One of the biggest challenges for businesses in the 21st century is adapting to the massive technology overhaul. Particularly for smaller businesses, it can often feel overwhelming to try and integrate modern technology effectively. The landscape of today’s world is completely different from the one just 20 or 30 years ago, and that can be frightening. But don’t worry, that’s why we are here. In this article, we will take a look at a small business server, and demonstrate why they are a great option for your small business.
What are servers? What can a server do for your small business? How do you decide which type of server to use? In this article, we will attempt to answer all these questions and hopefully a few more.
Here is why you need to consider implementing a small business server:
Servers, What Are They?
The first step in learning about the value of small business servers is understanding what a server is. The best way to describe a server is that it is the backbone of the infrastructure for your business’s IT. It can be somewhat confusing because servers can take the form of both hardware and software. But each serves the same function. In simpler terms, a server is a type of computer or software that’s function is to process requests and then deliver data in response. For example, let’s say that you wanted to learn how to cook an egg. You go on to your phone(client device) and type ‘How to cook an egg’ into your browser, from there a web server finds the information and delivers it to the browser and in turn to your device.
It is more than likely that you use servers every single day even if you don’t realize it. Your email accounts all run through mail servers. When watching Youtube or Netflix you are taking advantage of audio/video servers. Accessing files or storage on your devices is making use of a file server. And these are just a few examples. While you may not have fully understood what a server is, it is almost guaranteed that you make use of them in your daily life without even knowing.
What Can a Small Business Server Do for You?
Because servers have such a wide range of utility, it almost becomes hard to define what exactly a small business server can do for you. Realistically, if developed properly, a small business server can do just about anything you need. A server can function as a secure domain-based e-mail within your business. If you’ve ever worked for a company that had its’ own domain e-mail then you were making use of a server. Furthermore, servers can be used to monitor and run your business’s website and conduct online commerce.
Servers also store company files and expansive programs like HR and accounting software. This helps to keep the personal PCs of employees clear of these heavy-duty programs that would slow down their devices. However, one important thing to remember: by keeping so much important data in one place you expose your business to more risk in the case of a hack or data breach. With that in mind, it is crucial that you practice good data security. Some good basics to follow? Routinely update software, make use of antivirus and security software, and take advantage of VPNs. By practicing good data security you can help ensure your small business server stays safe from threats.
Which Type of Server Should You Use?
When setting up your small business server you have two different options, cloud-based or in-house. Cloud servers are a much more recent development, so some long-standing small businesses run in-house servers. In general, though, larger companies or corporations use in-house servers. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider an in-house small business server. Here are some features of an in-house server:
- Complete Design Control – Because in-house servers are built from the ground up, they can be tailor-made to the needs of your business, and can be adjusted as needed.
- Requires IT Department – Because an in-house server is hardware-based, an in-house IT department is needed for maintenance and in the case that software needs to be installed.
- High Upfront Cost – In-house servers are an upfront investment. You may save money long-term by having your own server. But installation and design will cost a hefty sum to start.
- Full Control Over Data – All data is stored in-house unless backed up elsewhere. Giving you full control over your sensitive data and info.
Key Features of a Cloud-Based Server:
- Service Options – Because cloud-based servers are run from outside the business, you don’t get the same control as an in-house server. However, you can still adjust the services as necessary based on size, speed, and storage needs.
- Easier Maintenance – Cloud-based servers are run by an outside party, which means you aren’t responsible for installing new updates or maintaining the software.
- Lower Initial Cost – Because you don’t have to physically install software or support an IT department, cloud servers are significantly cheaper upfront.
- Data Stored Out of House – Unlike in-house servers, cloud-based servers mean that most of your data is stored with the service provider. This can leave you more vulnerable to exterior threats, but with the right service provider, you shouldn’t have to worry.
Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in detailing some of the benefits of installing a small business server.