By Craig Bayer of Law OT
The average firm I deal with has 3-5 attorneys and 5-10 support staff so I am always a bit taken aback that more often than not these small operations operate their servers using the more expensive Microsoft Server 2003 SE (standard edition) software instead of Microsoft Small Business Server 2003. Yet it is a fact that firms of that size (and attorneys in general) are very cost conscious when it comes to technology, and frankly Small Business Server is cheaper and has many more features than Server 2003 SE.
For example, with Small Business Server 2003 you get the following extas:
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 (Host your own email with your own domain name)
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 (For all users of your firm)
Microsoft Shared Fax Service (Allows you to fax from your phone line or email)
Microsoft SharePoint Services (Internal Website and Document Collaboration)
Premium Edition comes with SQL Server 2005, which is added benefit for Amicus Attorney, PCLaw, and TimeMatters users using the SQL versions.
If you buy Server Standard you will be paying at least an extra $300. If you wanted to add Exchange Server, get ready to fork over an additional $1229.00.
Small Business Server also has several features that Server 2003 does not have, like Remote Web Workplace which allows all users to remotely connect to their workstations without having to pay for additional software like GoToMYPc. It is also very easy for people like me to manage and support it, which means your IT bill will be reduced.
There are 2 distinct disadvantages of Small Business Server:
1. You cannot connect another Small Business Server to the domain and it must be the domain controller. Basically in techno speak this means that it cannot effectively be used in a multiple office setting.
2. It only supports 75 users or computers. Microsoft Licensing can be quite complicated but once a firm gets to 20 plus attorneys, there is usually always multiple offices involved, which kind of ends the role of Small Business Server.
If you are about to purchase a new server for your firm, inquire about a Small Business Server.