Are We Seeing The Death Of The Small Business Server?

The doctor is adamant.  She wants a managed service agreement with a maximum15 minute response time and a guarantee that her office will be up and running in under 30 minutes if the server goes down.  This seems unrealistic but, in a world where even the smallest business has a centralized server to host applications and store data, the inability to stay connected can cost business thousands in revenue.

She is not alone.  Decision-makers in every type of enterprise are beginning to worry about how they will work if their server goes down.  Even though hardware costs continue to drop, server set-up and management is becoming increasingly expensive.  IT professionals continue to offer technical solutions to the risk of downtime by increasing the number of disk drives, mirroring technology, swappable drives, remote monitoring software; but all this technology simply continues to push the cost of technology even higher.

These technological solutions, however, do not eliminate downtime.  To be fair, they reduce the risk of lost data in the event of catastrophe, but they do not keep the enterprise server online.  The only certain way to keep the hosted applications online and the data accessible is through complete redundancy.  But, if costs are already too high, hardware and software redundancy simply pushes the cost of complete accessibility out of reach.

This is the dilemma facing business decision-makers and computer manufacturers alike.  Centralized servers have become so essential to business that any amount of downtime puts the business at risk.  The IT dream solution is to increase the cost and complexity of on-premise systems to keep systems online.  The economic reality is that enterprises must find a way to have greater access without increasing their investment in IT infrastructure because they are already spending too much money on equipment they are not fully utilizing.

What are the options for business when equipment utilization is low, the cost high, and the equipment is essential to making money? The construction industry offers a potential solution. One company owns the expensive equipment and contractors pay for its use. High utilization reduces the ownership cost per hour.  Contractors no longer have to invest their capital and borrowing capacity in equipment; they can pay for it as they use it.

Creating “rent-like” qualities is one solution that gives enterprises access to their applications and data without the upfront equipment investment.  It requires one Company to own the expensive IT infrastructure and share it to keep utilization high.  To provide unlimited access, however, there has to be enough bandwidth, or the electronic means to move data and, the hardware and software must be infinitely expandable.  The industrialized world has invested heavily in creating broadband internet as well as new generation wireless connectivity.

The increase in high-speed connectivity has lead to higher demands for access to enterprise applications and data from places once unthinkable.  Today, all across America, sales professionals complete transactions in coffee shops and in airports.  This explosion of access to your enterprise applications and data has put more demands on your equipment, and placed your business information at risk.  If your business information is so sensitive, what steps are you taking to safeguard it?

In most instances, on-premise security is weak at best.  Server access is essentially uncontrolled and equipment does not have its own power and fire suppression systems.  There are limited technical means keeping data from incorrect storage on local drives.  There are no administrative requirements to create a complex password and change it regularly.  Let’s be honest: Security equals commitment and commitment equals dollars.  Small business just does not have the resources to commit to security.  Given their limited resources, decision-makers need to focus on ROI. Marketing and customers generate superior ROI; security systems do not.  Face it though; the demand for access will not go away.  This is the dilemma facing decision-makers today.

Securing your sensitive data requires a serious commitment. This commitment is best borne by groups of businesses with identical security needs and a willingness to share the cost of superior security solutions.  To steal a phrase, there is security in numbers and the need for security is what will kill the small server, not the other way around.

About The Author: John Caughell is the Marketing Coordinator for Argentstratus. Argentstratus provides secure hosted solutions for the medical industry. They are experts in the protection of PII and PHI.