More and more, we encounter organizations who would like to eliminate their servers and move all their data to “the cloud”. On the surface, this sounds very appealing as a simplified and cost-effective approach. It can indeed work well for some very small organizations with perhaps 5 or fewer computer users. If that doesn’t describe your business, there are a great number of benefits you are missing out on, or will lose, if you eliminate your Windows Servers entirely. Most businesses require a central management Windows Server referred to as a Domain Controller. A Domain Controller runs what is called Active Directory, which authenticates and authorizes all users and computers on the network.
Here are 14 benefits that a Domain Controller Server can provide:
- Central management and control of security settings for all computers on the domain.
- Ability to create network-wide rules, such as requiring unique and complex passwords.
- Ability to set network-wide password expiry policy.
- Lockout of user accounts after a set number of failed logon attempts to prevent potential cyber criminals gaining access to your network.
- Users can be configured to allow them to easily logon to any computer and have their settings follow them. This eliminates the need to perform any special setup for a user on a specific computer.
- Ability to set all computers to lock their screens after a set period of time and require a password to unlock. This helps prevent others from easily viewing what’s on your screen or from accessing your computer while you are away.
- Restriction of USB stick access for all computers to control the use of mass storage devices. Permission is assigned and controlled based on username.
- Ability to disable accounts immediately for exiting employees.
- Security auditing is possible, although additional software is required to monitor and provide alerts on security events. Security events are captured in a log file and can be manually viewed with no additional software.
- Automatic installation of network printers on computers as soon as they join the domain.
- Central Management of network printers including print jobs. This provides the ability to pause, purge or restart any print job stuck in the queue.
- Central file sharing. If you choose to store any documents locally, they can be setup on department or company-wide shares.
- Re-direction of My Documents to the server for central backup of individual user files currently stored on their C drives.
- Group settings for Chrome or Edge to ensure access to specific websites that require special settings.
With all the central management and security benefits of a Domain Controller Server, including this in your network design plan is our recommended approach.
For advice on cloud versus on-premises options for storing and managing your data and applications, give BSC Solutions Group a call today. We’ve been providing IT consulting and support services to organizations in the Toronto area for almost 30 years and have been a Microsoft Partner since 1999.