So you need a server in order to get things on the road, but don’t know where to start? Here’s some quick simple steps from Irma Hunkeler at, that will equip you with the best knowledge for the buy.

Whatever the size of your financial services business, a server is a crucial component of a growing company. From ensuring you can run all your systems properly, to keeping in touch with your clients, and making sure your staff can access the tools they need to do their jobs, a server is the technical support you’ll need to expand effectively.

While once expensive, the cost of servers has come down in recent years and today they represent a cost-effective way of managing your storage needs. All the major players - including Dell, IBM, HP and Intel - offer a wide variety of servers suited to different business needs. But which is right for you? Here are some ways you can choose the best server for your company.

Know the different types of server

There are a wide variety of servers available for you to rent, all doing a number of different jobs. Some of the most common server types include:

Communications server - handles all types of communication, including email, remote access, internet and security protection

File server - stores employees’ data files

Print server - manages all printers in your business and all printing jobs

Application server - shares application software and means software does not need to be installed on employees’ individual computers

Database server - manages databases

Domain server - controls which computers and employees can access certain resources and programs

NAS server - provides shared access to business files, folders, and items like printers

Understand the business benefits of using a server

A server is designed to support many users - it means all your employees can use email, access word processors, spreadsheets, web browsers, customer relationship management software, databases and much more. In short, a server is a hub in which all your company’s important documents and files are stored.

A greater understanding of how servers benefit a business will help you work out which kind would be best for your company:

Better collaboration - servers allow for much greater sharing and collaboration among your team, with employees able to access documents, images and other files easily. This is a major plus for financial services firms working on big, cross-border projects which involve workers all over the world.

Communication - a server can act as a company intranet and through that, your employees can communicate quickly and effectively - perfect when someone needs a quick response on a pressing issue.

Remote working - some servers allow for a virtual private network, or VPN. This means your employees can access anything stored on the server when they’re not in the office - great for on-the-go working.

Safety and security - financial services companies hold a lot of sensitive, confidential information. A server can back-up this information, so if a computer is stolen your data should be protected.

Ask yourself these questions

To work out which server will suit your business, ask yourself some questions:

Is working remotely important to your company?

If your business has a flexible working policy and allows employees to work from home regularly, or you simply spend a lot of time going from meeting to meeting, a VPN will be a must.

What is your main day-to-day business?

What do your employees do most of the day? Share files? Speak to clients? Send emails? Analyse data? Work out what your team spends most of its time doing, then work out which server best suits your needs (see the range of server types above).

Do you hold lots of critical information?

If you work in finance, the answer to this question is likely yes. From ransomware attacks, to human error, to theft, it’s easy for information to fall into the wrong hands. As well as a robust cyber security policy, look for a server that offers a data back-up, so any confidential information you hold is protected.

Do you have enough space?

Some servers are quite big! You’ll need to ensure you have enough space to hold one.

As a rule of thumb, if your business has several employees and lots of computers, and you need to run a large number of systems and applications, you should consider servers that allow for large storage. These are generally rack and tower servers.

Rack servers - this is a bit of a misnomer, as a ‘rack’ is really a storage box that allows you to fit a certain number of servers inside. If you are a large, growing business and will need several servers, consider a rack.

Tower servers - these look a little like the standard desktop PC. Affordable and easy to fit, they will help you run basic apps and systems.

For any financial services business, a server will be an essential tool in helping you to grow. As they help your team communicate and collaborate, they will also support you in achieving your end goal - delivering a great service to your clients.