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Intranet or file server? 14-person company

Last response: in Business Computing
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January 31, 2014 10:45:14 AM

in our company of 14 people, we currently have a bunch of files on a central file server, with everyone doing the typical "map Z: drive to the server". this works for files, but not for articles or news or general info that people may want to access.

so, I was thinking - would an intranet make sense? partly to host the most frequently used documents (templates, logos, blank forms, etc), but also to host news articles that we receive from outside suppliers. our file server is kind of a mess, with empty folders or 10 levels of nesting, and people tend to be sloppy when putting stuff there - so trying to find a template would be a nightmare.

what are the benefits? does it make sense for a small 14-person company? how much manpower / manhours does it take to set it up and maintain / update it? where does it actually get hosted? our current site is hosted by a 3rd party.

Google hasn't helped - it seems to think I want an email server on my intranet, which I don't.
January 31, 2014 10:53:56 AM

It's not clear what you're asking. If you have a network, which you clearly do, then you probably have an intranet. At least if you have more than one router you do. An intranet is just a private version of the Internet, with a cache server or a gateway of some kind between your company network and the public Internet.

Are you asking about setting a web server on your company network? Or a web server on the Internet for the use of your company's employees?
January 31, 2014 11:01:37 AM

hmm, I think that is what I'm asking. I'm not the IT guy, so my knowledge is only at 30%. but yeah, what I'm wondering is about making an employee-only site (accessible only while on a work computer), onto which I can toss links to commonly used forms, learning tools like articles, and possibly even some functionality like a timesheet / project time tracker for each person to use (ok, that's more of a "would be nice" so if that adds too much complexity then yank it out)
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January 31, 2014 11:43:05 AM

It sounds like what you're looking for is to set up a PC at work as a web server. Since it would be on your internal LAN (local area network), it would only be accessible by employees on the company's network.

You could of course use open source software, but it would probably be easier to buy a Microsoft Server operating system and set up their web server (it comes with the OS). However, web servers are not set up by default to let random users "toss up links" to things. The webmaster or administrator is in charge of the web server. I'm not sure how you would go about opening it up to users putting things on it. I'm sure it can be done, I'm just not sure how to do it. Your average user does not know how to code in HTML, which is what web servers are encoded in (for static pages -- scripting is even more of a problem as it is a form of programming). Your IT guy can probably help you out there.
January 31, 2014 12:12:32 PM

ah, I didn't mean I want just anyone to put up info. yeah, it would be 1 or maybe 2 dedicated people who have access to it. we're currently using Server 2003, which works for our size, but it doesn't host our web site or emails (those are all hosted outside). which I guess means our server is just a basic file server at this time. anyhoo...

so - what about the benefits of actually setting something like this up for a company of 14 people? does an intranet make sense, or are we too small to make it worthwhile? when I was at a company of a few hundred / few thousand, then we had an intranet and it was great for a wide variety of things - which is why I am thinking of doing it here, on a smaller scale. but only if it makes sense.

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January 31, 2014 3:03:48 PM
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Sure, it makes sense. Actually, you should be able to run a web server from Server 2003. Microsoft calls it Internet Information Server (IIS). I'm assuming your Server 2003 is in-house and on-site. It installs as a "role". Here's a page from Microsoft:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324742/en-us

My only experience has been for a relatively small group at a large auto manufacturer. I took over an internal site we (Advanced Mfg. Engineering) hosted inside our company's intranet, for manufacturing standards. This was back in about 2003. I purchased Dreamweaver (now owned by Adobe) and Paint Shop Pro (now owned by Corel). Our central IT maintained the web server. I logged into it, copied down the existing server files onto my PC with Dreamweaver, then edited them. When they worked OK on my PC I used FTP (file transfer protocol) to upload the new version back onto the web server, and it worked. That's typically how you edit or maintain a web server: download it to your PC, modify it with web development software, then copy the changed files back up to the web server.

Hope this helps.
February 3, 2014 10:48:48 AM

thanks. i'll take a look through the 2003 Server offering to see if it'll do enough for our meager needs. and yeah, the machine is in-house thankfully.

:) 
March 6, 2014 4:25:29 AM

In my opinion you need intranet build on Microsoft SharePoint Server. It allows you to create documents libraries, presentation templates etc. With this solution you can also work simultaneously with Excel documents (for example). Maybe you should try Office 360 products
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