What’s a Server, and Why Does my Small Business Need One?
We’re glad you asked. Servers are, at heart, places to store and access data. They facilitate data exchanges, the basis for nearly all Information Technology (IT). It’s highly likely your business already uses a server of some kind, even if you don’t realize it.
So why do you need one? Servers are a vital part of any company’s growth strategy. After all, your business depends on lots of factors for its success. Some of those assets are internal, like stocking the right products and hiring the best people. You also depend on external services, such as those supplied by public utilities and corporate partnerships.
But where does a server fall on that scale of investment? To answer, here’s a little story to illustrate how a business’s choices in this area can affect its growth and success.
The owner of Tiny Biz Inc. has a great business idea, but only a personal residence to launch it from. Products, office supplies, and equipment have to be stored with friends and family initially (including Great Aunt Sally across town).
The IT angle: when “free” online options for things like email are used, the data is stored on servers outside of your business’s control, potentially at risk of hacking or skimming.
The Down Side: while a leak in Aunt Sally’s attic could damage shipments to current customer; a breakdown in technology will prevent new customers from making purchases in the first place. Also, while in both cases the space might be free, it’s limited and will eventually run out.
The Bottom Line: dependence on free storage, be it physical or virtual, leaves a business open to losses without any quick means of recovery.
Sales pick up, the team expands, and eventually the time comes for Tiny Biz to get serious and move to a commercial property. The proud owner and staff hold a grand opening to celebrate their success.
The IT angle: moving to a hosted server under the supervision of IT experts means the business now has the perks of server ownership, including a disaster recovery plan, without the risk of error or the burden of upkeep.
The Down Side: a good storefront rental, just like good server management, can be a substantial expense, and in an imperfect world even the best of the best may have occasional problems. Just like a good landlord, though, a good IT server host shows its true value when disaster strikes.
The Bottom Line: sound storage investment ensures that the work of emergency recovery is someone else’s problem.
We know, we know: the economy is a tough place to compete right now. As a small business you have to think about the bottom line. Maybe you still feel that an investment in enterprise-level IT isn’t the same (or as necessary) as other business expenses. Well, here’s a partial list of the advantages a good hosted server can provide:
- Automatic backup of business data and simple recovery features.
- Automatic management of your organization’s Internet domain name.
- Extensive email management and archiving.
- Quality file organization and access, with the ability to share internal documents and coordinate calendars no matter where you are.
- Control of who can see what files within your organization.
- Included enterprise level security from hackers, viruses and other malicious attacks.
Any of these items sound vital to your business? Then you’ll need to plan and budget accordingly, moving from the “barely getting by” phase of business operations to a true server solution. Just imagine what risks you might run if you left property security up to chance, or simply went with the absolute cheapest option out there.
Unfortunately, this mindset is how a lot of businesses view their server assets; namely, the absolute cheapest option available. It’s not until an emergency occurs that a business generally realizes the value that a hosted server, and a team to manage them, provide. According to a study by CA Technologies and Coleman Parkes Research, IT downtime and recovery lead to a collective $26.5 billion in lost revenue for one year, averaging $159,331 per business. The saddest part of this whole situation? The monthly price of a hosted server, when considering all that it does to enable your business, is an affordable op ex.
Servers are an investment that can really provide value to businesses of all sizes, and are important for overall growth and expansion. We’d love to help your business get a better handle on this important resource: just contact us to get started. No matter what you decide, a server is really just another tool meant to help you focus on your real priority: growing your business.