When you have a business and it has expanded beyond 3 employees, you will need to start looking into building or buying a server computer for your office.
The server, in this sense, refers to the server hardware, the software, and, of course, the functionality of both. If you have ever worked for a larger business and the computer server has gone down, you will know how important this piece of equipment is to the running of the computer system.
However, if you are not very tech-minded, this is nothing short of an intimidating task. Which server is the best option in 2022? Should you have an onsite server? Or, is it worth looking into a secure cloud-based server instead?
Many of the larger brand names of computers can offer server platforms to small business owners but, like many things, your business needs will vary from another small business that may be using the same server.
So, it is worth considering what the needs of your business are. Will you be using the server to send emails to clients? Do you need your workforce to be able to connect remotely? This is an important factor in 2022 following the lockdowns and most businesses now offering remote working. Are you going to use the server for a data backup? Plus, of course, how much space do you need to have to spare?
In this short article, you will be guided through what to look for in a server for your small business, to help you choose the right option for you and your team.
Authentication for a Domain?
If you want to have a server that allows your staff to log in from anywhere, and requires authentication via usernames, passwords, and security settings, you will need to ensure that any server you choose is virtualization capable. Ideally, it will be any 64-bit CPU, 4GB, and RAM-based model.
As mentioned before, this is ideal if you want a server to offer remote access, but it is also perfect for companies and businesses that oversee personal client or customer information that needs to be kept encrypted and secure. There are many servers at lenovo.com with this feature, so be sure to check them out.
Providing Email Services
If you run a business that requires the use of sending lots of emails to clients, staff, or customers, then you will likely want a server that can offer email services. You will want a server to have messaging-specific protocols, like SMTP, POP3, or IMAP. These are the best options for sending and receiving large messages via email.
There should ideally be hardware dedicated to this and you should look for a server that has similar specifications as a filer server.
A good example of a large server with partial public access that allows staff to have their own login details and email address is the NHS in the UK. Staff can log in to read work-related emails but can also use their credentials to get access to patient files and information.
Of course, that server is huge, but even for a smaller business, it may be ideal to have a server that can offer your staff their own email addresses. That way, you can provide a better work-life balance, and it reduces the chances of external sources hacking into your server.
If you run a business that requires you and your team to run data analysis, archive information, and files, or the storage of information, then you will want to use a server that will allow you to build upon an individual database. Of course, if you operate a business wherein you will be sending these files to others via email, they will need to be able to gain access to the database remotely.
To achieve this, you will need to look for hard drives that are rated for fast writes and can offer a read-only database that others cannot edit without your permission.
Website or Not?
Many businesses in 2022 are looking to move their files online. That way, more people can access them if they need to. Think of websites like dental surgeries that offer patients who have signed-in access to booking their own appointments.
The Server Itself
Okay, so now that you have the specs nailed down on what you need in a server, it is time to look at the physical aspects of this machine. Going back to the NHS for a moment, the server used by this service is large enough to fit into a small house. Very impressive, but a bit of overkill if you want a smaller server to manage a few email addresses and databases.
Generally, servers come in 3 different shapes: tower, rackmount, and blade.
These resemble the old-fashioned towers on a desktop computer. The only difference is that they have the server components inside rather than RAM and CPUs.
These are ideal if you have a lot of room to store them. They have vents to prevent overheating, and many businesses that have tower servers choose to store them somewhere where they can be easily accessed. Just be aware that they take up a bit more room than the other 2 options.
Ever heard of a rack chassis? A rackmount server is installed into one and the chassis itself is usually several feet high, allowing it to store multiple servers in slots. This option is ideal for businesses who want to run several servers at the same time, but don’t have a warehouse to store them all in.
Blade-based servers also require a chassis to store them, but they manage to be even more space efficient. However, the scales of the blade are kept closer together, which means, while it is ideal and space efficient to keep the chassis in a cupboard, this type of server is more prone to overheating on a hot day. So, most companies who opt for blade-based servers keep them external and keep them cool using fans.