Does your office need a server?

Network LayoutI am sure that many of you will agree, there’s a fine balance between making a wise investment and wasting money on technology.

For smaller businesses, most technology purchases are major decisions with the advantages and costs best thoroughly understood before making a decision. Benefits to consider might include reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, creating revenue opportunities, or be related to the risks posed by not having the technology.
 
One of the most significant steps a small or medium sized business can make is to introduce a network server. In the past, the high cost and limited functionality of servers has made them too expensive for smaller enterprises to consider. However, with falling prices and increased features, many businesses are finding a network server an invaluable tool.
 

What does a Network Server do?

Traditional servers allow a group of computers to run in collaboration with one another – sharing files, programs, storage space, and printers. Newer servers provide additional features and benefits relevant to today’s business needs. In particular, a server facilitates improved Internet and email access, data protection, and helps reduce the amount of paper in your office – all of which are important for the smooth running of most small and medium sized businesses.

 So how can your businesses benefit from a Server?
 

Internet and Email Access

RouterJust a few years ago, this was a major factor for installing a server. Today, the need to add a Proxy Server to share broadband for the office has been replaced by a simple DSL/Cable router you can pick up from a local Computer store for about $100. This simple device also has made networking a snap, with a built-in DHCP server, the nodes and IP addressing almost eliminated the common IP addressing many of us techies learned in school.

 Email has also been simplified with the popularity of domain servers, and webservers that double as mail servers, and can be applied as low as $20/month for the office.
 

Access to the Internet can give your business a real competitive advantage – all of which is lost if time is wasted by sharing modems and dialing for a connection. A network server gives you a single, constant Internet connection that everyone can share. This means that email can be sent and received in “real time”, and by everyone (not just on one designated email computer).

Data Protection

A server provides you with a centralised, secure place to store all your data. Complete backups can be easily made, along with controlling who has access to the information. A server also protects the network against viruses, by scanning all the files that are stored and transferred across the network.

Consolidating your office files on a File Server can simplify backup strategies and offer a stable solution for maintaining office documents, database, and files.
 

Paperless Office

A server reduces the amount of paperwork in the office through internal email and electronic faxes. Rather than waste time with the fax machine, staff can send and receive faxes directly from their desktop PC’s. Documents are all stored electronically which can be quickly and easily accessed for future reference.

 One popular outcome of electronic documentation is ‘the lifestyle choice’ – an ability to work from anywhere. Simply dial into the network to check email, read and send faxes, edit or print documents.
 

Your business will benefit from a server if you:

  • Have more than 6 computers
  • Have a database shared by your office
  • File sharing and consolidating storage
  • Want to regularly share printers and files
  • Value your data and want a complete backup
  • Require your computers to run more reliably
  • Value staff productivity
  • Want to work away from the office

Your business will not benefit greatly from a server if you:

  • Have less than 6 computers
  • Do not want to regularly share files or printers
  • Only require Internet access to one computer
  • Do not store much valuable informations

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