In a world where seemingly everyone is rushing towards cloud-based solutions, we explore the benefits of an internal server for small businesses.
It seems like every week there is a new story of data being lost, customers being put at risk and reputations going out the window. The stories that make headlines are of hacks involved big companies, such as the recent British Airways breach which also recently hit tech giant Newegg, but that’s not to say SMEs shouldn’t start taking precautions in order to protect themselves.
Security isn’t the only aspect that should be considered, either – let’s face it, you can barely heat up last night’s dinner without connecting to the internet these days, so everything is vulnerable to some extent. There are plenty of other benefits to using local servers for a small business, as long as it’s being used for the right thing. So, what is the right option for you?
Internet vs intranet
When discussing internal servers for small business, it’s important to address that we’re not talking about websites. It makes total sense to use a cloud vendor to host the company website, with almost all of your traffic coming from outside the four walls of the office and very little, if any, sensitive data stored there.
The difference with intranet is that everything is internal. Your employees will use it to access customer data, private company files and to share documents around the office – there is no external interference, and it need not even be connected to the internet at all, adding to security measures. An outsourced, cloud-based product simply can’t offer that level of reassurance.
Calls for more employers to offer flexible working are getting louder. With colleagues just a phone call, email or Whatsapp message away, remote working offers few drawbacks in the modern day. The installation of a local server, however, could change that – they’re not designed for external access.
This is an area where cloud storage comes into its own. The ability to access the data you need, anywhere, any time and on any device is crucial to some businesses. Wherever there is an internet connection, the information can be accessed. Security can be compromised if you’re connecting via a public WiFi service, but the ability to work on the move is something many entrepreneurs rely on.
Efficiency is key
Time is precious, and with a local server running on site, transfer speeds can be slashed. Ethernet speeds can reach up to 10GB per second with the right equipment, around 10 times faster than a premium wireless connection. The possibility of internet outages is also something to consider – they don’t care who you work for, what time it is or about the importance of the job you’re working on, the only guarantee is that there’s never a good time for them to happen. When they inevitably occur, cloud-stored data is temporarily inaccessible. It could be seconds, minutes or hours, but it can affect the entire business and stop you in your tracks.
A monthly subscription to a cloud storage service adds yet more appeal because of its flexibility. There is no initial investment, changes can be made on demand and there is usually customer support on offer around the clock. Though cloud services may start off cheap, or perhaps even free, they don’t scale well for small businesses.
The up-front cost of the equipment needed for an in-house server and any additional installation fees may seem daunting, but it will be paying for itself in a matter of months. Upgrades aren’t impossible either – extra drives can always be added to increase storage limits, and there are manufacturers’ care plans or tech solutions companies available to assist with the limited maintenance you may require on an as-and-when basis.
What should you do?
It all comes down to suiting your needs. Flexible working is on the rise, so perhaps remote access is a necessity for your business, or you need to be able to change your requirements on a regular basis. If that’s the case, then maybe cloud storage is the right option for you.
But in-house servers hold the answers to a wide range of concerns. In this day and age, with cyber security on everybody’s lips and both time and money being more precious than ever, a local server is definitely a cause for consideration for a small business.