I'm looking to set up a small network for our office of 12 aging computers. We do not have a server yet and I need advise on how to go about it. Should I go with a dedicated server and dumb computers and replace all 12 computers or should I use existing old computers and just purchase a "file server"?
Key issues would be security for files- most employees just copy files and save them in their USB which also causes numerous viruses in the office.
Another issue is that we need more controls and less downtime just in case lets say a bug gets into quickbooks and we need to reformat without long periods of work stoppage.
It all depends on how much control and budget you have.
For instance, if buget and control is low, use what you have and build a file server with a very very good anti virus program and a back up system. If people are allowed to carry their laptop home and then connect it to the network, that is the main problem as you don't have control on what the laptop is bringing to the network. That has to be the main concern.
As far as downtime and turn around time, that bepends on how many servers you have available. If you want a quick turn around after a problem, you should ahve two or more servers. One acting as the active server and another one acting as as a backup, that is not connected to the network but has all the software and files ready to go. This way, when the active server goes down, you have a back up server ready to take its place, minimizing the down time as you fix the problem server.
Total control will have to be with implementing a domain and Active directory.