How SMEs can get the most from their data servers

11 March 2022 4 min. read
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As SMEs undergo digital transformations, one of the major issues that they face is deciding on a data server setup. Independent business consultant Frank Schneider explains the pros and cons of using internal or external servers.

Small and mid-sized (SMEs) enterprises, just like larger organisations, need to remain competitive and relevant to survive. A failed, slow or outdated server can negatively impact business, performance and profits.

So, a key question for IT leaders of SMEs is: do they really need dedicated servers?

How SMEs can get the most from their data servers

Perhaps the first decision is whether to have an in-house server infrastructure or an external solution. In-house solutions provide physical control over data and backups. There is no reliance on an internet connection to access the data, plus third-parties do not have access to assets and critical information.

Unfortunately, in-house servers often involve a hefty initial investment and any further expansions later on can be very costly. There’s an immediate need for server space and IT support with no guaranteed uptime or recovery time.

Cloud or dedicated servers

External solutions include cloud servers and dedicated servers.

Cloud servers are virtual, which means that they can be actually built, controlled and managed by an online platform. This type of server can be deployed extremely rapidly, normally has a support and maintenance option and is relatively inexpensive to set up at the outset.

Yet there can be limits to the sheer amount of data that can be stored in the cloud due to availability and cost. Furthermore, with no internet connection with the cloud, access to data is impossible. There could also be concerns over data privacy and protection in addition to compliance with specific industry legislation.

External dedicated servers are just what they say they are – secure and stable servers that are dedicated to and physically used by only one user. Housed at a separate facility, they serve all the needs of one single user and nothing is shared with others. These servers can be rented or leased from hosting companies, such as IONOS, who offer dedicated server packages in a pay-as-you-go format.

By only paying for what is actually used in terms of the package itself and the duration, the in-house server purchase expense is spared. There is also the option to cease using or delete the server at any time.

A dedicated external server package usually comes with maintenance and reliable operational support. This means that rather than an in-house team, any failures, downtimes or other harmful events can be resolved by customer support 24x7. This is often compatible with the user’s location, time-zone and languages.

With a rented dedicated server, the user has full control over the server itself. All types of applications can be installed, including email marketing or video streaming platforms to name just two, making it very customisable.

When it comes to performance, dedicated servers are the fastest and most powerful. They are ideal for users with perhaps websites containing thousands of pages and various media, such as audio or HD video. Dedicated servers suit owners of high-traffic sites and eCommerce stores, as well as those involved in real-time data analytics or perhaps financial trading, where downtime can only lead to critical failure.

Agility and flexibility

Dedicated servers offer enhanced security for those businesses working with extra-sensitive data or more likely to be prone to hacks. This type of server responds to many compliance requirements and specific industry legislation, making it advantageous for those companies employing compliance sensitive applications, such as healthcare or financial organisations.

The nature of SMEs makes it difficult for these businesses to predict computing needs several years ahead when they are clearly just starting out or starting to grow that little bit more. Dedicated servers offer customisation, security, enhanced performance and control for one user and make it possible to navigate and handle any increases in applications, traffic and data. With no upfront hardware costs, flexible pay-as-you-go options and the latest in hardware, rented dedicated servers are helping SMEs to keep their businesses on track.