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Small Business Servers 101: What to Consider

Small Business Servers 101: What to Consider

Today, businesses can’t operate seamlessly without the automation of core functions. With the increasing size and complexity of operations, companies can’t afford to forgo state-of-the-art technological innovations. As a result, servers come in handy to support businesses with a host of functions. A server in a business environment performs the following functions: host emails, manage eCommerce tasks, maintain the company website, and deliver business enterprise applications. Furthermore, servers support data backup, data sharing, and data security.

There is a pervasive misconception that small businesses don’t require a server, which is deeply misinformed. Today, data is king in the business world, and virtually every business (including small businesses) relies on generated data to inform sales initiatives. That said, data storage and protection are pivotal for the modern business owner, as losing this sensitive data can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in revenue.

Because a server facilitates storage, control, security, and data sharing, small businesses nationwide must acknowledge a server’s criticality. As you browse for small-business-friendly servers, you’ll want to absorb the insider knowledge provided below.

Available Operating Systems

What are the server options available? Essentially, there are two choices for server operating systems (OS): Linux and Windows. Worldwide, Linux operating systems, like this one from SUSE, account for about 80 percent of web servers.

Linux is a free and open-source OS meaning that users can access the source code and make modifications to it. On the contrary, Windows is a licensed OS, and users cannot access the source code, limiting scalability. Other pros of the Linux servers include the following.

Advantages of Linux

Live Patching

With Linux, you can update the system without time-consuming rebooting. This convenience brings minimal disruptions to the business and maximizes server uptime.

Security

With the rise of cybercrimes, server security is paramount, given the crippling effects of a cyber-attack. Thankfully, Linux servers are secure due to their highly configurable nature.

Unlike Windows, Linux servers aren’t susceptible to viruses. In most cases, you don’t need to install an antivirus program with Linux.

Privacy

Are you looking for an OS that isn’t spying on you? Linux is the answer. Having Linux OS means that the system is solely yours. Additionally, Linux systems come with military-grade encryption to protect your data.

Customization

Since the source code is accessible, users can modify the code to suit their needs, which isn’t the case for Windows.

Cost

Most Linux distributions are available at no charge. You only pay for the support of their distros. For Windows, the license costs for the software are relatively high.

If you opt for a Windows server, you will enjoy the below benefits.

Advantages of a Windows Server

Compatibility

Most software is compatible with Windows even when the software is outdated or obscure.

Ease of Use

Windows is designed for non-tech savvy users, making it user-friendly.

Factors to Consider when Shopping for a Server

Having seen that the Linux OS has the edge over Windows, consider the Linux Enterprise Server a viable option for your business.

Whether looking to upgrade your server or to install a new one, it’s essential to strike a balance between functionality and value. With this in mind, there are technology needs you need to weigh before selecting a server, including the following.

Downtimes

If you’re using a centralized network and opt for cheap, low-quality servers, you’ll grapple with frequent downtimes. For stability, invest in robust servers equipped with redundancy features that reduce network failure.

The Complexity of Your Operations

If your operations are not data-intensive, less powerful servers will suffice in a small business context. Opting for a powerful server will increase your maintenance costs even though the server is running under capacity.

Scalability

Invest in a server that will accommodate the growth of your business. Get a server that will cater to both the immediate and future requirements of your business.

Final Word

When you finally decide on a server for your small business, industry experts recommend you host it in the cloud, as cloud infrastructure enables easy access to data regardless of your location. Moreover, it’s easy to implement, doesn’t require hardware, and is easy on your wallet. Help your business harness the power of cloud computing by switching today.


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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.