And when we say server, we do not mean Alfred from stately Wayne Manor or Lurch from the Adams family, but a dedicated network server. First, let’s clarify exactly what a dedicated network server means.

A network server will allow multiple users within your company to have simultaneous access to company and client information. Some of the typical items that are able to be shared throughout your office network include: company documents, high speed internet access, inkjet and laser printers, fax services, email messages, contacts lists and calendar collaboration and much more. Your office will also benefit from the enhanced security capabilities as well as improved automation of your back-up procedures.

Well all that sounds well and great, but my needs are much simpler you say. Well you could be right. That may be overkill for most small to mid-sized companies. Or is it?

Let’s look at a typical company. The office starts out with one or two computers and eventually grows into a peer-to-peer network where the users can communicate with one another through a small switch. This works fine if all they need to do is share an internet connection and occasionally transfer a file or two.

If however, your company has grown beyond this point, servers start to make a lot of sense. Perhaps you’ve reached a point where you or your employees find yourselves needing to access emails and files from a remote location. Or maybe you find members of your staff needing simultaneous access to client histories. And then all of a sudden, someone asks you for access to some files within your system or on another employee’s computer. Now it’s starting to look like a server could make sense.

Consider for a moment an insurance company with three claims adjusters. Without a dedicated server, each adjuster would typically be responsible for only specific assigned claims. Adjuster ‘1’ might handle last names beginning with A-I; adjuster ‘2’ J-Q; and adjuster ‘3’ gets R-Z.

This works put OK until adjuster two is bogged down with claims and asks for help from one of the other adjusters. Now, the other adjusters have to constantly go to their colleague’s desk to look up those client files and process the claims.

Not to mention the difficulty in creating reports or doing analysis with the information scattered across multiple computers or possibly even multiple offices?

A dedicated server and a shared database is the answer. It would eliminate the musical chairs that our three adjusters are playing. Any of the three adjusters would be able to access any client file from their own computers as they needed them.

Now we have happier clients because their claims are processed quicker and most importantly, we have more productive employees. It is looking more and more like it is finally time for a dedicated server.

Another crucial benefit that you will gain from implementing a server is the added peace of mind that comes with having a stable backup solution. Knowing that your mission critical client files are being stored in a central location with automated back-up procedures will insure that you are fully protected from any disasters that are bound to happen at the worst possible time.

And by automating your back-ups, the risk of data loss, resulting from human error or hardware malfunction, is greatly minimized. Many businesses loose a lot of money when they are faced with the accidental loss of client histories, accounting data, payroll information and other critical data files. When you start to compare the cost of the time and money needed to reconstruct that critical data versus the cost of an automated backup solution, your automated backup solution starts looking like an affordable proposition.

So ask yourself the following:

  • Do two or more people need to share the same database?
  • Do you have multiple offices that need to share information?
  • Do you or your employees need access to email and files while on the road?
  • Do you need a backup solution?
If you answered yes to any of the above it may be time for a dedicated network server.

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