Configuring a small business network for a law firm


I'm looking for some insight on building a small network for a law firm. The company currently has one desktop and 2 laptops ( I assume the company will grow, but not substantially) All computers are running Windows 7(not sure which version), they also use Outlook for mail and also have a printer.
Now, I'm fairly new to this type of stuff, i'm currently enrolled in Computer Networking Technology program in school, I could use a little help.

To my knowledge, which path should be taken; run an Active Directory environment or use a Peer-to-Peer system. I assume all users have access to all files, i'm sure in the future that can change. Would I need a Microsoft Exchange Server, since they're running Outlook. Possible VPN configuration for laptops to work from home to access resources from work. If the company has a website, should I implement a DMZ to isolate the LAN from the internet and put a certain pc in that DMZ. With regards to the ISP, static ip addressing for the PDC and printer( I assume you have to call the ISP provider to set that up?) DHCP, DNS. Which NOS should I use. What security whould be implemented, or the needed security, it's not DOD :kaola: Should I purchase a server, or build it myself. I've seen basic server machines for around 700$.

Now I assume they don't want to spend an arm and a leg either, but I would like to come up with a proper plan that would benefit their needs.

Thanks for the help in advance,

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  1. If you go with Active Directory, all computers need to have at least the Professional version of the OS.

    the Home version will not work.

    a plain PDC and file server does not have to be powerful. You might get away with an old P4 3.0GHz with two 1TB HDD in RAID1 configuration and 2GB memory

    the only time I would use an Exchange Server would be if you would need to share address books and calenders.

    do you have to host the website onside or can both email and website be hosted?

    your ISP has nothing to do with your internal IPs.

    what about a firewall

    you need to know your budget.
  2. Thanks for the reply. We visited them today to get more detail, and the obvious choice would be the least cost effective. They're running Home Premium which is no good. As for their website, a third party member is hosting that, so that rules it out

    They simply just want to be able to access the same files (except for most of the lawyers files) My teacher recommended simply to use File Sync with Windows 7 ( I know they would have to change current version of 7)and also create a Homegroup and add limitations on file access. Also, creating user accounts of the people on their machines in the event someone is not there that particular day and another employee needs to access their computer. Using Admin account isn't the best. Also, making local policies. I do know they're not planning on expanding their company, they're only 3 people in the firm.
    Theyre current backup is not really a backup as they simply copy their files on an external to bring home, but I can mention a backup plan on the side.

    As for security, they use a basic anti-virus (free version), getting a paid license would be best.
    As for hardware costs, again, depends if they'll implement a backup - next to nothing, since they're running wireless.

    Now the expensive method would be to implement an AD environment, but I know they wont buy it. An NOS is quite expensive, plus buying more hardware, plus cabling, not sure they'll use that route, but I will mention it.

    As for Outlook web access, I was told you can use Sharepoint or something like that - not too sure - to sync calenders, i.e meetings...
    I will formulate two ideas to bring to the table and see what they like.

    If you have any other tips or pathways to take, please do share.

    Thank you
  3. if you have an old computer, you might want to look into FreeNAS.

    FreeNAS might have enough security for the file sharing and I think it will allow access to them via internet.
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