Ultimate Server guide for your business

In our ultimate business server guide we go through all the things you will need to know about, questions you will need to ask your IT provider, and questions your IT provider will ask you.

We have created this guide from our experiences with clients around the UK over the years.

Our server guide has advice from our IT team on how to select and purchase the best server for your business needs and budget.

With so many server types, processors, hard drives and other options to choose from, it’s almost impossible to know where to begin. If you want to know how to setup a server for a small business, you’re in the right place.

Guide Contents:

Let’s begin!

Have a cup of tea and get comfortable. This IT guide includes everything. You may even want to bookmark it for future reference!.


Some of the latest stats about UK SME's


What does a server do for your small business?

Having a server for your business can be a great choice if you want to have complete control over your data. Servers allow you to have centralised user controls, improved collaboration and security. From secure email to backing up and storing your data, you can choose which application you want to run.

Applications can include;

When it comes to choosing a server for your business, you can opt for offsite, onsite or cloud-based. Some companies choose cloud-based servers run by third-parties, others have servers in their office. It all depends on the needs of your specific business and industry.

Each option comes with its pros and cons, for example on site servers can give you excellent performance, flexibility as well as security, but you have to maintain them yourself. They can also be more expensive, initially. Cloud servers can be more cost effective in the short-term.

When researching your options, also note that you can buy a server outright or rent one.

Does my small business really need a server?

As your small business evolves, your requirements may change. Ask yourself “Do I really need a server?”.

Generally, as a business grows, there are either new members of staff, the need for increased collaboration or more secure storage. In order to plan and future-proof your set-up Think about the following scenarios.

Will your team grow and need to collaborate more? What kind of applications will you need to use in the future.

A server can improve your business workflow. It allows you to run shared files securely between your team, and quickly find information when you need to. In addition, it can offer a higher level of security for your business data.

Determining your small business server needs is the first step in your plan.

This will help in the process and procedures when it comes to planning your business server strategy. A cloud-based solution may be a better fit, than an on-site server. Or vice versa.

So first your need to decide whether you need a cloud or on-site server. Which one will suit your business best.

All factors will depend on your type of business. Not only the type of servers and hardware, but also your seasonal workflow.

For example, an accountant will typically be much busier during tax return time, than at other times throughout the year. With additional staff and increased general usage. So they will need to allow team members to use any computer, by logging in with their own username and password and being able to access all the usual files.

In some instances your industry may prevent cloud hosting.

There are some industries where the business data is considered extremely sensitive. This includes legal and financial companies. In these cases, data is not allowed to be stored in the cloud.

Talk to your IT provider about all your possibilities, they will be able to assess what is best for your business.

Research specs based on your needs .

Your server is a vital part of you 'technical stack' and key to your business IT infrastructure. Depending on your business requirements you will need to decide which processor, RAM, and hard drive options you need for your small business server. Make a list of applications you plan to run on the server.

Important questions you will be asked by your IT provider

  • How many users do you have?
  • How many sites would you like to protect including cloud?
  • How many servers/VMs do you have currently?
  • How many firewalls do you have in total?
  • What applications do you use?
  • Which vendors are you interested in?
  • How many computers do you have?

Plan and allocate your budget from the start.

Having a server for your business can involve significant investment, so explore all your options before making a final decision.

Think about short term and long term options. Are you going to rent or buy your server? Renting your business server can be a great short term option, costs can increase over time, especially if you are adding new features. Buying your own server, has a higher initial investment. Don't forget server maintenance! This includes installation, configuration, and maintenance of physical and virtual servers.

Once you have chosen which server you will be using, it is vital to understand how much memory and storage you will need, This will prevent you from overspending.

Work out your server budget

Prepare your budget, with all things considered.

A cheaper server may be under £99 per month if you rent, or under £2,000 when buying. A more expensive server is typically over £300 month and over £3,000-£5,000 to buy.

Types of Servers

Getting the right advice in the beginning can save both time and money. Here at HelpDesk Heroes will work with businesses in a range of industries. We offer a unique solution depending on the features needed. We help our clients with physical and cloud servers. Generally, about half of HelpDesk Heroes clients use LDAP, and the other half use Active Directory, They are both widely used authentication servers.


Are you a new business or you are moving to a new office? This is the best time to take advantage of setting up a completely new IT communications network. If you decide to have a server in your office you will need a server cabinet and regular maintenance.


