Are consumer grade software and hardware good enough for your business? We're asking that question, and we're going to focus on Windows operating systems in this article. This comparison really goes hand-in-hand with a compariosn of computers, as Consumer Grade computers generally come with Windows Home versions pre-installed.
Most small businesses with more than a few computers have them connected to a server, creating a network. This allows the network to communicate with all of the components that are connected together, i.e. other computers, data files, printers, and email.
This is where issues generally start! It's difficult to make a proper network connection with a Windows Home computer (XP, Vista, or 7). The problem is that Windows Home operating systems (OS) don't have the functionality to properly connect to the networking environment—only the Professional or Business editions do. You might be able to connect and use some of the features of the Small Business Server, but it probably won't work in the manner you need.
Security issues become a major concern when you connect a Home PC to an SBS network. Home OS computers don't have the same restrictions and blocks set up that Pro and Business OS computers do. This introduces the possibility of virus or malware attacks getting through to the server, which is never a good thing: they can potentially bring down your entire network.
The support requirements for Home and Professional/Business OS are different. Seeking support for your Home computer through a business technology provider will most likely include a larger investment, due in part to the fact that there is more involved in making these computers communicate effectively with a business network.
A little over a year ago, we had a new client who came to us desperately needing a server. Unfortunately, their entire office was running on a workgroup with Windows Home licensing. Because their professional server licensing was going to be incompatible with the Windows Home licensing, they had to upgrade to professional licenses...which came at a cost of$300+ for each individual license upgrade, plus labor. They ended up paying thousands because their PCs were meant for home use instead of business use—and that wasn’t even to replace hardware, only software.
Should you run into any of these problems, or aren't sure how to get started with creating a business network, let us know. We’ll be able to help you create a roadmap to help you leverage technology for your business growth!