Building out a tech infrastructure may be as simple as sending files together between two personal laptops—ones that are as at home on the couch as they are in the office. For other small businesses, especially those involved in data or digital production, the question of when to build out a custom server may be much closer to the front of your mind.
What is a server? How can it help my business? And how will I know when I really need one? We’re hoping to tackle a few of these questions here today.
What is a Server?
A server is a computer or system that (across a network) distributes resources, data, services, or applications to other computers known as clients. In theory, computers are called servers when they share resources with client machines. Web servers, mail servers, and virtual servers are among the several types of servers. At the same time, an individual system can contribute resources and take resources from another system. This means that a device may function as both a server and a client.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Suffice to say, servers are the trading floor of computer networks—where connections are made, processes are delegated, and machines connect with user or other machine requests.
Examples may include mail servers (for connecting mail clients), proxy servers (controlling access to networks), or media servers (sharing multimedia through a digital server rather than local downloading), among other types.
Now that we know what it is, how can one help a small business? To answer this question, it comes down to the scale of your organization and how your current resources stack up.
When is a Server Necessary?
Understanding the scale of your operations is a tricky task—when can you streamline and do more with less, and when do you build up the infrastructure for future growth? These are conversations to have with your I.T. professional, but it comes down to a central consideration:
What is holding your organization back?
For organizations that require a tremendous amount of processing power (AI, data management, intensive film editing, banking, etc.), it is often beneficial to expand your digital infrastructure without expanding your server room—this allows for a better-staffed office, fewer security considerations, and even lower rent in the case of multiple offices.
In this case, a computing server dedicated to high-performance computing might be able to handle your needs remotely via cloud connections.
Suppose your work requires you to transfer multiple video files a day for collaboration. In that case, a media server might offer you a smoother workflow and faster turnarounds. Sometimes, even morale gains are worth investing in—when is the last time you’ve checked with your team regarding the technical roadblocks that hold back productivity? You may be surprised at what you learn.
In short, the answer to owning your own server comes back to your goals and capacities. Renting or outsourcing is a low-cost method for the short-term, and many companies are experienced in migrating you onto, off of, or between platforms safely, securely, and quickly.
If the benefits of switching to a server outweigh the costs of lessened productivity, then you are in a great position to consider a network expansion or augmentation process. Even a small business may have a lot to gain in switching to a dedicated server for specific company functions. Today, we are lucky to have multiple options regarding remote servers, cloud computing, or specialized computers.
Building your ideal network will rarely happen overnight. Modern companies (especially B2B or medical) must remain agile to weather changes in the business landscape (hello, pandemic). Servers are one of the many tools that can either open your doors or chain you to specific processes.
Before embarking on a new technology strategy, consider working with professionals like Managed Services Group. Our background in providing high-quality services that articulate, refine, and deliver on company missions make us the ideal resource for small-to-medium-sized businesses and medical groups looking to expand their digital operations. Contact us today for a free consultation and plan for your growing business.