Congratulations—your organization is growing!
Maybe you’re going from six to ten workstations. Maybe you’re launching a new line of products on your website. Or perhaps you’re expanding the type of services you provide and you’re hiring several new people.
Growth is good.
But… When is the right time to start thinking about things like access control and network security? When is it time to scale up?
In other words: when is it time to make the move from a workgroup to a domain?
When businesses reach a certain size, it’s important to control user access to company files and company-specific applications. Moreover, as a business, you carry responsibilities related to data privacy, client protection, and information security. Unfortunately, the more valuable your business becomes, the more of a target it is. Considering scaling up your resources and security before it’s too late is a smart move.
Stratti has the answers to all these questions and more. Not everyone needs to be an IT expert, but you do need to choose options that fit your business needs. So let’s dive in!
What is a workgroup?
A workgroup is a small network of computers connected together to enable communication and file sharing within a specific organization. It operates without a centralized server. In a traditional workgroup setup, computers are connected via a local area network (LAN), which involves physically connecting the computers using Ethernet cables, or wirelessly connecting them to a common router or switch, so the computers can share resources with each other. Lots of small businesses and home networks have use workgroups.
What is a domain?
A domain is a centralized network environment controlled and managed by a server known as a domain controller. It provides a higher level of organization, security, and control because user accounts, security policies, and network resources are managed centrally.
What are the benefits of moving from a workgroup to a domain?
If your business is expanding and adding more computers or users to the network, a domain provides better scalability. Network administration becomes centralized, making it easier to manage user accounts, permissions, and security policies across your entire network. It reduces the administrative burden compared to managing individual computers in a workgroup, too. Growing gets easier!
- Enhanced Security
Workgroups have limitations in terms of centralized security management. They can’t support Single Sign On (SSO), data recovery is essentially impossible because the hardware is distinct, and monitoring capabilities hardly exist. In a domain, security policies can be standardized and enforced centrally, ensuring consistent security settings and access controls. This includes features like password policies, group-based permissions, and user authentication, which can help protect sensitive data and improve overall network security. A domain-controlled environment also eliminates unintended rogue computers being able to access the network/files.
As your business grows, a strong defensive security posture will only become more important, so don’t sleep on this one!
- Efficient Resource Sharing
In a workgroup, sharing resources like files and printers requires manual configuration (you know what trying to connect a new printer can be like), plus a spiderweb of cords—meaning you’re spending valuable resources on mundane tasks. With a domain, resource sharing becomes more efficient and convenient. Centralized file servers can be set up, allowing users to access shared files and folders easily.
- Simplified User Management
As the number of users or workstations increases, managing individual accounts and permissions on each computer becomes cumbersome in a workgroup. A domain offers a single point of administration for user accounts, making it easier to add or remove users, reset passwords, and change permissions.
- Easier Collaboration and Productivity
Domain-based networks often provide collaboration features that can enhance employee productivity. For example, domain users can have access to shared calendars, email services, and centralized document storage, enabling smoother communication within the organization.
- Compliance Requirements
Some industries have specific compliance regulations that require centralized user management, secure access controls, and audit capabilities. Transitioning to a domain-based network can help meet these compliance requirements more effectively (read: without a giant headache). With a domain, you’ll have greater visibility into all aspects of your business—which not only increases the strength of your security posture but also your ability to get cyber insurance. Win-win.
If your business is bursting at the seams, and you’re wondering how to level up, it might be time to move from a workgroup to a domain.
Transitioning from a workgroup to a domain can be an easy process, if you plan carefully and consider what infrastructure you might need in the future. And Stratti is here to help!