Does Your Small Business Need a Server?
If you’re a small business owner with multiple computers, it's time to consider investing in a server. A server will keep your data secure and organized, and will help you run your business more efficiently and professionally. It’s your single solution for email, Internet connectivity, internal Web sites, remote access, mobile device support, file and printer sharing, backup and restore, and more — all in one package — to make your small business as efficient as possible.
When It's Time
Know when it's time to invest in a server:
- Are you using two or more computers in your business? If so, then it’s time for a server. By storing and organizing data in a core location, you can access and share files easily and manage business information more efficiently.
- Do you have a mobile workforce? Businesses with a mobile workforce (employees who work from home or frequently travel) definitely need a server so that employees can remotely connect to the company network and access information and resources, no matter where they are.
- Do your employees share documents between multiple computers? If so, there is a significant risk of losing important files and of having multiple versions of vital documents. A server will help keep files managed and provide a centralized location to store and organize important documents, assuring constant access to what you need, when you need it.
- Can valuable files and data be replaced? A server will protect files from loss and corruption. You can easily back up information and restore files that are accidentally deleted or misplaced, and you'll never have to worry about a crashed hard drive wiping out your system again.
Why It's Time
Choose to invest in a server for the following reasons:
- It enables your employees to share software tools and access company databases on- and off-site. As your business grows, you can better manage additional computers and software applications, as well as control access to certain information that employees and devices have.
- It enables you to restrict access to sensitive information, such as financial records and personnel information, by storing it away from prying eyes. It will also allow you to better manage firewalls and virus protection, especially when you have a mobile workforce.
- It enables you to easily add platforms, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software and accounting programs, which enable you to schedule group meetings, share information, and manage clients and vendors. It also allows your employees to send group emails and faxes, and organize customer contacts and customer data in one location.
Tower, Rack or Blade
You can choose from the following three types of servers:
- Tower — This is the most basic of servers on the market. It costs and takes up as much space as the average desktop. Small businesses, without the capacity for a data room and having space concerns, would probably be best equipped with this type of server.
- Rack — This system stacks the servers in racks in much the same way that a CD rack stacks CDs. This is a space-saving option but is more suited for companies that are looking to maximize space in the data center. This type of server is better for a small business that is well-versed in the world of servers or a medium-sized business that requires more servers.
- Blade — This system is the most compact server of the bunch. This server was named for its ultrathin shape. Because it is compact, a blade server is still expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses, but IBM cited in an IDC study that said the blade server market would grow from $3 billion in 2005 to $11 billion in 2010.