Is a Server Right for Your Network?

Brian St. Marie - Sr. Systems Engineer

Recently, Terminal conducted a company-wide audit of a new client who has multiple offices around New England.  Surprisingly, this client does not have a central server, despite their size and multiple locations.  It's common to see peer-to-peer (serverless) setups with smaller offices (typically less than 5 computers), but very unusual to find in larger companies, especially ones with multiple locations.

Servers can serve many purposes, but the primary, and often unappreciated, purpose of a server is centralization of management.  Adding a server to your network means each computer on the network defers to the server for important decisions, such as who to let log into network resources, who to let access what data, maintaining up-to-date virus protection across the network, what data to backup and how often, and many others.  Without a server, each of these types of decisions are left to the discretion of the individual computers, meaning IT staff has to spend more time configuring each machine and needs to be particularly careful of details; missing one computer or introducing one error can result in someone gaining access to something they shouldn't, or prevent people from accessing important resources necessary to do their jobs.

Oftentimes, smaller companies are reluctant to invest in a server, expecting the costs and maintenance to be too high.  But the return on the investment for a server is almost always excellent.  The centralization of common network tasks cuts down on IT costs immediately, while making employees more productive every day.  Servers also help create peace of mind by centralizing security and control, which is required by many security laws and compliancies, such as CRM 201 17:00.

Don't let your company struggle needlessly with a peer-to-peer network.  The longer you wait, the more frustration you'll face and the tougher it will be to convert.  If you think your company may be ready for a server, Contact Us today, and a Terminal engineer will be happy to review your needs and recommend the best options for your business.