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. Traditionally, this server has been physically located at the business premises, however, we can now consider moving this server offsite to the cloud.
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 Internet Explorer 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.