Benefits of a Server

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Server Benefits and Security

Basics of a Server

A server is a type of computer that is designed to network multiple computers and share files across those computers.  In a business environment, one of the first issues to arise is how to network all of the employee computers together.  Without networking, employee computers would operate isolated and without the ability to efficiently share files and data with one another. Flash drives, external hard drives, and cloud file sharing would have to be used for employees to share files, and all of these options have distinct disadvantages.  A server creates a domain from where all computers in the domain are connected. Servers have far more storage than a typical computer does, which allows them to act as a centralized repository of files and data for their domain.

 

Server Security & Protection

  • Data protection loss and security.
    • One of the most common ways data can be lost on a computer is from hard drive failure.  In a business environment this can be devastating to a company.  There are many ways to protect this data through the use of backups and cloud storage.  Servers themselves though are designed with a unique functionality,  Hard drives are duplicated and mirrored across an array of redundant, independent disks (RAID).  To explain in further detail, a RAID is a combination of multiple hard drives used to store data.  There are multiple forms of RAID, but most servers use a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0 to mirror and stripe data across multiple hard drives.  RAID provides protection in case of a failed hard drive.  in that no one hard drive is without a backup.  Businesses that use a server are provided this critical data protection feature.
  • Additional data protection.
    • Now as we just discussed having a RAID setup to protect your data is ideal, and not prone to fail.  The next step is taking additional steps to protecting server data. Being that RAID is almost a full proof setup and the chances of losing all that data across multiple hard drives is slim to none.  There is no harm in taking additional steps to protect the data that runs a company.  There are multiple options but the ideal situation is using online backups to prevent additional data loss. This provides a hands free approach to protecting data. Cloud backups will run constant updates on the data stored locally on your server.  To put it simply,  every time additional data is added to a server. An active backup will run and add the data to the online backup.  This is always the preferred method to using external HDDs to backup a server.  Using external HDDs will always require upkeep. While also having constant maintenance to check backups are completed. 
  • Local data protection
    • The answer is yes.  Granted it is recommended that all data you have stored on your computer you move to the server but if there is something stored locally, it will protected on the server by the use of backups and system images.  To explain best what the functionality of a system image it by doing so through examples.  A system image is a complete mirror of your computers’ operating system.  By doing this it will provide a quick turn around on any failed system at your business.  By using a system image you can completely repair your computers operating system, documents, applications along with anything else on your computer has with a few simple clicks of a button.  This will prevent downtime at your business in case one of your computers crash and you need to get back online within a short amount of time.
  • Outside Hacker prevention
    • Comparable to standard windows operating systems (I.E. Windows 7, 8.1 & 10) Windows Server 2012 provides stronger security features and firewall settings that does not come standard with other home operating systems.  Alongside the fact that most viruses are picked up from unsafe practices when browsing the internet, downloading files or accessing emails.  This is completely taken out of the pictures as you are never actually working directly off the server and instead accessing your data and files from an outside location by either a VPN connection or local domain setup for your office network. (These features will be explained in more detail in the following sections.)
  • Security Conclusion
    • As stated above, a server is the ideal setup to protecting your company’s data to prevent any loss or theft of your documents.  Alongside the increased functionality you gain from using a server that will we touch on here in our next section.  There is never a worry that a failed hard drive or defective computer will end up costing you your business’ records or finances.

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Server Unique Features and Functionality

  • Additional security benefits.
    • Security being the greatest feature a server provides someone, there are also handy tools that can be setup on your server to better improve the work culture and efficiency of your company.  Many questions we face in this day and age are how would I access my valuable data when I am not in the office.  If I am going to be putting everything on my server, how do I prohibit employee’s from accessing sensitive data that are for my eyes only.  Or lastly, how will a server improve the speed and efficiency of my office compared to other applications (I.E. Cloud Storage and External HDDs).  All valuable questions and a server has a solution for every single one of them.
  • Accessing your company data offsite. 
    • With how far technology has advanced, a common trend for some people to experience is the option from working from home when there is no direct need for said employee to take the trip out to their home office.  With a server you have the capabilities and most efficient ways of doing so through a virtual protected network, or better known as VPN.  A VPN is a remote service easily accessible through use of a server.  With all of your company data being stored and protected already on the server.  It is as simple as setting up one of these VPN to access your server offsite to open, add and alter any documents from  an offsite location.  This will provide employee’s with the option to alter and change documents for their technicians out in the field to give an update analysis or price of the current job they are working on without going through the hassle of sending a document through an email, or providing them with the annoyance of having to save them to a USB before leaving for the job. All you need is a computer with you and even if something needs to be changed or altered, someone in the office can change it right then and there then simply have the offsite technician access the document from the server.  This will provide both your customers and employee with a quicker, more efficient product and service.
  • Administrative rights and document security.
    • A common question people have but easily doable through the use of Active Domain Users and the accounts provided to them.  Whenever a server is initially setup, your office network will be converted over to specifically work off of a domain that is controlled and maintained by the server.  What this will provide is the security and improved speed when accessing documents from the server while also providing restrictions to any account that shouldn’t be able to access certain documents.  This will give you the sense that your accountants will be the only ones with access to financial data, or your managers only being able to alter and change company documents while having the technicians only able to view the documents.  This will provide everyone with the necessary functions of the role set for them at the company, but still having everything centrally located and protected on the server you have.
  • Server domain features and applications.
    • To put this in perspective, when you initially setup your own computer you create a domain locally on your computer to give user accounts access to whatever you might have publicly stored on your computer.  This is just a broader approach since your entire office will be networked and working off of a single “computer” in a sense.  There are a lot of great features from the idea that your office is working off of the server’s domain.  Firstly, if you are working under the server’s domain and not simply access the drives off the network there is an improved speed when accessing company documents, backups, images or anything else you might have stored on the server.  Secondly, if every computer in your office is setup on that domain, anyone is able to use a computer and personalize it in their own way if needed just by logging in with their account.  This is an ideal setup for someone that might have multiple part time employee’s that share a single computer on different days of the week.  Given each of those employee’s a personalized setup and documents specific while still operating off the same computer.
  • Additional Remote Features
    • As stated above, most companies require an active VPN connection to access their documents offsite.  But are there any additional remote services a server can provide besides just being able to access my documents?  The answer is yes and remote services do not just stop at accessing documents.  There are options additionally to provide a customer with a direct access to their computer at the office and not just the server.  Or if needed you also have the option to provide your smart phones and tablets with access to and from the server since most companies employee the use of tablets for technicians out in the field.

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Conclusion

  • As stated above there are countless perks to having a server setup at your office.  Between the security, safety and reliability to having a server, alongside all the unique features that comes from a server.  There is no reason why you should not be looking to have one in your office if you don’t have one already.
  • For any additional questions and concerns, feel free to call the specialists over here at Houston PC Services for any additional questions you might have about servers or to schedule an appointment to have one setup at your office today!