The world of small biz tech is awash in low-cost, high-powered, easy-to-install computer servers designed especially for small business. For example, HP and Dell have both rolled out new small business server offerings putting these powerful devices within reach of many small companies for the first time. The HP ProLiant – small enough to sit on or under a desk and priced at just $329 – is a great starter server aimed at businesses with up to 10 employees. Meanwhile, Dell’s new R415 and R515 PowerEdge servers pack an even greater storage (up to 8 TB), speed and reliability punch, starting at about $1,200.
But how do you know if a server is suitable for your business? Here are 10 tipoffs:
1) You have multiple PCs. Bottom line: if you need two or more PCs (or Macs) in your business, it’s already time to consider a server. By storing and organizing documents and data in one place, you’ll be able to access and share files easily.
2) Running software is vital. I you have important business-related software applications you need to run on more than one computer, a server can help. No need to waste time and money installing software (and frequent updates) on each individual PC.
3) Employees can’t share software, computing power and broadband access. A server lets employees share documents and software, access company databases and share broadband internet. A server will help you store and organize documents and avoid multiple-version confusion so you always have access to what you need, when you need it.
4) Customers think your business is owned by Go Daddy. If you’re still using one of the mass market website hosting companies such as GoDaddy and you want your company website to break out of that cookie-cutter mold, using a server to host your own site will present a more professional image and let you build a better web presence. Ditto for email.
5) You do business outside the office: If you work from home, travel frequently or have mobile or remote workers, a server will allow you and your employees to remotely connect to your company network and access information and resources no matter where you are.
6) You’re drowning in wires and cables: If you have two or more computers that share access to peripherals, such as printers and fax machines, it may be time for a server. Not only will a server help you eliminate the mess of excess cords, it also saves the cost of buying them.
7) Your business creates and/or stores lots of data: Even today’s lowest priced small business services offer tons of storage space, and the processing speed to help you get at it quickly.
8) Your PCs are going gray: Whether you want to replace your old PCs or just help them function better, a server can help. Using a server to shift files from an old PC to a new one is a cinch. This frees up memory and storage, helping older PCs function better.
9) You want better backup and stronger security: If you have valuable files and data that can’t be replaced, a server will help protect them from loss and corruption. You’ll be able to back up information easily and restore files that were accidentally deleted or misplaced. A server also lets you more easily restrict access to sensitive information, such as financial records and personnel information, by storing it away from prying eyes.
10) You want to look better to your customers and accountant. A server lets you easily add powerful new software solutions and platforms — such as customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting programs — which allow you to schedule group meetings, share financial information, and manage clients and vendors.
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Filed Under: BizTech
About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.