself as a VAR. I'm just trying to find ways to save SMBs money while still making the environment highly manageable.



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    Funny, this conversation is exactly the counter to the 9-5 thread. These solutions that you want to replace are literally, in nearly every case, only existing in situations where someone brings in a VAR masquerading as a consultant, who sells things to make the vendor happy even though they are terrible solutions for the customer and are so obviously so that it's pathetic that the customer doesn't know enough IT to bust them.

    Lol obviously I wouldn't want to sell myself as a VAR. I'm just trying to find ways to save SMBs money while still making the environment highly manageable.

    I understand, my point was that in the other thread it was mentioned that it was thought that we were exaggerating that people actually pretend to be consultants while really being a VAR, that the VAR side really influences them to fleece customers, etc. Yet this whole thread is you looking for solutions to exactly that problem... all the customers you know are getting fleeced in this way.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.

    Right, so was I. That's exactly what I was warning against that you never, ever, ever do.

    Well I'll be honest, I've never even looked into doing things that way. So I don't know any of the shortcomings of doing something that way. That's why I'm asking for community advice on some of these topics. 😃

    Dangerous bundling. Giving a vendor that does one thing too much power. Same reason that you never bundle DNS, registration services and hosting together - always three separate providers.

    there is no serious business email hoster that does web hosting. There could be, in theory

    Probably why things like that look good on the surface. Are there any specifics that you've experienced or heard about which makes them poor in email handling? Like holding you for ransom when they set quotas, randomly purging aged emails which aren't really that old (31 days), etc...



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    • Do they need central email? If they don't need central email like Exchange, but want their email to appear like a business email, with their domain. Whoever is hosting their domain, usually provides email services at an extra cost.

    I'm confused. Yes they need central email. Of course it should be hosted, that's been the case for over a decade. ANd no, you never, ever get it from your domain host. You never bundle services like that. And no hoster offers enterprise email.

    I was thinking of something like this, not necessarily from GoDaddy, but just the idea.

    Right, so was I. That's exactly what I was warning against that you never, ever, ever do.

    Well I'll be honest, I've never even looked into doing things that way. So I don't know any of the shortcomings of doing something that way. That's why I'm asking for community advice on some of these topics. 😃

    Dangerous bundling. Giving a vendor that does one thing too much power. Same reason that you never bundle DNS, registration services and hosting together - always three separate providers.

    there is no serious business email hoster that does web hosting. There could be, in theory

    Probably why things like that look good on the surface. Are there any specifics that you've experienced or heard about which makes them poor in email handling? Like holding you for ransom when they set quotas, randomly purging aged emails which aren't really that old (31 days), etc...

    Yes, they lock people in, block them from important features, take away control, etc. The protections and assumptions about Office 365 disappear and you are on your own. They are NOT an O365 partner, they are a reseller using O365 to power their own solution. So you can't get Microsoft help, you can't move to another partner... you are "owned" by GoDaddy and they aren't a business class company. You can't use GoDaddy services for any business function except registration services, which don't require quality hosting. GoDaddy is not a business vendor, they shouldn't even really come up as a discussion point. You would never host a website with them, and that's far more their business than email.

    Unlike web, which you can move in a few minutes if a host tries to hold you ransom or lock you in, email is partially storage. So if a vendor isn't flexible and transparent and plays the "owns you" extortion game, they have all the leverage. You have to really be careful who you use for your storage because there is no easy way out once you commit to that.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    Funny, this conversation is exactly the counter to the 9-5 thread. These solutions that you want to replace are literally, in nearly every case, only existing in situations where someone brings in a VAR masquerading as a consultant, who sells things to make the vendor happy even though they are terrible solutions for the customer and are so obviously so that it's pathetic that the customer doesn't know enough IT to bust them.

    Lol obviously I wouldn't want to sell myself as a VAR. I'm just trying to find ways to save SMBs money while still making the environment highly manageable.

    I understand, my point was that in the other thread it was mentioned that it was thought that we were exaggerating that people actually pretend to be consultants while really being a VAR, that the VAR side really influences them to fleece customers, etc. Yet this whole thread is you looking for solutions to exactly that problem... all the customers you know are getting fleeced in this way.

    Maybe it's just early but the first half of your post suggests I'm just pretending and really I'm trying to be a VAR. But then the second half suggests I'm trying to help them, because they are getting fleeced.

    Maybe a better question would be "I have a business of 10-15 people. They haven't added any new people in 5 years so scaling is slow. What does their network look like as far as on-premises and/or cloud equipment,services,etc? I didn't ask it that way because every network is somewhat similar but a little different, and I didn't want to ask the age old question of "I'm setting up a new network, what should it look like?" Cause I like hearing that much as much as "What's the best AV? Why not RAID5?". Now I'm rambling...



  • @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    @BBigford said in SMB resources on the move:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB resources on the move:

    Funny, this conversation is exactly the counter to the 9-5 thread. These solutions that you want to replace are literally, in nearly every case, only existing in situations where someone brings in a VAR masquerading as a consultant, who sells things to make the vendor happy even though they are terrible solutions for the customer and are so obviously so that it's pathetic that the customer doesn't know enough IT to bust them.

    Lol obviously I wouldn't want to sell myself as a VAR. I'm just trying to find ways to save SMBs money while still making the environment highly manageable.

    I understand, my point was that in the other thread it was mentioned that it was thought that we were exaggerating that people actually pretend to be consultants while really being a VAR, that the VAR side really influences them to fleece customers, etc. Yet this whole thread is you looking for solutions to exactly that problem... all the customers you know are getting fleeced in this way.

    Maybe it's just early but the first half of your post suggests I'm just pretending and really I'm trying to be a VAR. But then the second half suggests I'm trying to help them, because they are getting fleeced.

    Not what I meant. My point was that customers with fewer than twenty users, with onsite AD and Exchange (especially Exchange) are normally the result of VARs fleecing them. You are looking for a solution because you are finding so many VARs doing this to people.


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