As a small business owner, how much time can you invest in managing your company’s server(s)?
Before you answer that question, remember that managing a server requires a lot of attention to keep the server up and running efficiently. Also consider that your company website runs on this server and the availability of that website depends on the health of the server.
Now, no business owner wants to invest much time never mind effort on server management.
For those who aren’t IT savvy, the technicalities involved in managing a server can easily translate to frustration, unless someone skilled in the field is employed—something small businesses may not be able to afford because of limited resources. This is why top web hosting companies offer robust hosting options for small business owners. An example is Umbrellar.com, one of the largest hosting companies in Australia and New Zealand.
For businesspeople who know their way around servers, the mechanics of server management might not be a problem. This brings us back to the issue of time. How much time are you willing to deny the business your talent and energy in your quest to manage your own hosting service?
An hour per day? Perhaps two hours? Or is that too much?
This is why a fully managed hosting service, where the hosting provider takes care of all server-related issues, is ideal for small businesses. With this type of package, you aren’t only renting the infrastructure for your hosting, but you are also hiring a management team and at a much cheaper rate than if you hired an individual or team for yourself. You benefit from economies of scale, where a hosting provide has the resources, team and expertise to manage vast hosting requirements all at once.
If you are a small business owner and are still doubting that a managed hosting service is for you, here are some of the benefits you might want to be aware of:
- Server Monitoring
This is a pre-emptive approach to solving system issues and involves scanning your servers for any anomalies or signs of potential crash so that any detected problems can be addressed before they escalate into major complications.
With a DIY approach you would need to employ system admins to carry out the constant monitoring activities; it’s unlikely you will have time to do it yourself. Even if you have the time, server monitoring requires a certain skill set, which you might not possess in abundance.
With managed hosting, however, you don’t have to worry about the monitoring, because your provider does this for you, paying detailed and consistent attention to your server to guarantee its uptime and network availability.
- System Security
If you have experienced a malware attack on your computer before, then you understand the need for security when it comes to servers and why it should be a top priority for your business.
Data loss, reputation threats presented by hackers, and the theft of clients’ sensitive information are all cause for concern when it comes to internet security. These are just some of the problems faced by companies running their own servers. If not prevented, they can lead to catastrophic reputational and financial failure..
Here’s what system security actually covers:
- Operating system updates.
- Virus scanning and eviction.
- Firewall configuration.
- Spam filtering.
- The running of security audits.
With a managed hosting service, your provider does all this for you. You don’t even have to think about them; all you need to do is focus on your business, knowing that your provider is well-equipped with the right tools and personnel to ensure your server and data is safe from attacks.
- Managed Storage
The thing with growing companies is that their storage needs fluctuate. Normally storage requirements increase as a company expands. Hence, the amount of disk space and bandwidth required for moving and storing a company’s data today may become inadequate tomorrow.
For companies running their own servers, this can present a problem; it’s either their server can’t handle the amount of data it’s fed or it has too much wasted space (and resource cost) when weighed against the amount of data the company produces.
A managed server can scale, depending on a company’s storage needs. This means no shortage of space; no wasted space and resources; enough room and some leeway; making it a cost-effective way to manage company data.
Apart from that, with managed hosting, a company also gets managed database, handled by your host’s software and service consultants, who are skilled and experienced in MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server, and who design an efficient database system tailored to your need.
Talking of costs, hiring server admins to handle the technical aspects of an unmanaged hosting service can mean spending tens of thousands on their annual salaries. Add that to the cost of renting or buying the server and weigh the sum against the cost of using a managed hosting service and you begin to see how much you can save in a year with the latter.
Data loss has led to the death of many companies. Your company’s data is probably the lifeblood of your business and should be protected at all costs. This is why routine or automated backup of data is vital for any business.
Think about natural disasters, fire outbreaks, hardware theft, invading hackers, virus infiltration, and other possible data catastrophes. Any one of these can result in your company losing its data, especially if you are running an on-premises server or if your hardware is outsourced but not managed by your hosting provider.
An unmanaged hosting service means you will have to run or automate the backup yourself. But with a managed service, you can have peace of mind knowing that your provider has proper backup and data redundancy measures in place to ensure your data remains safe no matter what happens.
There are, of course, more benefits, but from these you can begin to wonder why some businesses—perhaps, even yours—still use an unmanaged hosting service. They obviously have their reasons, sometimes good ones, especially if they are big companies.
Whatever those reasons may be, an unmanaged hosting service, for a small business with limited resources, rarely beats a managed one. All you have to do if you currently use an unmanaged hosting service is review the convenience it offers you, consider the benefits discussed above, and then decide which hosting service is best for your business.