Do we still need a server in our business?

August 1, 2019

Do we still need a server in our business?

Historically, once a business got to a certain size the IT needs got to the point where a server was required. This was for the following three reasons:

  1. Files all needed to be saved in a single location where they could be organised and backed-up.
  2. User required logins so they have specific access to the files depending on their role.
  3. Line of business applications such as accounting software or CRM needed a server to run.

These servers often lasted for around 5 years and then your IT provider would be explaining to you why you need to think about replacing the server, often with the costs running into the thousands.

This was the cycle for many years, and everybody was relatively happy with the situation. Businesses could protect and backup data and ensure that user could access their line of business applications.

The biggest complaint was often all the other costs that came with owning a server such as backup and endless tapes, and APC encase of a power surge, air conditioning to keep it cool. The running costs really did become quite high.

What about today? Do we still need a server in our business?

In many cases the answer is probably no. Let me explain why.

Let’s look at the three reasons why we did need one and why it is no longer the case:

  1. Files can now be stored on cloud storage with the same level security and they are backed-up.
  2. Users can still login in the same way by accessing the login system via the cloud.
  3. Nearly all line of business applications are cloud based now.

Why don’t we dig a little deeper into each of these areas and explain in a little more detail.

Storing files in the cloud

Using Microsoft Office 365 there are multiple ways of safely, securely and compliantly storing your important business data. Each user in many of the standard and higher subscriptions has access to Microsoft OneDrive. This is cloud based storage that is easy to use, easy to share data and keeps your data safe. Many businesses today are already utilising the power of OneDrive as they are already familiar with cloud-based storage thanks to services like Dropbox.

If you require more control over your documents, you can also on some versions of Office 365 use SharePoint. This is a full document management system that give you complete control and traceability over all your documents.

Between these two options your business and its users have easy access to your files wherever they are and pretty much on any device, using a server this is much harder to achieve and a lot more expensive.

Logging in via the cloud

This is one of the more recent advancements in technology and in fact probably the last good reason people kept a server. The service is called Active Directory and what this does is give users the ability to have what is known as a profile. Everyone has their own profile which determines things like access to different applications or areas of shared document storage.

Active Directory was a huge reason to have a local server until now. You can run Active Directory from the cloud which means you login just as you did before, but all the settings are pushed from the cloud via the internet instead of the local server.

Your Cloud based Applications

Historically a server was required to host all of you line of business applications such as your accounting software or your CRM software, this often meant more than one server in some cases. But have a think now about the desktop applications you use most often and you will find that they are nearly always cloud based.

This means that you access them via your browser and the application works right inside with no software to download or install, think Facebook for example when using the browser there is nothing to install you simply log-in and away you go.

This is how 99% of all modern applications work today and this means there is actually no need to install anything on a server.

So why do you need a server?

Honestly, I am not sure there are not many reasons why you need to install a local server in your business, with the exception of an older legacy-based application that is not cloud based. However even then there is likely to a cloud-based version of this, here at 404 Team Ltd we can host these applications and deliver them to you via the cloud.

Thinking about your business journey to the cloud?

If you are planning your move to the cloud or would just like to explore the idea of removing servers from your business, then why not give us a call to see what is possible for you and how much money you could be saving.

David Shaw

David Shaw

Digital Marketing Professional

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