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Suggestions for online IT solutions

  • Thread starter Third Sector Lab
  • Start date
Third Sector Lab

Third Sector Lab

New Member
I'm helping a non-profit look at online alternatives to the usual Microsoft/server-based/in-house IT solutions. Below is a list of the areas of IT they'd like to replace with a more flexible in the cloud solution:

Email Accounts - Is Google Apps for domains a good enough alternative to Outlook?

Calendars (need to be shared and updatable by all remotely) - Is Google Calendar the best altenrative to the Outlook calendar?

Contact Database with Customer Relationship Management functions - Looking to use something simple like Highrise or perhaps Salesforce. Any recommendations?

Sharing files - use server or remote access hardrive?

Back Ups and Sharing of Files - Should we use both physical drives and a service like Diino, Mozy or DropBox? What do SBFers find is the best out of those three?

Remote Access of Desktops - Logmein, GotomyPC or is there another alternative? I've also been looking at hardware options which allow remote access, such as Nivio and Pogoplug...anyone got any views on them?

Sorry about the tons of questions! If anyone has an views on any of the areas I'd love to hear them.

Lanarkshire IT Services

New Member
Hi There

I would look at Logmeins Hamachi for VPN / File Sharing.

For remote access I'd consider Team Viewer - feature packed, Mac / Windows clients, Vista / 7 UAC compatible / Built-in VPN plus tons more - FREE to non-commercials. I have a local church VPN working well with this.

Have look at Ubuntu Server for your cloud stuff.

computer storm

computer storm

New Member
Why dont you take a look at Microsoft Online services, they have one called BPOS, this will give you e-mail, shaepoint and also Live office meeting.

Very easy to setup, they have a little application that once you have brought the services you install and run, this then configures everything you need, including outlook.
Can also be accessed from anywhere and is really cost effective.

If you would like more info on this then give me a shout or check out the link below.

Online Services from Microsoft for email, messaging and collaboration allow you to hand off IT management chores and spend more time on what moves your business forwards


Active Member
I'm actually impressed with Microsoft's online stuff. It's reasonably priced and works well.

Just remember that by going down the "cloud service" route, if your Internet isn't up to speed or it goes down for any reason, the entire business grinds to a halt. Where you might be saving money in the short term, it could be getting poured down the drain long-term.

Make sense?
computer storm

computer storm

New Member
I'm actually impressed with Microsoft's online stuff. It's reasonably priced and works well.

Just remember that by going down the "cloud service" route, if your Internet isn't up to speed or it goes down for any reason, the entire business grinds to a halt. Where you might be saving money in the short term, it could be getting poured down the drain long-term.

Make sense?

Hi Stu,

You’re quite correct about the speed of internet connection and also if it goes down, that’s why it would be best to setup a local server with sbs2003/2008 and then setup co-existence with the Microsoft online package, then just set the remote users to use the online services and any in the office to use the local servers resources for sending and receiving mail.
And the best thing about it is that it integrates well with the local Active Directory by using the Active Directory Synchronisation tool
Third Sector Lab

Third Sector Lab

New Member
Thanks for the tips guys, all really helpful. There's only about 6 people work in the office and many of them work part-time so there's never a huge strain on the system.

Humyo has been suggested to me...any SBFers use it?
computer storm

computer storm

New Member
Its ok but why pay nearly £6 for just a file sharing application when you can pay £6 for exchange, sharepoint and other collaboration tools from Microsoft. More value for your money.

So for the 6 users it would only cost you around £30 odd pound for the lot every month.


New Member
Despite the level of reliability provided by Microsoft, data loss in Office 365 may happen due to human error, viruses on the user’s side or other failures. Microsoft provides some mechanisms in Office 365 to prevent data loss. You can easily backup office 365 mailbox and be sure in your sdata safety.


New Member
There's a plethora of online IT solutions available to streamline various aspects of your operations. Here are a few suggestions across different categories:

  1. Cloud Services:
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS): Offers a wide range of cloud computing services.
    • Microsoft Azure: Provides cloud services for building, deploying, and managing applications.
    • Google Cloud Platform: Offers cloud computing, storage, and machine learning services.
  2. Project Management:
    • Trello: Organizes tasks into boards for easy project management.
    • Asana: Helps teams organize work and manage projects.
    • Jira: Popular for software development and issue tracking.
  3. Communication and Collaboration:
    • Slack: Messaging app for teams, offering channels and direct messaging.
    • Microsoft Teams: Integrates chat, video meetings, file storage, and more.
    • Zoom: Video conferencing and webinar platform.
  4. Cybersecurity:
    • Norton Security: Offers antivirus and online security solutions.
    • Bitdefender: Provides advanced threat defense solutions.
    • LastPass: Password manager for secure credential management.
  5. Backup and Recovery:
    • Backblaze: Cloud backup and storage solutions.
    • Acronis True Image: Offers backup, storage, and disaster recovery.
    • Carbonite: Cloud backup and recovery solutions.
  6. Remote Support:
    • TeamViewer: Allows remote control and screen sharing for support.
    • AnyDesk: Provides remote desktop software for remote connections.
    • Splashtop: Offers remote access and support solutions.
  7. Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
    • Salesforce: Comprehensive CRM platform for sales and customer support.
    • HubSpot CRM: Free CRM with tools for sales, marketing, and customer service.
    • Zoho CRM: Cloud-based CRM software with various features.
  8. Development Tools:
    • GitHub: Platform for version control and collaboration in software development.
    • GitLab: Offers source code management and CI/CD capabilities.
    • Jupyter Notebook: Interactive coding environment for data science and analysis.
Remember, the best solutions for your needs will depend on your specific goals and requirements. Always consider factors like pricing, scalability, ease of use, and integration capabilities when choosing online IT solutions.


When searching for online IT solutions, it is important to consider a variety of providers to find the best fit for your business. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
1. Self-service options: provide customers with resources to solve problems on their own, freeing up your support team for more complex cases
2. Help desk software: choose a tool that fits your needs and budget, such as Jira Service Management or Zendesk
3. Multi-cloud: consider using multiple cloud services from different providers to find the best fit for your workload.
4. SOC 2 audit: conduct an audit to ensure data security and build trust with clients and partners. You can find out about soc 2 audit requirements here
5. Shared services: utilize shared services to generate economies of scale and experience across your service models
6. Cloud services: understand the differences and advantages of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS to choose the best option for your organization.

I hope that exploring these options will be useful and you can find the right IT solutions to support your business and meet your customers' needs.