When you own a small business, your business servers can function in any number of ways; secure hosting email and website, hosting ecommerce, data backups, storing documents, hosting applications, etc. Regardless of the functions that your server provides, you need to ensure that they are expertly serving the unique needs of your small business. So how do you know if your servers are good?
Whatever product or service your business provides, we recommend that you review three key areas that affect the ways your server runs and address those needs right away.
Business Servers Speed
When business servers are slow, a common assumption is that insufficient memory, storage, or processor power are to blame. While those can certainly be to blame, often the issue is too many temporary files, lack of updates, or connections to resources such as printers that no longer exist.
Optimize your server space by running regular clean ups, checking connections to other hardware, and reviewing temp data and other redundant information to see what could be cleared away.
If you have the type of small business where clients are regularly connecting with you through a website, you’ll want to make sure that your SRT (server response time) is as low as possible. If your clients are waiting on pages to load, that is going to decrease their interest and likelihood that they will continue to work with you.
You should also review the versions of software that you are running, because that can also slow down processing time. For example, let’s say you are running a specific application for your small business. You are running it in version two, but an employee or client could be running it in version six. Not only do you have an insecure connection between the two versions, but the discrepancies between the two are also going to slow down your process time. Make sure that everyone on your staff is running not just an updated version of software, but the same version of software to improve speed.
Updates on Small Business Servers
As mentioned above, small business servers are particularly vulnerable when they are missing updates. Hackers LOVE to exploit and take advantage of these kinds of weak points on your server. By updating and upgrading your server’s software, you are ensuring the ongoing security of your server. Being proactive benefits you in the long run; avoiding regular updates could land you in the position of having a server so old that support for it has been discontinued. It is far more cost-effective to stay on top of updates and upgrades than it is to purchase a new server entirely.
Think of your software upgrades like routine dental maintenance. Nobody likes going into the dentist and finding out they need a filling, and we all know that regular flossing and brushing can keep cavities at bay. The pain of a cavity pales in comparison to losing important data or having your server crash due to a virus that snuck in because an upgrade wasn’t initiated on schedule.
Give yourself peace of mind by running all updates and upgrades as recommended, but also make time to review the updates before they run. Allowing a system to make changes on its own can be risky, so make it best practice for you or someone on your team to first run an update in a test environment.
Just remember that some updates can conflict with other business software. Make sure to review both your software and updates to ensure that you don’t miss any potential risks.
Back Ups for Business Servers
The best practice for backing up your data is to have a detailed plan in place. When you understand the impact that data loss can have on performance, operations, productivity and your bottom line, it is a no brainer to put time and resources in place to create plans for both backing up and recovering your data.
A main goal of your back up process should be business continuity, how your business will continue to run in the event of a data breach or your server going down. Having a secure, encrypted, but easy to access (for you!) backup of your small business data is going to remove at least some of the headache of dealing with a data breach.
Backup your server regularly and store encrypted backups of sensitive or private information offsite or in the cloud. A “regular” backup timeline can depend on both the type of server you use and the industry your small business operates in. You should also know the difference between incremental and full back ups. If you are doing incremental backups, be aware that you could lose important files in the process. Make it standard practice to carefully review your backups before deleting old files, because once you delete something it can’t be recovered. Many small businesses can make the easy mistake of deleting files to increase space, without checking to see if there is vital information about to be deleted, or if those files have an additional back up elsewhere
You should also ensure that your data backups are set to notify someone whether they are successful or not. Just getting alerted isn’t good enough. A backup that never starts can’t fail, and all kinds of havoc can be wreaked behind your back because you never got a notification. Your server could back up hourly, daily, or a few times a week. Just check the regulations in your industry (specifically if you are in healthcare) to ensure that you are in compliance.
Whether your back ups are automated or manual, you should run test back ups and check to see if your data recovery (especially encrypted data) is coherent. A backup is no good if it can’t actually restore your data accurately.
At Tech Masters, we run quarterly restore tests for our clients as best practice. We also perform comprehensive evaluations of your server for security, performance, and more. Schedule a free consultation with us right away.
“Business Servers are particularly vulnerable when they are missing updates. “
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