For most businesses upgrading your existing business communications to cloud is a good option if you don’t need a server in your office. There are scalable packages which can be useful, and help to keep costs low.


A hybrid server is a virtual server offering the benefits of a dedicated server along with the flexibility of the cloud. Hardware is shared between users. Overall the cost is lower than dedicated servers. This option is useful in situations where you have a ‘busy season’. Your on site server may struggle with an increased workload. Instead of buying more expensive hardware, you can offload this to a cloud server to cover the excess.


You need to isolate you host in the cloud provider infrastructure for better security? This is possible.

“Dedicated Host”, as its name implies , is an option given by cloud business providers in which you can get your own independent physical host. Cloud providers ensure that even the servers virtually hosted on the same host are entirely isolated from one another. But , you may want to get your own host anyway. So you can pay for an entire physical host managed by the cloud provider .

This method gives you the possibility to BYOL (Bring You Own License) and use it on your dedicated host.

Cloud servers mean you benefit from a server-based infrastructure without having to buy a physical server. You pay a monthly fee and you have access to all of the hardware and software from the vendor. In addition, your server is kept secure and monitored by your provider.

Cloud-based servers for small business offer online backup and storage, as well as the ability to share and access files from any location. If you needed to increase your RAM, you can do so quickly, without having to buy new hardware.

Cloud servers are a great option for many small businesses. For a limited budget as its reduce infrastructure costs, the amount of time spent physically managing your servers. In addition you will have reduced downtime as data centres are constantly monitored for environmental threats.

Types of cloud servers

Lots of industries can benefit from cloud-based servers, but there are some differences you may want to know before investing in one. Again, the needs of your business will dictate whether you choose a public or private server.


Ideal for small and medium business due its pay-as-you-go options and flexibility.


It is good for government agencies, financial institutions or any mid to large size organization with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.


Ideal for mid-range companies that handle sensitive data and require a private environment, yet handle a lot of non-sensitive data that requires to be stored as well.

4 main benefits of having a cloud server

Cloud servers have revolutionized the industry. Now you can manage part of your business (or most of it) from wherever you are, whenever you want, as long as you have a strong internet connection.


Cloud server is a cost effective solution for business which doesn’t have an physical IT platform, yet you get the benefits of having one. Business can save money by sharing cloud servers and just paying the resources they use.


Cloud servers lets you manage your resources whenever you want without the need of having an IT expert. Public cloud is easily controlled by a dashboard.


Cloud servers can be tailored to your needs, this means if you require 10TB of space or just 500GB, you decide. You can always upgrade or downgrade your plan when you need to.


Cloud servers are as good as dedicated ones, you can count on having them working 24/7. Cloud servers work on several different servers, you can be sure downtime is almost null.

Getting a Server for your office

If you have decided to set up a dedicated server in your office, read these tips and things you will need. Keep in mind that you will need an IT expert to ensure everything is set up and running properly.

Your Server Room

Even if you are a small business you will require a unique space for your server. Having a dedicated room for your server is recommended. This obviously will depend on how much space you have in your office as well as the types of hardware you choose. Even if you just buy a small tower server, it will need its own room.

Servers are noisy and ideally you want them away from people trying to work.

There is also the security element. Always keep access to your server restricted and safe from theft or tampering. Keep the room locked and in some cases, install a security camera.

Your server room should have no windows, room to install a cooler, and power backup, in case of an outage.

This room also has to be big enough so you can access your server from both sides in case you need to reach the back. Having neat and tidy cabling helps keep things organised and easier to maintain.

Selecting your hardware

Servers can perform several tasks, but it is recommended to use them to focus them on just one task. For instance, an independent server should be dedicated for LDAP while another independent one should be dedicated to VoIP. This isolation of tasks is for security and organisational reasons. The more tasks, the harder is for the server to perform efficiently. And if one service is hacked, the other one implemented on the same device will be hacked easily as well.

Here’s a list of the most popular uses for a server in a business:

  • File Server
  • LDAP/AD serve
  • VoIP server
  • NTP Server
  • Web Server
  • Mail Server
  • Domain Server
  • Application Server

Also, remember the type of server you buy, ie. tower, blade or rack can affect performance, in terms of size and efficiency. Each type of server requires CPU, RAM, storage, all these things have to be considered, relating to your needs.

