You’ve done it – you have your business, you have your team, you’ve established your company. You’ve created your company and are now in the midst of planning its physical creation. The nitty-gritty, the technical work.
Now comes the question of how to choose a server for your small business. Whether you are internet savvy, looking for a quick refresher, or you need all the help you can get, this article will look at what a server is, whether you need one for your company, what to look for and how to set it up.
What is a Server?
A server is a type of computer, the differences being that it lacks a monitor, keyboard, mouse… even a graphics and audio card! Instead, it is a powerful processor with high-speed ram, plenty of hard drive space, and a network interface. This makes it faster at data processing and physical components upgrading – meaning that the machine is built with current and future needs in mind. In short, a server offers more processing power and performance than regular PCs. They are used to manage network services such as email, threat management, internet connectivity, remote access, and data backups.
Does your Small Business need a Server?
Short answer, yes. You’re going to need a server, given that your company is likely more than 3 people. If you operate a bespoke website design service, keeping you and your clients data centralised gives you more control over how it is handled. It also protects you from data fragmentation, which happens when people work on separate duplicate copies of the same file. They also facilitate the process of sharing content across multiple locations. They are designed for remote administration, where configuration and troubleshooting can be handled from a distance.
There are many benefits of having a server for hosting your small business; they help file and network security, are more reliable, are a hub for data storage and shared resources, help with virus protection and management, and are also a backup center.
- Security: A server bars unauthorized users from accessing restricted data, ensuring the privacy of your employees. This security offered by a server is also important for those whose work includes software development services, as it allows the business to keep vital and confidential information secure at all times.
- Reliability: It will decrease your workflow interruptions in case of the loss of a power source – as the system possesses many. This also prevents data loss and facilitates the ease of parts replacement.
- Shared resources: All users on a network can use its resources, which increases efficiency and a maintained workflow.
- Virus protection: When a company becomes more crowded, it is useful to have the antivirus installed on the server rather than on each employee’s desktops. A package combining the workstation and the server is more useful.
- Backup: Data should be backed up regularly. However, should some of it be lost on an individual desktop, it will have been backed up on the server, thus meaning that the information can be recovered.
How to choose a Server?
Some businesses choose to use cloud-based servers. Those are operated by third-party cloud companies from whom you rent space in the form of a virtual server. The benefit of those is that they are set up quickly, according to your needs, and can be tweaked as your needs change. The third-party company handles all of it for you, though, so if anything happens to your server, you won’t be able to do much about resolving it. The unflattering side of this solution is that the flexibility and 24/7 support does not come cheap, especially as your company grows, so do your technical needs.
So, in-house physical servers are currently still a viable option. It is up to you whether you buy it pre-made or build it from scratch – the end result will match your company’s needs, and if you have a tech-savvy person on your team, you might end up saving a lot of money with a dedicated server.
If you choose to go for a physical server, two questions can help you settle what kind of server you need:
- Where will you physically put the server?
If you are looking to have it in a data center, a rack server might be the best option. Since, most small businesses don’t own their personal data center, sharing space in someone else’s is more likely.
If you want to stack servers under your employees’ desks or hidden in plain sight in the middle of the office, then a tower server will serve you better. They are quieter and take up less space.
- What is the temperature in the place you want to put the server in?
Rack servers are bigger and store more inside of them. This means an accumulation of heat, thus making the air warmer. Small businesses usually don’t have access to raised floors and chillers, but server rooms will likely be air-conditioned. If the server ends up in a temperature-controlled room, a rack server is best.
Now that you know what a server is, how it is used, and how to choose it; how do you set up a small business server? The setup is made of a few steps.
- Server hardware and software integration.
- Documenting your network.
- Turning the server into a Domain Controller.
- Customizing your network.
- Setting up your workstations.
- Setting up the computer.
- Setting up the printer.
- Organizing and filing data
You are now equipped with all the knowledge that will allow you to choose the best server for your small business. Remember, you can build your own custom rackmount server, or buy one pre-made, and both need to be created according to your company’s current needs while thinking ahead – the whole point of a server is for it to last you a long time. Assess whether it makes sense for you to invest in a physical server or if a cloud-based monthly subscription through a third-party website feels more comfortable. And most of all, good luck with your business, and thank you for the read!