Whether it’s dealing with customers, technical issues, or other employees, it’s important for everyone involved in a small business to know where they can find the resources they need to get the job done. Investing time and energy into any task that takes away from focusing on the core business simply cannot be tolerated in a successful small business. Every month small businesses devote countless hours to tasks that drain their precious resources. Time can’t be wasted searching for the right file or form or updating PC software, for example.
Investing in a server and creating a server-based network for the small business creates a number of efficiencies. A server changes the way that small businesses handle information by making small businesses more efficient in the way they communicate with partners and employees, collaborate on projects, and secure the information that is vital to the business.
Here are five ways that buying that first server for the small business will increase efficiency and allow employees to concentrate on the core business.
1. Easier Access to Information
A server provides a centralized, secure repository for all of the important files that make small businesses go. Administrators can create, edit, and delete registered users of server-based networks to help control which users have access to the information. Applications that live on servers, and the information they contain, are available to users with accounts for those applications.
Using secure remote access technologies like virtual private networks allows employees to access information from laptops when they aren’t physically in the office. The ability to remotely connect to a server-based network means even a small business with one employee can benefit from using a server if they spend a lot of time on the road, visiting clients, or working from job sites. Gaining access to e-mail and information from mobile devices like a BlackBerry or Windows Phone requires a server to manage users and security. Small business employees need to quickly and easily locate the information they need regardless of their location. Introducing a server-based network keeps information organized and accessible to those who need it with more reliability and security than peer-to-peer networks and ad hoc methods of storing information.
2. Gain Control of E-Mail
Having a server allows small businesses to create, use, and control e-mail addresses on their own domain, which gives even the smallest of businesses a more professional image than using a free e-mail service like Yahoo! or Hotmail. Small businesses can turn to a hosting provider to get e-mail using their domain name, but like any outsourcing relationship, that means giving up some amount of control.
Buying a server and hosting e-mail lets small businesses control the creation of e-mail addresses, aliases, and distribution lists. This level of control makes it easier for e-mail to grow with the company. Even more important than the e-mail addresses is the e-mail data. Businesses of all sizes rely on e-mail for communication with employees, customers, partners, and suppliers. Maintaining control over all of those communications is not only convenient, but it has legal implications as well.
Business working in a number of industries, such as financial services and pharmaceuticals, are subject o industry and government regulations that require that they store electronic communications and make them available for legal proceedings when requested. In some instances, businesses that work with companies in these industries may be subject to these electronic discovery requirements as well.
A server allows small businesses to maintain, archive, and search their electronic communications without relying on a third party to store and retrieve the information. This data portability is important for businesses with plans to grow or working in industries with compliance regulations.
3. Better Collaboration
It’s easier than ever for people to collaborate on projects, whether they’re working with customers, partners, or co-workers. Thanks to a number of technologies, it’s entirely possible – and not really unusual – for small businesses to be run by employees working from home offices that rarely see each other in person.
E-mail is usually the method of choice for sharing documents like spreadsheets and presentation, but when it comes to collaborating on the creation of documents and files e-mail is possibly the most inefficient method of collaboration since the Pony Express.
Rather than e-mailing documents back and forth and incorporating edits, a server-based document repository that allows users to check out documents, make and track edits, and even host team workspaces creates a more efficient method of collaboration. Microsoft SharePoint is one example of an application with a document repository. Windows SharePoint Services are included with Microsoft Small Business Server software.
Small businesses that work with large files in industries like engineering, design, and media will find that a server-based repository for their CAD files, rich media designs, and audio and video files makes transporting the files easier because they’re often too big for e-mail.
A server-based repository makes collaboration more efficient whether the collaborators are across the hall or across the globe. By controlling the access and security, helping track the changes, and supplying a place on the network where collaborators can discuss ideas, a server allows collaboration to focus on the exchange of ideas and the creation of information, rather than the transporting, tracking, and storing of documents and files.
4. Centralized Data Protection
Small businesses that use peer-to-peer networks to store and share information are relying on the security of individual PCs in the organization. Using a server-based network, on the other hand, provides a secure repository for information and helps keep the entire network secure.
Data protection on a server-based network starts with user accounts, controlled by an administrator, that allow users to access the network, applications, and information. User accounts can be set to allow different levels of access, so users can only access the information they really need. Like PCs and laptops, servers need to be defended from malicious attack. But servers can also decide which PCs, laptops, and devices can access the network. Machines that don’t meet the security bar set for the network can be denied access. Read more: https:/