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Running A Small Business Server?

Running A Small Business Server? Windows Server

Maybe it's time to move to the Cloud

Cloud specialist, Paul Gibbons, explores the benefits of Cloud Migration for small businesses.

It’s been nine years since the introduction of Microsoft Windows Small Business Server. Hugely popular, this affordable “business-in-a-box” solution gave small businesses the technology necessary to create a productive, competitive modern workplace.

Designed and priced from the ground up for the ‘true’ small business, the single server - running on-premises - offered a combination of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 and included SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express.

Whereas this was a wonderful concept at the time, 2010 in technology terms is a lifetime ago. Thanks to Cloud, it’s increasingly the norm to be able to access data and applications from any device, anywhere and at any time, yet many small businesses are still using applications and servers from this period today.

The pace of change is not going to slow up anytime soon, as the new ‘Digital Transformation’ movement continues to redefine the way IT is expected to run the modern business today.

Running a modern business on ageing technology and leaving security open is not an option, but considering where to start on this journey can be difficult.

Small business owners may have neither the time or the knowledge to migrate to something different, and may lack a partner to assist or support in the transition. It’s traditionally expensive to migrate off the old and on to the new and disruptive to the users without help and support.

How long does Small Business Server 2011 have left?

Microsoft has a well-documented product lifecycle for its on-premises services and software, including SBS 2011. All these lines are now out of mainstream support:


Mainstream End

Extended End

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1



Exchange Server 2010 SP3



SharePoint Foundation 2010 SP2



SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3



WSUS 3.0 SP2



What does this mean?

With the introduction of GDPR and the potential vulnerability of systems which are not being fully patched, it may be necessary to explore the transition to Cloud sooner rather than later. Extended support continues to 2020 but this may affect the overall approach to security expected by new compliancy regulators and equally increase the overall cost of running basic IT in any size of business.

What are the options?

In our view, there are 3 options:

  1. Do nothing. However, to ignore the impending problem could have significant impact on the smooth operation of your business.
  2. Consider migration yourself or using a current provider. There are tools across the market to support, on Office 365 and Azure, building an SBS equivalent service in the cloud. This does however take time and effort and increases the overall risk, as building a cloud platform requires a high level of skill and competence.
  3. Using a fully accredited and competent partner. This reduces the overall risk and transition time and equally ensures the least disruption to a business. It also ensures that once migrated, the business has the added assurance that their business is supported by the same level of competence.

Next steps

Check your current Microsoft product licence and if you are running any of the above versions, review the options.

Chess have created specific Microsoft Small Business Server migration bundles, to support the transition to the modern workplace and designed at a low cost, low risk for small businesses.

We are also one the highest accredited and certified partners in the UK today and are proud to support the smallest of businesses, with our award winning ‘best place to be a customer’ commitment.

For more information or to speak to one of our specialists, contact us.



Chess is one of the UK’s leading independent and trusted technology service providers, employing 300 skilled people across the UK, supporting over 20,000 organisations.

 By leveraging world-class technology, Chess helps you to connect your people, protect your data, grow your business, reduce your costs and work better together, which means your business, your people and your customers can thrive.

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