A server is a specialized computer that provides services or resources to other computers. And there are many types of servers depending on your needs. The most common are: a File/Print Server, a Mail Server (email), an Application Server (typically runs specific software programs), a Database Server, and a Web Server (hosts your website). But I want to concentrate on Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS). The SBS offers all of the above server functions and more, from two to 75 users. This specialized consolidation is a great advantage for small business owners, as it allows you to grow with the technology that you need now. This helps give you a competitive edge over other businesses not using technology.
Many small business owners, intimidated by a server-based network have opted to run their business on a simple peer-to-peer network. However this type of network is highly inefficient. By moving to a true server environment, businesses increase in efficiency, productivity and profitability and focus on their core business. Today, server technology is affordable and within the reach of the smallest businesses. Small businesses increasingly want the ability to compete on the same level as larger businesses. The SBS can help you do that, and more.
There are multiple signs for when it is time to get your first server. These are:
- · no efficient way to back up your data because it resides on multiple computers
- · valuable data getting lost, deleted or hard to find
- · multiple fax and copy machines within the office
- · computers cannot share files without email
- · poor data security – anyone can access any of your business files
- · you want to work remotely
- · no one knows anyone else’s schedule and they need to know
- · there are concerns about the security of your data, or network.
The Microsoft SBS has an amazing set of tools for your business: Centralized Backup (always important to get a good backup), Collaboration, E-mail Hosting (recover that accidently deleted file), Fax Sharing, File Sharing, Fire Wall, Monitoring and Reporting, Outlook Web Access (checking your email from any computer in the world), Patching and Updating Control (make sure every computer has the latest security patches), Print Sharing, Remote Web Workplace (work from anywhere in the world), User Access Control (control who can access what files/folders), Web Hosting, and many more tools.
By using SBS you will be able to increase communication with clients and staff, increase employee productivity, and keep firm control over the health of your server and network. And all of this will help reduce the costs to do business.
So what is the next step? Contact a solution provider to find out if you’re a good candidate to get your first server.
(First published 10/29/2009)