How to properly budget for a small business server and network upgrade

The average small company with less than $50 million in revenue spends about 7% of revenue on IT. Budgets keep growing as technology becomes more prevalent in today’s businesses.

How do you know how to choose the best, most cost-effective server? Your server will be a remote computer that is always on and always connected to the internet. You can host all your software and applications for your entire business.

There are a few things to consider:

Operating system: A server is similar to a desktop but there are different factors to consider for the server OS. You can choose either Linux or Microsoft Windows Server. Linus is built specifically for multi-user servers. Microsoft Windows Server is a proprietary operating system designed for servers, and includes a web server, virtual server capability and firewall security features. Linux-based server operating systems are more popular, and they’re free. System administrators typically prefer Linux. If you use the Microsoft package, there are fees and licenses.

Type of server: You’ll have to next choose either a dedicated server or a cloud server. A dedicated server is a physical server that sits inside your business and you’re the only user. Think of it is a big, powerful desktop computer. This represents the most powerful option for you—you can choose a moderate server that can support your website or a supercharged server that can support high traffic websites, e-commerce, thousands of users and massive data processing. Think of what you need now and in the near future, but don’t overdo it! Most businesses lease servers, but you can purchase one as well.

A cloud server is like buying a slice of a physical server. You only buy what you need, but it is a virtual server running on a larger server located elsewhere. Many companies use this option because it’s easy to scale up to changing demand. It’s still a full server environment, but you typically pay less for this option. Dedicated servers are best for performance, and cloud servers are best for flexibility. What is more important to you?

When it comes to your network, your biggest costs and most important considerations will be to the switches and routers. Switches are used to connect multiple devices within your office location; these enable devices to communicate with each other. Routers join your devices or network to the Internet, so that you all share a single Internet connection. Think of it as a dispatcher.

It’s best to buy business-grade switches and routers; devices made for home use just can’t keep up. Switches with their own in-line power are worth the cost so that you don’t have to install new electrical outlets. Also, make the investment in a network that can grow over time as your business grows.

If all these choices have you pulling your hair out, give us a call at West County Computers. We will help you choose the server and network that is perfect for your business, both today and in the future.

    West County Computers

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