This 2023, experts forecast global IT spending to reach $4.6 trillion. Of this amount, an estimated $684.34 billion, or nearly 15%, will go toward IT devices.
Stand-alone small business servers are a perfect example of IT devices. While not as powerful as data centers, they can handle large computing requirements. These include file storage, website hosting, and software deployment, to name some.
Because of their roles, servers are among the costliest IT components. If you’re buying, expect to spend around $1,000 to $2,500 for a low-tier server. It can get more expensive for higher-spec devices, but it can also go down if you decide to “rent” them.
That said, it pays to know what exactly to look for when choosing a server for your small business.
Below, we’ve discussed the top considerations to help you make the right choice, so read on.
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Cloud vs. On-Premise Small Business Servers
Location is a vital consideration when choosing a server for small business operations. This is because servers take up physical space.
That’s also why many SMBs often start with cloud servers, which are virtual, not physical. They’re also technically “rental” or pay-as-you-use.
Thus, a cloud server may be a better option if you don’t have ample space on your premises. It can also help reduce your firm’s dependency on IT resources. Cloud providers also offer flexible service plans you can upscale or downscale.
The downside to using cloud servers is that it requires you to pay monthly fees for continued use. It also doesn’t provide you access or control to the server environment and its platform. So if it goes down or your firm’s internet service gets cut, so will your server connection.
On the other hand, on-premise types of servers cost more upfront. After all, you have to purchase the physical devices themselves. However, as the owner, you have complete control over them and their environment.
On-premise backup servers are especially crucial for storing and safeguarding critical data in-house. Therefore, they may be a better option if your business needs access to such information 24/7. Plus, they can be less expensive in the long run than a cloud subscription.
If you decide to get an on-premise server, the next consideration is its form factor. The term “form factor” describes the physical shape of the server’s chassis and housing. Each type also has unique space, maintenance, and usage requirements.
The most common form factors include tower, blade, and rackmount servers.
Tower servers are the most popular since they’re the easiest to configure. They can sit on top of or under a desk or the floor like a desktop computer tower. However, because they’re bulky, multiple units can occupy much more space.
Blade servers consist of central processing units (CPUs) and memory circuits. You can mount them with other blade servers to form a cluster within a blade chassis enclosure. They deliver high processing density but require shared storage and cooling for operation.
Rackmount servers are high-performance and highly configurable servers. They’re also space-saving, as you can mount multiple units on top of each other within a server rack. That makes them an ideal choice for SMBs with anticipated future growth.
Consider the functions you plan to run on your future small business server. This is essential to determine the specifications that best suit your firm’s needs.
Some examples of uses your business may require from a server include:
- Secure email
- Data storage and sharing
- Website or eCommerce store hosting
- Hosting software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps
- Business data backups
- Providing virtual desktops for remote workers
Next, factor in the operating requirements of the apps and software you plan to use with the server. Don’t forget to consider the number of users per application.
For many SMBs, a server with 64 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM) may suffice. As for storage capacities, ten terabytes (TB) are usually more than enough. However, if your firm exceeds that, you can expand the storage with extra hard drives.
If you’re unsure of your firm’s server requirements, consider hiring an IT consultant.
IT consultants are specialists who can help you determine your business’s system requirements. They do this by assessing all your server operational needs, both current and future. Their assessment can give you a clearer picture of the best server for your firm.
In 2022 alone, the U.S. had over 1,800 data compromise incident reports. While less than the previous year, they affected 40% more people, for a total of 422.1 million victims.
Without adequate server security, your business is at risk of victimization too. It’s not just your data on the line, either; so is the information of your employees, partners, and customers.
Thus, consider data and device security when looking for a server to invest in. If you plan to get an in-house server, ensure you pair it with an IT security professional. Remember: Protecting the data stored in an on-premise server is the owner’s responsibility.
Alternatively, you can outsource your on-premise server’s security to an MSP. MSP stands for a managed service provider. Although a third-party company, it can help with remote IT maintenance and safety.
If you opt for a cloud server, the provider will share the responsibility of keeping your data safe. It is their server, after all, and you’re only paying to use a portion of it.
However, cloud servers can also be vulnerable to cybercrime. So, ensure you review each of your prospect’s security breach history. Then, choose the one with no data compromise record but has stellar customer reviews.
Invest in the Best Small Business Server
From location to form factor and security, all these are things to look for in small business servers. They also affect price, making them integral to your budgeting plan. So, please don’t skip any of these considerations, as they can help ensure your IT investment pays off.
If you’re still on the fence about which server to choose, it may be best to hire an IT consultant.
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Last Updated on April 27, 2023