Do I Really Need a Server?

Sep 30, 2021 | Blog

Businesses often ask us if they really need a server and the short answer for a small business is, “Generally no, but sometimes yes.”In the olden days, you really needed a Windows server to do just about anything in a business, even a small business. Your email, your files, everything about your business lived on the server. That model worked well when everyone only had a computer at work and worked only in the office.The growing availability of cloud services means many of the things that were commonly done on a server can be done on a paid application subscription called software-as-a-service or SaaS, in the cloud. We fully expect the need for a business to own a server to continue to decrease as time goes by.

Why you might not need a server

If you are a small business, run your business from your laptop, and are constantly on the go, then you probably do not need a server.Below are some things that you either should be or can be getting from cloud sources. Of course, if you are buying them from the cloud vendor, you are going to be paying every month.


Everyone should be using a reputable cloud vendor for their email. This helps ensure you are able to get email even if you lose power at your office, or your internet goes down. Most companies use Office 365, G-Suite, or third-party hosting like AppRiver or Rackspace. We do not recommend you get your email from the company that is hosting your website.

Sharing Files

You no longer need a server to share files. With the advent of file sync and share solutions like Box, OneDrive and Google Drive, you can securely share files with coworkers even if they are not in the office, or with people outside your office. These programs also allow access on phones and tablets. Although these solutions do have some drawbacks compared to a traditional file server, they can be game-changing for most companies.

Why you might still need a server

Even with cloud services, there are still some very valid reasons you would benefit from having a server in your office. These are issues more commonly seen in larger companies. At this time, we generally do not recommend a server for companies with less than 10 computers, unless you meet one or more of the points below.

Multiple Employees Use the Same Computer

If you have employees sharing computers, then having a server in your business can make your life much easier. You can create managed logins for your employees so they can change computers without any hassles.

You Have an Application which Requires a Server

Some businesses use applications that still require an on-premises server or makes it easier to use the application. These are typical electronic medical records systems or other complicated pieces of software that help you run your business, but even sharing QuickBooks amongst multiple users is easier on a server.

You need Tighter Control of Security and Logins

While cloud services are allowing tighter control over devices, a server still offers unparalleled control over logins and PCs connected to them. If you are concerned about security, employee control, and more detailed reporting, then a server might be a good idea.

You have Compliance Requirements

If your business requires you to be a compliant entity, to HIPAA for instance, then you will most likely need a server. While you can achieve compliance without one, for a company with multiple computers it becomes extremely difficult and time-consuming.

You have A LOT of Data to Store

If you have a lot of data to store, then a server is also likely a good fit for you. Storing and managing large amounts of data (think Terabytes) in the cloud can be cost-prohibitive.

You Don’t Want to Pay Monthly

If you don’t like paying monthly fees, then a server is a good option. With judicious use of VPN and other technologies, you can achieve access to your systems for even a remote workforce.

You Are a Larger Company with Lots of Complexity

Generally speaking, the larger the company the more complex it is. If you own a large company, you probably use a mix of cloud solutions along with a server to make sure your employees can be as efficient as possible no matter the scenario.

Is Going Serverless the Right Fit for You?

As you can see, there are many variables to consider. Also, the reasons for and against having a server are changing as technology continues to change. Servers generally cost more to own and operate, but not having the right set up can cost you more in the long run due to lost productivity and inefficiencies.We firmly believe in the motto, “the right tool for the right job.” Contact us for help determining what technology tools will work best for your business.Call (844) 448-7767 or fill out a form to schedule a time to discuss what your business needs to run securely, efficiently, and profitably.