Servers have been a key part of IT for as long as we can remember. They have been vital for businesses to store large amounts of data and give access to staff as and when the need to access files.
Having a server can be a big commitment. They need to be well maintained, securely stored, kept at the right temperature and backed up regularly – and that’s not even talking about the initial upfront costs to buy. So, does your business need a server?
Why Would I Want a Server Anyway?
Servers are a great tool to assist in managing your business from one central location. You can create user accounts for your staff, store your data in a central location, restrict what data your staff can access, manage cybersecurity requirements, and configure printers on all of your machines. And that’s only scratching the surface of what’s possible.
In the last few years, the Cloud has revolutionised IT for businesses. Businesses started hosting their emails in the Cloud. Many of our clients use Microsoft 365 for their email, allowing their staff to access emails from anywhere, rather than just getting access from the office.
Your Business is Growing
In the early days of any business, when it’s just one or two employees, managing your computers and IT is pretty simple. You can work from a few devices, and save to USB or other portable drives, and share with other staff if there are any.
But if your business starts to grow, you may find yourself needing extra staff. What happens then if you need to share documents and data? sharing USBs becomes tricky, and the risks involved grow significantly.
A dedicated server can simplify many, if not all, of the tasks associated with managing a larger fleet of computers. It can be used to push out software updates to every computer on your network, and can do so whether those computers are physically on your premises or not.
Line of Business Application
If there’s a key application to the daily running of your business, hosting it on a server may be your only option. Line of business applications need to be hosted on something that’s always switched on, otherwise users will not be able to gain access.
Of course, you have the option of hosting it on a PC and leaving it running, but that’s a significant waste of resources. Servers are built specifically for the role they serve, and nothing else. They don’t need a high powered graphics card.
If you don’t regularly back up PCs, you risk not only losing valuable data, you also risk having that person sit idle while attempts are made to recover their machine, or waiting for a replacement device. Even if you’ve given your staff explicit instructions on how and when to back-up to the cloud, or an external hard drive, they may not always do so.
With a small business server, you can automate the backups of all of your computers to a central hub, and then back-up your server. Having that data readily available on-site, instead of in the cloud, will dramatically reduce the time and effort needed to get that out-of-commission machine back up and running.
Servers in the Cloud
Having a server doesn’t mean having to have a physical server in your office. Servers can be hosted in the Cloud. Even if your business needs a server to run an application, you don’t need to have the physical server in your office. Instead, you could use a software server in the cloud. One example of this would be Microsoft Azure.
This type of service is called Infrastructure as a Service. You can rent the computing power you need on a monthly basis rather than buying big expensive bits of hardware. Using the cloud changes your business cost model – in the server days, you bought servers as an outright expense and had much lower monthly costs.
Now, you don’t need to buy a server, but your monthly costs will generally be higher. This approach doesn’t suit every business, so it’s important to customise your approach to your business.
Wondering about servers in your business? Speak with one of ACUTEC’s consultants to discuss the best option for you.