There is a question that I get asked a lot by customers, especially when they’re looking to refresh their IT systems - do we need a Server in the office? It is 2020 after-all. Have we got to the point where everything can be cloud-based?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of whether we need a Server or not, let’s cover what a Server is. Servers are those big expensive bits of kit that sit inside of your office.
They cost several thousand pounds to buy, and they need to be maintained regularly by a team of IT experts.
In addition to all of that, you also need to spend more money on backup and security software.
The reason why a business needs a Server is to host an IT service; like email, file/folders or an application that you use to run your business.
Everyone has seen the rise of cloud computing over the past few years with huge products like Office 365 dominating the marketplace, so the question is, does your small business still really need a server?
To begin to unpack this question, let’s look at some scenarios.
What applications does your business use?
I assume that you use email? If you do, then the good news is that you no longer need to buy a Server for email.
What about files and folders? You’ll no doubt have access to all of your business files and folders and if you have more than one person in your business, these will need to be held somewhere. But you don’t need a server in your office to keep files and folders anymore either. Files and folder storage can all be cloud-based.
Do you need to print and scan documents? You don’t need a Server to be able to print and scan your documents.
So if your business only needs email, file/folders and the ability to print and scan documents, then you don’t need a Server anymore. You can move everything to the cloud. If you have a Server at the moment, there are some considerable costs savings to be made by removing your Server.
What software do you use for Accounting software? Lots of businesses have leapt to Xero, which is cloud-based. Xero is an excellent option for most small businesses because you don’t have to worry about hosting your accounting software.
Perhaps you use Sage? Sage is traditionally installed on computers or Servers in your office. Although they have a cloud version available, it’s nowhere near as good as Xero.
Do you have a Server in your office at the moment that runs Sage applications?
Line of Business Software
Lots of businesses have software that runs their entire business. We have Managed Service contracts with lots of Accountants and Law Firms.
Accountants will often use software products like Iris, Digita or CCH to do most of their daily work.
I know lots of other businesses who operate in different industries who use software installed on a Server to run their business.
So, if you run Sage Accounts or some Line of Business software, do you still need a Server?
Introducing Microsoft Azure
I want to introduce you to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud hosting offering.
Microsoft has data centres all around the world (including two in the UK), where you can rent a software Server which is in the cloud.
So if you do have some software in your business that still needs to live on a server, like Sage or a Line of Business application, then it can be installed on a software Server inside of a Microsoft data centre.
Benefits of Microsoft Azure
So why would you want to use a Server in Microsoft Azure instead of buying your own Server and installing it in your office?
The first benefit is security. Microsoft invests billions of pounds into the security of their cloud offering. Having your Server inside of a secure data centre is much better than having it in your office.
Buying a Server and all of the products needed to run your system can run into thousands of pounds. With an Azure server, there is no hardware to buy which saves a considerable investment in the equipment. You are renting the Server with a much smaller, fixed monthly payment each month. As a business owner, it’s much better to be able to budget for your IT costs.
The recent lockdown has proved that we all need to be able to work effectively, no matter where we are based. If your Server becomes cloud-based, you can access it from anywhere. You just need an internet connection.
Don’t you hate it on a Monday morning when everyone comes into work, and the Server is down? You are all sat around twiddling your thumbs until the Server is fixed again. Well, if your Server is based in the cloud, there will be no more server failures.
Do you still have a Server in your office? If you'd like to discuss moving your business to Microsoft Azure, please contact us.