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A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Set Up A Server For Small Business

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With time the business grows, you are required to hire more employees, and the time comes when you need server setup services to help your office work run efficiently.

Just about every small business these days has to have a website and use email. And if you want to do anything more complicated, like build an online store or sell products on Amazon, then you’re going to need a server. Setting up your own server is actually pretty easy with the right equipment and setup process or alternatively you can hire a company for server setup services.
To help you get started, here are some of the basics behind setting up a server for your small or medium sized business.

This article will guide and provide all vital information that you require to know what the server is, select the right software, and the best way to set it all up for your small or medium sized business. 

What is a Server?

A server is a physical device or computer program that helps you connect with other computers on a similar network to quickly access information, programs, services, and storage space. Another computer on the web is called “clients,” and the purpose of a server is to share the data and common application between these clients. A server is the most important component of any business network. It is essentially the command center and brain of your network, it handles all of the communication between devices.

Choosing the right server for your business

1. Selecting the server hardware

The hardware and features your server will require depends on the work your server will do. In a business environment depending on the use servers are categorized:

  • File Server
  • Mail Server
  • Database Server
  • Application Server
  • Web Server
  • Print Server
  • Domain Server

Some server applications will need particular features, for example:

  • Database servers should also provide support to RAID (redundant array of independent disks) and have a hard drive capable of quick speeds 
  • The file server should also have various hot-swappable drive bays
  • Web server benefits from high RAM and hardware redundancy

Each kind of server has its hardware and features that will decide its capabilities. So, while selecting your server, you should pay attention to its CPU size, RAM, and hard disk storage concerning the purpose of the server. 

2. Choosing the server operating system 

Choosing the right server operating system for your business is a difficult decision, especially if you know little about servers. The key factors in making this decision are the number of users, data storage needs, and applications that will be used on your network. Without knowing what your requirements are, it can be difficult to decide which platform will meet them best. Various operating systems are available:

  • Linux Ubuntu Server
  • CentOS
  • Windows Server Essential
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Selecting the right kind of operating system for your server is a crucial decision that directly impacts the cost and usability of the server. Some of the essential factors you need to consider before selecting a server operating system.

a) Support

As Linux is an open-source system, you have to spend more time online if any issues occur. However, Microsoft provides high–quality user support. While selecting an operating system, selecting a support system also plays an important role.  However, for small businesses, if using Linux, it is difficult to have specific IT staff, and therefore the Windows server operating system becomes the default choice.

b) Cost 

Linux is open-source software, so it is more affordable to run than Windows operating system. Moreover, you should also consider the entire cost of its IT operation, including the time and technical expertise required for its operation and maintenance of the server. 

c) User – friendly

While selecting configuration, Ease of Installation and usability are extremely important. It is essential for small and medium-sized businesses because they do not have dedicated staff. The windows server operating system is ordinarily famous with existing Windows users because it has different look and feels quite the same as the Windows operating system for PCs. 

In contrast, the Linux operating system has a steep, deep curve, and for that, it requires Linux professionals for operation, installation, and maintenance.

d) Customization

If you have the technical knowledge and are familiar with Linux, it is flexible and enables you more customization options than Windows operating system. 

3. Select place of server in office

Usually, you require a specific room for your server. Even though you choose a small tower server, it is worth having a different place for the server. By managing the physical access to the server, you can eliminate many data security risks. This is also a necessity for some regulatory compliance. The server room should also work without Windows, but it can install a cooling and backup power. The cooling system is mandatory. Otherwise, it will damage your server. 

The room should be big enough to reach the front and back of the server easily. Another method is to install a server is cable management. If the cable system is managed and adequately labeled, then servicing, maintenance, and hardware troubleshooting is easy. Hence it is advisable to invest in a patch panel that helps control your cables.

4. Server setup and configuration

Before you initiate to configure your server, you must install the operating system. However, the process is not different from Installation on PC and laptop from USB and virtual media. Sometimes the server comes with the pre-installed operating system. 

After installing the operating system, here you require some typical configurations for workspaces servers:

  • Place a safe and strong password for the server.
  • Enables remote access and sharing options
  • Customize the firewall to protect the server from intrusions.
  • Add local admins’ accounts to each computer and link them with the server.
  • Set the server as a domain controller so that the computer on your network can connect with a centralized network, and the server can authenticate user credentials. 
  • Place the server for backup and follow the companies’ data backup regulations. 

The steps mentioned above will vary, and it entirely depends on the type of server setup. The difficulties of the step are also different depending on whether it performs as a web server, printer server, and database server.

5. Implement server security

In the workspace, the server system is the most crucial piece of hardware. It is the heart of all business tasks, from securing services to users, database management, data swapping, and many others, and it is an appealing target for hackers as well.  

From various sources, the server could be hacked. Mail servers and the web servers can easily and directly connect with the internet and can be target of malwares. Some of the usual attack approaches are:

  • DDoS
  • Drive-by attacks
  • Phishing email
  • Trojans

Hence it is very important to keep your server software up-to-date and prevent any security breaches. Many exploits are patched daily and hackers often use these to gain access to servers. By updating your server software regularly you can reduce the chances of being hacked by keeping your systems behind current patches that have already been addressed.

Conclusion:

Setting up a server in a small and mid-size company is considered a considerable investment. The most important thing to remember is that you need to know what you’re doing and make sure that your network is secure at all times. Your existing computer technician may help you install servers appropriately that enhance your work experience. For help with server setup services, or any other technology consulting needs, contact us today!

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