Can My Small Business Really Require a Server?
I consulted with a small company last week. Their server had stopped powering on a couple weeks ago. There were a couple things they couldn’t do, but nothing that was causing a major impact. This got me thinking: does your business really require a server? With everything going to the cloud, what does a server actually do for you?
Many companies start out as one user or maybe two and even when there are plans to grow the business, most often one doesn’t want to commit the funds in technology whenever there is no immediate need to do so. Let us face it, when you’re one user, the benefits of a server don’t outweigh the costs of purchasing and maintaining one.
However, there’s a point in which you’ve got a couple of computers to handle, different employees who should have selected access to documents and possibly databases or applications. At this point, the benefits of a dedicated server could be realized.
What does a server do?
In tiny businesses, it’s common to refer to this thing in the corner for a server without knowing what it really does. Occasionally one server will manage many distinct services and other times it is better to have different servers for applications or applications.
A frequently used expression is print and file server. In cases like this access documents and controls to files and all those folders via distinct shares and permissions. The same is true with printers. Instead of having to try and figure out which printer to access or how to put in it, users can simply click add printer and the host presents them with a list of printers and the necessary drivers, without having to await an administrator to install a printer in their opinion.
Servers really frequently perform critical networking purposes like DHCP (obtaining an IP address so your computer can talk to other servers and computers ) and DNS (411 for turning memorable names to IP addresses). It is likely to setup VPN services to permit secure remote access to local resources.
Remote server can be used to host a variety of applications, from fiscal applications like QuickBooks to communications programs like Exchange (email, calendars) or chat apps.
In most businesses with Windows based computers, Microsoft Active Directory will run on a host. At it’s most elementary level, Active Directory (AD) generates a catalogue of consumers, computers and other devices and services and presents that information when necessary to computers and users. AD is what decides if it’s possible to login into a pc (the one you normally use or a different one) and that which accessibility to provide you. There are a number of safety features which provide security and management. Altering a security setting is one thing, but can be quite burdensome, if you own multiple, keeping up with compliance requirements. With the continuous threat of malware along with crypto-ware, it is imperative to keep systems locked down as you can.
Among the best methods to help prevent viruses and other malware is to keep systems current. Windows Server Update Services gives the ability to manage the upgrades to be installed as well as audit the compliance level of those computers.
So, do I actually need a server?
In case you have more than a couple of computers, managing the user accounts and safety will be problem some at some stage. Inevitably a password will probably get changed and not recorded and hours will be spent troubleshooting the issue or worse, the system is going to have to be restored from a backup or reconstructed and information will likely be lost. This might cost your organization hundreds of dollars in support hours that are billable and also lost revenue depending on which computer it had been.
Even if everything you use is in the cloud, there’s likely a business case for getting some local file shared or storage applications. With Dropbox or even Google Drive, QuickBooks can not be employed for example, at least not for access. And, remember those updates. You’ll need some way to manage updates and you probably know you can’t rely upon a set and forget mindset they will automatically install without anything being done by you.
Compliance with industry requirements such as PCI-DSS and HIPAA typically requires the ability to deploy and enforce policies throughout your network of computers. While it may be possible to alter settings on each computer, the cost savings will cover the investment at a server installation that is basic.
Once we started out in Motionwe didn’t have a server as it was just two of usbut before we hired a third worker, we spent in a server. Servers are going to be more expensive than a typical computer because they are constructed with redundancy but they do not need to bankrupt your business.
Every business is unique and has their own reasons why they may or may not need a server. Schedule some time to talk with your CIO. You can get a completely free business consultation using a CIO seasoned in providing solutions if you do not have a CIO.