IT 101 – What’s a Server?

Lighthouse’s IT 101 Videos are intended for Business Owners, Managers, or anyone interested in learning about how IT works in a business context. Lighthouse Technology Services provides IT Consulting and IT Managed Services for Businesses.

Does Your Business Need a Server?

If your business is small to mid-size, you may wonder if you need a server and why. To begin with, most small companies don’t wish to remain small. As you grow, having your computers connected will prove beneficial and efficient. There are many advantages to leveraging a server environment, even with just a few employees. Here’s an overview of what a server is and why you may want to consider one for your business.

What is a Computer Server?

Typically, the term server refers to a powerful, centralized computer that other computers are networked to, either through a hard-wired connection such as Ethernet or via Wi-Fi. Servers usually do not have a monitor, keyboard or mouse, but do have a powerful processor, high-speed RAM, and several hard drives. These drives are often configured in a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) arrangement. This means that data is distributed across more than one hard drive so that if any single drive fails, no data will be lost.

Why Consider a Server for Your Business?

Access. When software is loaded on the server, it is available to anyone with a user license. This makes upgrades and installations much more simple because you can install the software on the server, and push it out to individual users rather than installing it on each individual computer. With a remote access strategy such as a VPN (Virtual Private Network), users can securely access software and data on the server no matter where they are located.

Collaboration. When individuals save their work to the server, other users can access files and data. Today, team members may be working from home or remote offices, which can make collaboration a challenge. But with a computer server as a central repository, it’s like being in the same room.

Control. A server can be used to authorize or close access to specific data in files or software applications. This type of control allows you to create boundaries for employee access to information or company property based on management level, task assignment, or other criteria.

Security. A server can be your first line of defense against viruses and other breaches. Anti-virus software can be deployed and upgraded from the server, ensuring that every user has the latest updates and patches.

Centralized Back-Up. Server software can provide for automated backup, preventing data loss. If someone accidentally deletes a file, or a hard drive fails, a server can prevent downtime, maintain productivity and ensure continuity.

A server is an investment in your business, not an expense. An experienced network administrator can help you chose the right server to maximize both ROI and peace of mind. They can help you determine if a hard-wired or cloud-based server is best for you and if your server should be located on or off site.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of using a server or leveraging technology for your business, reach out to us today, and we’ll connect you with a network administrator who can help you choose the right computer server and keep your network up and running.

Video Transcription

Today’s IT 101 Topic: Servers

What’s a Server?

A Server is a computer that is connected to a network and provides software functions that are used by other computers*

Why do businesses use a Server?

Here are few main reasons:

If multiple team members need to access and edit information in a software application (like the company’s accounting software), instead of storing that accounting software on one computer that everyone would have to wait around to use, the accounting software can be stored on a server – which is really just a powerful computer.

Then multiple people can access it from their own computers and work in that accounting software at the same time.

Also, having a shared application stored on a server provides business managers with a centralized method of assigning policies and user permissions – which helps with security.

Another reason to use a server: more processing power – which helps people in a business transmit a lot of data at one time, or run a computer program that requires more processing power than a laptop or desktop would be able to provide alone.

Servers can be challenging to maintain, so make sure you’ve got an IT pro on your team to help. Life can be better that way.

There are also cloud based server solutions now, but that’s a topic we’ll cover at another time.

Have fun with servers!

*ITIL Definition

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