Are you feeling constrained running your business from your desktop or laptop?
Chances are if you have more than a handful of users, the time has come to invest in your own server. It might feel like a big step for a small business to take, but the functionality, time savings, improved security and peace of mind are definitely worth considering.
What is a server?
A server is a computer that acts as a central store for managing things like:
- data (files)
- applications (programs)
- web site(s)
- security settings (permisisons)
- printer access
- email boxes
- much more
A server is usually more powerful than a desktop, and it’s engineered to run 24/7 and allows multiple user access. Contrast this with a desktop PC or laptop which only serves one user and has limited connectivity with other machines.
How can a server help your business?
The most obvious benefit is data access. Everyone in your network can share and collaborate seamlessly. You can also easily roll out security or software updates to all your users via your server.
Then there’s data security. A server usually has “redundant” hard drives, meaning that one disk can fail and another will keep plugging along, so you don’t have a costly business outage.
What kinds are there?
Well there are physical servers – ones that you buy and plonk somewhere on premises. But then there are now “virtual” servers that are hosted in the cloud, so they aren’t on your premises at all. These have many advantages:
- space – maybe you can’t locate your server in your tiny office
- security – giant data centres have loads more security and protection that you could ever put on your own machine. Plus it’s their problem, not yours!
- cost – economies of scale usually means that renting a server from a dedicated company costs you less than owning one yourself
- backup – virtual servers are “software” not hardware, which means you can back them up as easily as a bunch of files.
- scalability – virtual servers can grow and shrink with just a few mouse clicks, whereas physical ones must be upgraded with a good old screwdriver and technician.