Your First Server: Why your small business needs one



Successful small businesses have a resilient, innovative, can-do attitude, even in the face of the disruption caused by a global pandemic. Right now, they need their IT systems to provide greater efficiencies, uptime and reliability, while ensuring business continuity as situations change. Here, a small server can be invaluable, offering them cost-efficient processing, storage and security, along with a platform to grow.

According to a recent IDG survey, the pandemic continues to alter tech roadmaps across a range of organisations. 59% of those surveyed said that the effects of the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts, while 54% are adding new tech projects to their roadmap to create competitive advantage amidst industry shifts. 38% of small organizations are actively increasing their tech budget, while a further 48% are maintaining theirs. And while this might not seem relevant to a small, agile business, who may have one or two devices to support, those requirements can change. As the business grows, more people join and the volume of work builds up, some basic IT infrastructure becomes a necessity, and a first server a wise investment.

Some think of servers as an enterprise technology or wonder if they still make sense in a world of the ubiquitous cloud. Yet, if anything, they’ve only become more relevant. If you have multiple computers in the business, with employees sharing documents or working between different PCs and on the move, then a server gives you a central place where you can securely store and share folders, documents and other resources. This becomes even more important as companies adopt remote working or hybrid working practices, with employees working between the office and from home, or from central work hubs or the road. Managing a mess of files through different devices, cloud services, USB memory sticks and email chains creates new security risks and sows confusion. With a server you can keep everything organised and centralised, but easily accessible to users wherever and whenever they’re working.

A server also gives you a more secure way to manage your IT. Once organised and managed, files become significantly easier to safeguard, with firewalls, automated system updates and anti-malware protection to protect your assets. It’s easier to audit who’s storing and accessing what and when, while having one central resource makes for simple, effective backup and recovery.

Most of all, a server puts you in control. You can manage your IT resources and how they’re used, and you know and can anticipate any long-term costs. If you need more capacity, hard disks are cheap and easy to add. The server soon becomes a hub for your entire IT network, giving you the resources you need for future growth. And while managing your burgeoning IT infrastructure might seem complex or burdensome, it doesn’t have to be. With Microsoft’s Windows Admin Centre and remote access toolkits, you can manage your server from anywhere using simple and intuitive tools, which is particularly useful for home-based IT managers.

A platform with potential

Yet a server isn’t just a repository for files, but a platform on which you can do more. You can run and manage your own email systems or share access to peripherals such as printers and fax machines. A server gives you a space to develop and deploy a company Intranet or build and test a business website. And with CRM or Accounting applications, you can transform how your business operates or organise and secure your customer contacts and data, in turn ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation – the Europe-wide data protection regulation which still governs how UK businesses use, store and protect personal data.

While buying and setting up your first server might still seem intimidating, help is available. There are excellent resources available online to help you choose the right hardware for your business, then set it up. Specialist server manufacturers, like Dell, now manufacturer entry-level servers that can get you up and running with the minimum of cost, time and effort, with support throughout the process. In Q4 2020, Dell Technologies was the top server manufacturer by shipments, shipping approximately 16.5% of all servers globally according to analyst firm IDC.

Dell’s class-leading servers are available at a surprisingly low initial cost; you can find something affordable that covers your needs right now, and has the scope to scale and upgrade as those needs expand.

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