Back in the start-up days of your business, you probably found that you could do things as easy as possible. Thanks to the small number of employees as well as limited technology needs.If you required sharing files between your employees, you emailed each one of them or hand over the USB stick. If you needed to store your data, you would attach an external hard drive.But, now that your business is scaling, you will find such methods useful and feasible no more. Small business Server are required to scale up everything from their workplace to their staff and everything in-between as they grow. And one of the most important things they have to consider is their computing and digital assets.
However, more businesses find it overwhelming to choose the server. And this can be justified as servers aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of solution. You need to choose the right one that can meet your requirements better. In order to help you pick the right server for your business, here we have outlined some important factors to consider.
But first of all, it is equally important to understand why your small business needs a server.
Why You Need Small Business Server?
A server is the heart and soul of your digital landscape. It stores, sends and receives data. Your business is likely to use a server of some kind such as a computer, software program or even a storage device (even if you don’t know it)
So you do you need it? Servers are an important part of your business’s growth strategy.
Here is why your small business needs a server.
Supporting Your Business Growth:
In the startup stage of any business, when it’s just a couple of employees, managing your computers and other digital assets is quite easy. When software updates are required, or you are looking for different antivirus tools, you can simply put the things in the practice.
But things don’t remain the same when your business grows to 10-20 employees from 5-7 people. Doing all these things become a little challenging and time consuming as well. It is common to notice that the time spent on just maintaining your people’s computer has increased dramatically.
A “dedicated” Small business server can ease things, especially when it comes to managing a huge fleet of computers. It can be utilized to roll out software updates to every computer on your network and can do so no matter if those computers are physically present at your workplace or not.
Once the server is set to roll out the update, there’s no more hassle required—the updates can take place when users turn on their PC, no matter what the time is.
File sharing is also made easy with a server that acts as a central repository of all shared resources.
Providing Security Access to Email and Company-Owned Storage:
Working in the cloud has a lot of benefits, but no matter which cloud vendor you choose, your data is not controlled by you directly. As horrible stories of a massive security incident—even on big companies like Facebook—become that norm, it is worth considering if you can afford to keep your data on a set of servers that are beyond your control. It is more than security. Your cloud cost grows with your staff. Enter a dedicated small business server. A small business server can help you control your data and associated expenses.
With your own server, you can verify the authenticity of the location of data. In case your ISP’s internet ever goes down, your employees can still access the entirety of your company’s data, whether its shared files, database or email.
Besides, a dedicated server can help you keep the monthly expenses lower. Although the one-time cost for hardware and software license can be higher upfront, they can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
Providing Quick, Constant Access to Your Data:
A small business server can host high-demand and high bandwidth services such as databases.
If your business uses multiple terminals being able to access a central repository, like a point-of-sale or POS system, an on-premise server is important. It not only keeps the connection stable, but it also eliminates the expenses caused by the size of the repository, the amount of data, or the compute time—all of which are standard charges when using cloud services.
Dedicated servers can be upgraded to your specification, with RAM, CPU, and hard drive capacity that can process large data with ease. Transferring them between the server and your desktops, laptops will be dramatically fast.
Ensuring Data Backup:
If your employees are not backing up their systems, you are vulnerable to data loss in case the incident takes place. In fact, not all employees are likely to back up their data even if asked to do so.
A small business server can automate the backup of all of your computers to the main system, and then back-up your server for extra peace of mind. Having that data readily available on-site, instead of in virtual storage like cloud, will dramatically minimize the time and effort required to get that out-of-premises machine back up and running.
How to Choose Your Small Business Server
The server that you pick makes all the difference in your business operations. Depending on your decision, it can either hinder or support your ability to expand. Choosing the right server for your small business shouldn’t be that stressful. There are many perimeters you can rely on to make an informed decision. To know which business server is best for your business click here to read this article.
Consider Your Operating System:
Make sure to consider your operating system. Imagine if your average PC ran on an OS that is quite tricky to understand and finally you didn’t like to use. Server software calls for a specialized operating system. Well, it is not often that is being used on your home PC. There might be similarities, but ultimately the functionality can be different.
Here are popular choices when it comes to choosing the right server OS for your small business:
- This is a popular OS for server and comes with many variations that combine a full OS and a package manager. It ensures you faster installation and better operations. The most popular Linux based products are CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian.
- You must be familiar with Windows OS. However, they are different than their desktop counterparts. Microsoft Windows Server comes with apps that support security, virtualization and the IIS web server.
- Linux is a more common server OS than Windows. After all, it is cost-effective, efficient and better security barriers. Linux is also touted for its ability to support open-source software options.
- Windows, on the other hand, is known for its easy graphical user interface. Linux has complex command-line syntax. Many business owners prefer Microsoft to operate their current applications bases such as MS SQL, Active Directory and SharePoint. Such Microsoft programs perform far better on their native OS.
- Besides, Microsoft also comes with efficient support. With Linux being open-source, the support options can be found in online communities or threads or received from Linux distributor.
Understanding the Hardware:
Technically speaking, a business server is still a PC. Like its desktop counterparts, it needs a power supply, CPU, RAM, hard drives, USB ports and certain network connection such as gigabit Ethernet. Some servers have graphics cards too, even though they are not used for actually displaying graphics on the screen.
However, servers are designed for heavy and constant sues, so most of its hardware items should be robust. For example, an average PC has one RAM to handle the workload of a single person, whereas a server requires meeting the demand of an entire workplace, so the memory capacity and speed will be larger. Most servers have multiple hard drive bays for more storage.
The point is here to choose the right server components according to your needs.
Choosing Between Cloud and Dedicated Server:
Are you looking for a dedicated server that will be located on your premises?
Or you want the one that can be hosted on the cloud?
Well, both options have their pros and cons.
For example, a dedicated business server lets you give complete control over the storage and process of your data. It can help you save a lot of money in the long run. The dedicated servers are designed to be fast as there is no extra layer of processing between the data and the OS as well as no latency.
If you are looking for a dedicated server, make sure to choose the one that can be scaled over time without any major hardware changes.
However, it might raise electricity costs as well as often need hardware upgrades. Although they are “one-time-purchase”, they are much more expensive than a cloud-based option.
Cloud server, on the other hand, is composed of the latest hardware and stay updated. It comes with 24×7 supports with the on-site staff for hardware replacement. However, a cloud server costs monthly recurring fees while you don’t have physical access to the server.
Consider the Physical Shape of Your Server:
If you are looking to buy a dedicated server, you need to know that they come in different physical form factors that can be divided into blade, tower and rackmount.
Here is a quick breakdown of each physical server shape:
A tower server looks like a regular desktop PC with the only difference that they include server components. Same as their PC counterparts, they are available in different shapes. The downside of tower servers is that they eat up more space than other physical forms of a server.
Rackmount servers are installed onto a rack chassis that is generally several feet high to hold multiple servers on top of each other in slots. They are the ideal option when you have more servers and want to adjust them into a smaller space.
Like rackmount servers, they require chassis to be mounted. However, they occupy lesser space than rackmount servers. Talking about their downside, properly cooling blade servers can be a daunting task: consider them when your server closet grows into a server room.
So you must have understood what it takes to choose the right server for your small business. Make sure to plan a couple of years when reviewing your server requirements. Choosing a business server for the very first time can either boost your IT infrastructure or be a potential hindrance.
If you are still not sure about your server requirements, consulting a professional can be a great help. Many server companies or server installation vendor offers consultation.
They can review your company, analyze expectations and requirements, and help choose the right options for your small business server in a planned manner.
What do you think? Let us know by commenting below!