To answer this question, we must first have a clear understanding as to what a server is. In the strictest sense, a server is a software program that receives, processes, and delivers data requests to or for a client (i.e., another program or computer that’s sending out the data requests and/or is the intended recipient of the requested data) on a local network or over the internet. However, because the hardware that contain and execute the server programs have been so intrinsically defined by such software, these devices have become known as servers themselves.
Let’s simplify everything with an example: email. The copies of the email program you and your colleagues are using are clients. When you do a subject line search, your email client sends a search request to the company’s shared email server, which then responds by providing a list of emails with subjects that come closest to your search query. And when a coworker sends you an email, their client sends a delivery request to the email server, which then responds by putting that email in your inbox as well as in the sender’s Sent folder. Because of this dynamic between client and server, communications between them are described to follow a request-response model.
There are many types of server programs. The most common are file servers, database servers, web servers, email servers, print servers, app servers, and game servers. When you consider that one server device can hold many server programs, and that one server program can serve multiple clients, that device has to be considerably more powerful than your consumer-grade PC. This also means that a server device (hereafter called “server”) is more expensive, consumes more electricity, and will require more monitoring, maintenance, and repair than regular computers down the line.
Question is, when will your business need that much more power? Here are a few cases where the use of a server is warranted:
#1: You need to make file sharing both easy and secure More often than not, members of a department in your organization will want to be able to share and collaborate on files effortlessly, yet still be able to block outsiders. For instance, R&D engineers are usually working on top-secret projects, so their blueprints and diagrams will only be accessible to them and not to the accountants, HR managers, marketers, and sales agents.
If you need to exercise greater control over data access, then a server is just the tool for it. The device should have at least these two server programs: a file transfer protocol (FTP) server and an identity server. The first one moves files from storage to client recipients and vice versa, whereas the other stores security roles of authorized users and facilitates logins and access to accounts and files.
#2: You’re using an app in-house If you’re using an app internally and either that app doesn’t work well over the internet or you have a poor connection, then you’ll likely need an on-premises server to be able to use that app reliably.
#3: You need to back up your data regularly Many pieces of information get updated often, such as real-time inventory counts, customer account details, courier tracking statuses, among many others. To ensure that you have the latest information when you need it (especially after a natural disaster strikes), you’ll have to implement an automated data backup system — one that is comprised of servers in the cloud.
If all of that sounds terribly complicated to you, don’t worry — SimplyClouds is here to simplify everything for you. With us as your IT partner, you won’t have to worry about acquiring and integrating new servers into your existing setup. Moreover, you won’t have to think about monitoring, maintaining, and repairing them because we’ll do all of those things for you. Contact us — we’ll help you determine if you truly need servers, then provide you with affordable cloud-based ones if and when you do.