Windows Set Up
Setting up a Windows Environment for Email
In high-volume businesses that deal with a lot of email and need an email archiving solution or require their own dedicated server hosting, a Windows setup can take a few different forms. This guide will discuss a few different Windows setup options to meet these needs.
Installation of Windows
The installation of Windows 7 (and, to a lesser extent, Windows Server 2012) is very intuitive. Most times the installation is an upgrade of an already-installed version of Windows, but even when it is a new installation it is really usually a matter of inserting the disc and following the instructions. There are other methods to install Windows, but this article is more concerned with what happens after Windows is installed.
One thing that should be mentioned is that it is normally best to limit the use of the Administrator account as much as possible. Many technicians will make it their first priority to create a user account on the machine and assign it Administrator rights, and use that account from that point onward to the exclusion of the Administrator account. A Windows 7 password reset is nearly impossible if that reset is for the Administrator account, and there are security issues involved with having only one account with full access rights.
To compare, it is also recommended practice to create an account other than root to install Ubuntu and configure it.
Initial Setup and Archiving
For maximum security, once the end user is in front of the machine, a Windows 7 password reset should be initiated and the user should be required to create a strong password that they can remember without having to write down. One great recommendation for secure passwords is to have the user input a complete sentence, which is among the most difficult passwords to crack and is usually easier to remember.
Since this is intended to be used as a business computer with a high-volume of email, an email archiving solution should be a primary goal. There are a number of ways to archive a user's email. Outlook can set up the user's email to back up to an external or network drive every few months, for instance. There are other ways to do this, though, and Outlook at the end user level is not an ideal email archiving solution unless granularity is needed.
Benefits of Hosting a Dedicated Server Running Windows Server 2012
Windows Server can run Microsoft Exchange, which puts the email in-house. It can handle the archiving of email on a domain-wide basis, and the use of Database Availability Groups prevents the need for backups.
It is even possible to set this up for dedicated web server hosting so that the company's website can be hosted internally. Exchange is the big advantage that a Windows Server install has over an Ubuntu install, which is the most common alternative. Ubuntu can provide its own archiving solutions and dedicated server hosting, but it cannot run Exchange.