It is always nice to go to a fine restaurant and receive great service from your server. I do not think you would have the same experience if you had to get up and get the food yourself, that is why we go out to eat. Many small businesses are still eating at home. They are still operating their business without the benefits of server based computing.
Some of you might think your business is too small for a server (maybe you are a solo entrepreneur or just starting your business). There might even be a few of you, who have a staff of 5 or 10, who feel you can get by sharing files via email, USB, CDs, or some other means. However, every company, no matter how small, does need a server in its early stages to ensure you are ready for growth.
What is a server? A server is an important part of a network that does a number of critical functions, which can include, providing shared access to files, control who has access to the network, provide central email, and collaboration management. In regards to file sharing, the server is the central “filing cabinet” of your company’s information. If individual users save files to their individual computer hard drive, the files are not easily accessible to others or if something goes wrong with the computer your access to the files on it will be affected. With a server based network, if the computer is turned off or hard drive fails, you can still access the files. A server can have a built in back up system and along with your IT partner, you can create a disaster recovery plan. There are also many applications the server does that will greatly enhance your business’ productivity and communication.
Since your server is such an integral part of your network, it is important that you work with an expert to ensure it is maintained. In the same way you regularly maintain your car, your server needs regular maintenance too. You don’t wait until all the warning lights on your car light up before you fill it with gas, change the oil, etc. Here comes the shameless plug, this is where I come into play. You need a partner that will proactively schedule their time to come to your office and perform critical preventative maintenance.
So, it is time to take your business out for a nice meal. Your business might not need to eat at a 5 star restaurant, maybe just a nice time at a family establishment. Either way, as food is important to our physical health, a server is as important to the health/growth of your business.
The author, Keith Marchiano, works for MainBrain, a premier provider of managed IT services for both Macs and PC’s.