So you’re playing around with the idea of buying a server, but you may be confused about what it can do for you, and if you need one at all. It’s a fine line to walk between making an investment and wasting money, so to help you this blog post will explain what a server can do for you.
First of all, let’s address the burning question of: what exactly is a server?
Well, almost every business, be they large or small, uses computers. As your business grows you begin to add more laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones to the mix. A server is a machine that allows you to organise your I.T. network; focusing programmes and applications into one central location, instead of working in isolation on individual devices. Not only that, a server facilitates internet and email access, allows multiple computers to share devices like printers, and provides an extra layer of protection for your business data.
Servers can be physical or virtual. Whilst physical servers are common, the growth of the internet has led to the development of virtual servers which exist in the Cloud. Virtual servers match physical servers in terms of benefits, but have some additional ones to sweeten the deal.
What are the signs that show it’s time to buy a server?
For many people, they know it’s time only after certain (often disastrous) signs have occurred. When you wish you could easily access a certain document located on Mary’s laptop, when you wish you’d backed up John’s desktop before he spilt coffee all over it, and when you wish that data co-ordination was simpler, then it’s time (and then some!) for you to buy a server.
The above doesn’t sound very pleasant to go through: losing time and money to inefficient I.T. setups, so the trick is to recognising when you need a server before you get to that point.
What can a server do for me?
A server is a great tool that delivers data management, security, co-ordination, easy access to programmes and information, and cost savings, 24/7 all year round.
When your employees are each using their own computer/laptop/mobile device to handle data, co-ordination can get sloppy. Emails are an inefficient way to share information, and having to share devices leads to frustration and time-wasting. A business server solves this problem by allowing each employee access to all the information they need, at the same time. Your team can access and update Word documents, Excel spread sheets, PowerPoint presentations (and so on) knowing that the information they have in front of them is the latest. Being able to access timely information whenever you want makes data management that much easier for everyone.
You can arrange your server so that the right people have the right access to the right stuff at the right time. Servers can be managed so that unauthorised individuals are denied access to certain types of information, e.g. your sales team doesn’t need to know what’s going on with payroll- that is reserved for the business owner and financial employees. A server also gives you piece of mind when it comes to back-ups. Since all the data is stored on a central network, if someone happens to lose or damage their laptop, the information they were working on is kept safe on the business server, allowing easy retrieval.
Every year small to medium businesses chew through thousands of pages of paper, for all sorts of documents. Paper is relatively cheap, but is hugely wasteful when everything has to be printed out (not to mention the price of ink isn’t going to go down without a fight). Business servers help reduce the costs of running an every-day office by cutting down on the amount of paper, ink, and stationary you use. Internal emails and electronic transmissions of documents serve as replacements for the physical copies that can easily be damaged or lost.
Virtual servers have the benefits above, as well as several more. With no physical server in the office you don’t have to deal with maintenance and upgrading, and they are also big space-savers, giving you more room for the things your office needs. Often virtual servers can prove to be the more cost-effective option for SMEs, who don’t have dedicated IT personnel to care for the business computers and servers. Outsourcing your server to an online server plan frees up your staff and reduces costs that would otherwise be spent on a physical server.
For small to medium businesses, a server can represent quite an investment. It’s not a decision for you to leap into blindly, and requires careful evaluation of actual needs. However, the benefits of a server are many, and should you choose to purchase one, you will find your business processes improving markedly.
If you would like to find out more about how a server (whether physical or virtual) can benefit your business, talk to the experts at Result IT. We can answer all your questions and give you the best advice to suit the needs of your particular business, as well as set it all up for you at a competitive rate.
Our IT service is unparalleled, so talk to us today!