There comes a time in the life of most businesses when the owner wonders if it is time to upgrade to a system-wide server. Having a server – a centralized “hub” to which all business technology is connected – denotes a major growth step for a business. But servers can be a significant investment, so the decision should be carefully considered, because not every business needs one.
Basically, a server functions much like a specialized computer, overseeing and ensuring all of the computers, devices and equipment connected to it can efficiently access shared information, systems and resources.
Early in the digital age, servers were viewed as expensive, complex and something only large organizations needed to manage their business communication technology. At that time, they were labor-intensive and often require a dedicated IT staff. Now, this is no longer the case. Modern servers are more streamlined and affordable than ever before.
Do I Need a Server?
So, how do you know if your business could benefit by having a server? There are several indications that can confirm it may be time to invest in one. Do any of these 11 signs apply to your business?
1. You Crave Uniformity
Perhaps up until now, you may have acquired computers, software and other peripherals gradually, piece-by-piece, but, as a business grows, this may no longer be cost-effective. If the role of technology in business communication has expanded to the point that downtime and system errors may put your business in jeopardy, it may be time for a server. Also, if you’re becoming frustrated by the lack of cohesion in your organization, that may also be a sign a company server is needed. It can help with consistency, connectivity, uniformity – while lowering the costs of one-off solutions.
2. You Have Multiple Employees and Are Still Growing
If you have more than two computers already operating in use in your business, you could potentially benefit from a server. This is especially true if your staff frequently share work-related information, and/or you're contemplating adding additional staff members in the near future.
3. You Have Shared Office Equipment and Resources
If your business uses multiple printers, scanners, fax machines and other peripherals, a server could help to bring more functionality, simplicity, security and productivity to your operations. Because a server is essentially a centralized manager, watching over operations, ensuring business functions and data are well organized, it can help tie all of the various equipment together.
4. You Desire a Higher Level of Security
If your organization deals with sensitive and/or irreplaceable data and files that reside on multiple computers, the “do I need a server” question is probably overdue. There is always the risk of a breach, and a server can play a key role in making sure your business data and files are more secure from corruption, loss or unauthorized access. It can also help give you more control over how much access will be granted to employees.
5. You Require Secure Access While Traveling
If your business requires you or your staff members to travel for work – or if staffers routinely work outside of the office – a server can provide a reliable and secure way to facilitate access to business files and data while employees are on the road or working remotely. A server enables your road warriors to log in remotely and access business data safely, securely and reliably.
6. You Need Reliable File Management
If you require the ability to back up key files on more than one computer, a server can help you accomplish this more effectively. It can also assist you in managing differing versions of the same basic file, and it can help you to restore any past versions of files if they happen to be needed. It can also facilitate employees seeking files that may have been accidentally deleted.
7. Your Business Requires a Customer Relationship Management Solution
Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows for more efficient handling of accounting information as well as communications for a growing database of clients and vendors. A server can assist in making sure your CRM is implemented and maintained effectively and consistently.
8. You Require More Accessible Sharing
A server can help provide an effective framework for a central communication system for your team. This will make it far easier to share information as well as schedule group meetings with staff, clients, and vendors. Sharing software and database updates will become easier as well.
9. You Want to Centralize Communication
A server allows you to host your own website and email system. You’ll be able to send secure faxes and emails, and you’ll also save on resources over time by hosting your own systems. Centralized communication also allows you to have faster access to your data and files across multiple computers.
10. You Want to Save Money
Buying elements and components of your business network piece-by-piece over time may end up costing more in the long run. If your business has grown to a point where it can benefit from the other points on this list – which are focused on improving efficiencies – it is likely that you will benefit by purchasing a server from a financial perspective as well.
11. You Want More Time for What You Do Best
Let’s face it – you probably didn’t start your business so you could spend a lot of time managing files and business security. A “piecemeal” type of system is usually more time consuming to manage; while a server automates many of business processes. This, in turn, allows you to spend more time doing what you love – running your business and planning for the future.
Still not sure whether or not your business needs a server? Better still, if your small business doesn’t need a full-blown IT department, the Geeks on Site team can serve as your IT support staff. Talk to a Geeks on Site representative today.