Server security

The server is central to your business operations, all your vital information is stored and accessed from it. Therefore, it will always be a potentially attractive target for hackers.

Even if your server is not connected to the internet directly, it still may suffer attacks. DDoS, Trojans in your network, unsecured open ports, even phishing emails.

So, how do you keep it secure?

Here’s a list of basic but powerful ways to add layers of protection to your server.

    Keep it physically locked
  • Limit virtual access controls
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware software
  • Add a firewall
  • Encrypt your data
  • Use intrusion detection and prevention systems
  • Always back up critical data regularly
  • Monitor server health
  • Regularly analyse logs
  • Perform network security audits

Whether you are a small business and are setting up a new server or migrating from another server, our team of experts can guide you through the process. If you need advice on which is the best option for you, book a free consultation with us

Server Support

To keep your business running smoothly you will need reliable server support and 24/7 monitor and maintain your network, whether in-house or outsourced. You will need fast server support in the event of any problems.

Server specs to consider

Firstly you need to choose which form factor you will be using. Form factor simply refers to the shape and size of the server hardware. The three main types are Tower, Blade and Rack.

Depending on the type of servers you choose to run, there are additional features including transfer speed, storage and memory.

Types of Hardware Server

Tower Servers

As its name implies, tower servers are a bit like a PC. They are also cheaper than rack or blade servers, this makes them a popular option for a business with a small budget.

Rack Servers

Rack servers generally offer more processing power than towers and can be configured to multiple workloads. Rack servers also take up less space than tower.

Blade Servers

This is a modular server that let multiple servers to be housed in a small area. They typically offer reduced power consumption, high processing power.

Server hardware requirements

When you buy server hardware for your business, evaluate your requirements and consider the following features.

Processing Unit

This is a fundamental piece you have to consider, your server will be constantly managing programs and data so you need a reliable CPU.

Some servers uses multiple processors at the same time, consisting in one processor per pocket. Other servers use a single processor but multiple cores to support multiprocessing.

By saying this, you should consider the number of cores available per processor, clock speed, available cache and number of pockets.

Memory & RAM

Memory is critical to get the best performance out of your system. In simple words, the more memory you have, the better your server will handle workloads of data. So consider a good memory ram with high quality and speed.


The space you need will depend on your needs. Do you want to run a web app? Do you want to storage data? You just want to backup?

Depending on the amount of data, you will need certain size of storage so your server runs smoothly. This will depend on your IT provider to analize this and give you its best option depending on your needs.

Most servers support SSD and HHD, but you should ask your provider to confirm which drive types they support, as well as their related drive technologies, which might include Serial-Attached SCSI, Serial Advanced Technology Attachment and non-volatile memory express.

Ethernet connectors, USB Ports and storage

Network connectivity is also important when setting up your server. You need to make sure your server has the capability to connect with your other equipment, including other servers and a storage unit.

The speed and amount of ethernet connectors, the number and type of USB ports and support for storage systems, such as storage-area networks.

Other features

Additional attributes to look into include hot swapping capabilities and the level of redundancy available for components such as hard drives, power supply units and fans. Server management capabilities and security features are also important.

Management and maintenance

In order to maintain and manage your server efficiently, you will require some specialized tools and some practices.

Server monitoring system

This system will provide you with critical data about the server performance. So if there’s a problem your IT team can act quickly before it escalates. This tools can track the usage of resources as CPU, memory or storage.

Energy consumption tools

high voltage or low voltage can affect computers negatively, the same happens with servers. A energy consumption tool can help you measure how much power is being used by the server and calculate estimates of consumption according to your server.

Human maintenance

You IT team should regularly inspect this tools and also keep the area clean and in conditions to extend the life of your servers. However, hardware servers have a lifespan and their components will eventually break either by temperature or power.


Servers will need replacements at some point, however during before that, if an error should occur you will need an IT professional on hand to troubleshoot.

The first step is determine the size of the problem and isolate it to the right server. Once the problem is detected, you should scan the server with the management tools to get the alerts, network connections and general performance.

Having a response plan in case of emergency can help your business avoid downtime. But as we said before, having a good maintenance protocol and keeping your servers on the right environment, cold and ventilated, is essential.

