These companies tend to be 2-5 seats with most of their users on the road. Some are even home based businesses that do not require the need for office space as their users are almost completely remote based.
An option that has become viable for us to get involved with is the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement or SPLA.
What the SPLA enables us to do is setup either hardware dedicated or virtual SBS networks on our servers for the smaller companies to use.
The licensing revenue of Microsoft products under SPLA is per user per month. We essentially pay for what we use to provide our clients with the hosted SBS solution. And, the cost per month is very reasonable.
So, for a typical small business we may setup the following on a virtual server:
- SBS 2K3 R2 Standard
- Windows XP Pro or Vista Business desktops
- Office Standard 2003/7
- SharePoint Version 3
- No large outlay of cash for infrastructure - fees are month by month with a small setup fee
- Client does not need a dedicated physical location
- MS server, workstation, and applications hosted are patch managed
- ShadowProtect based backups - no, "I forgot to change the ..."
- Data is centrally accessible via share and/or SharePoint sites
- No need for new or updated hardware for their users
- Software Assurance covers any MS product for upgrades or downgrades
For any company contemplating adding this type of service to their services portfolio however, there are a number of very important things to keep in mind:
- A reliable Internet Connection - preferably managed and/or fibre
- Hardware capacity to provide an excellent level of service
- Hardware, location, Internet connection redundancy
- UPS and/or power generation capabilities
- A good data backup system
- Disaster Recovery Planning in place
- A secured facility to protect the infrastructure
- Proper cooling for the hardware delivering the hosted services
- A lawyer approved service agreement
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
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