Does My SMB Need a Server?
#1 File and Network security
The most important role of a file server is the network security it provides. By creating individual user and group accounts, rights can be assigned to the data stored on the network preventing unauthorized users from accessing materials they shouldn't be viewing. For example, the sales team doesn’t need access to employee personal records which should only be accessible by HR.
#2 Increased reliability; decreased workflow interruptions
Many servers are equipped with redundant power supplies. With a secondary power supply running in tandem, the loss of one of the power supplies doesn't affect normal system operations. The same goes for a server's storage system. Unlike an average desktop PC that uses a single hard drive, a server will typically use multiple hard drives working in a RAID configuration to prevent data loss or an interruption in workflow. In addition, many servers are also equipped with hot swappable hard drives and power supplies. These hot swappable components allow you to replace faulty hardware without interrupting the entire office. In addition, since all employee data is being stored on the network, if a user's workstation fails mid-workday, employees can access the same files from another workstation.
#3 Centralized data storage and shared resources
With a network server, all of the users on the network can make use of various network resources right from their desks, increasing efficiently. Some of these resources include the following:
- Centralized data storage (RAID Array)
- Network Attached Storage (NAS) Devices
- CD/DVD Towers
- Printers and Fax servers
#4 Virus Management
One of the greatest threats to your network is the possibility of infection from viruses, spyware and spam. So having good, updated, anti-virus software installed on your systems is a necessity. In an office of 10 people or less, systems can be maintained individually. Anything more than that, though, can become a real burden. In those circumstances, an anti-virus package that combines workstation and server virus protection into a single solution makes more sense.
#5 Centralized Backup
All businesses should backup their data on a regular basis. By having all of your company and employee data stored in one location, backups can be performed reliably and quickly. So you'll never need to worry about what data is stored on what workstation as you do in a peer-to-peer network. Today, almost any media type can be used for backup purposes. In addition to the traditional tape drive, CDs, DVDs, removal storage and even Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are acceptable. Your choice of media will depend on your specific backup requirements. Depending on your budget and your data retention needs, any of these would be an acceptable solution. Make sure you have at least a scheduled weekly backup, although a daily would be better.
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