Pay special attention to firmware updates to keep your server current. Also look at the energy test and generators, to verity your servers are getting the right amount of energy.

Most businesses choose to migrate their servers to increase performance, including speeding up response times, and adding new features.

What is server migration

When a business either upgrades to a new physical server or moves to the cloud, the data has to be transferred. This transfer of data is known as 'server migration'.

Server migration - Getting it right

When you need to change servers, whether on a small scale or a large scale server migration, preparation and tracking is key. Having an IT professional handle the task will save a lot of headaches.

This is not a simple answer and it requires some considerations about your needs to make the proper choice.

Outsource support maybe look like a cost-effective solution, but sometimes it can be frustrating to wait on the phone for a solution. On the other hand, in-house support is limited to the office’s schedule, so if an accident occurs on a weekend you’ll have to wait until Monday to fix it.

So let’s take a deeper look at each option.

What is outsourcing IT support?

Basically, outsourced IT support is when an external company will help you to fix any IT problem you have in your company. In some cases, they will fix the problem remotely, while in other circumstances they will have to go to your company to take care of the problem.

You will be able to choose a service provider but won’t choose who are they sending to fix the problem.

Outsourced pros and cons.

  1. Cost saving: This is definitely the best advantage of outsourcing, you’ll just pay when you need maintenance or help. This can save you a lot of money and could be beneficial for low budgets.
  2. 24/7 support: This is another great advantage that you can enjoy. A regular IT team will help you during office time, on the other hand, outsourced support can work in more flexible schedules.
  3. Reduced outage: Since it offers 24/7 support, there are fewer chances to suffer from outages and downtime. As soon as the system reports a problem, the outsourced team can solve it from distance.
  4. Less responsibilities: When you outsource you just have to pay for the service obtained and that’s it. By saying this, you won’t have the responsibilities of paying salaries, human resources, offices, etc.
  5. Fixed monthly cost: Some companies can offer you plans for IT support, so you pay a basic monthly fee to repair some issues per month. This is a cost-effective solution and can help you control your budget in an effective way.
  1. It could be frustrating: In a certain way, outsourcing can lead to frustrations since you have to make a process through phone talking with nonexperts to finally get a solution.
  2. Remote assistance: Remote assistant is ok for some software enquiries, but sometimes it is needed to have a person in your company to fix a hardware problem. Outsourced companies offer to go to your company, but most of the issues will be handled remotely.
  3. Less control over time and procedures: Since you are outsourcing you will have to wait for the service to be completed. So you won’t have control over this.
  4. Less security over your data: It can also lead to insecurities since you have to leave your data in others’ hands. So you’ll better do proper research before hiring an outsourced IT support service, because they will have to access your server to fix it.

What is in-house IT support?

In-house IT support is when you employ your own IT department in your company. You will be in charge of them and if there’s a problem they will handle it. They are responsible for the IT infrastructure in your company and in charge of maintenance and fixing it.

In house pros and cons


  1. Intimate knowledge about the product: Your team will know what to fix and how to fix it immediately. They will know how the company is structured and what the protocols are.
  2. Greater control on procedures: You and your team will have better control over the procedures of your IT environment. This means your team will be specialized in your specific needs as a business, for example, specialized training for certain processes and situations.
  3. Quick IT support: You can rest your mind by knowing that there’s a team that can handle IT problems fast and efficiently.
  4. Control on data security: Sensitive data won’t be in third party hands but in your personal.
  1. Expensive in the long term: As your company grows, your IT department will grow too. You’ll need to invest more resulting is more expenses.
  2. Less availability: Your team can solve the problems in their schedule work schedule. So if there’s a problem out of business schedule you will have to wait. Also, think you have to wait on vacation and other holidays.
  3. Requires Trust: This is not a con per see, but you have to hire trustworthy personal. Keep in mind this person will have access not just to your IT infrastructure but your sensitive data.
  4. Limited by knowledge: One person can’t know everything. You will have to hire two or three professional, experts in specific areas to have a strong IT department.

Which one?

There’s no single answer or one size fits all approach. This will depend on the size, type, requirements and budget.

If you are a small business, let’s say, with 10 employees that needs a server to store data, you can easily opt for a outsourced solution. It will be simple, effective and cost-effective.

On the other hand, if you own a legal firm, with 50 employees and want a server to store sensitive information, it is better to think of an in-house team.

Mixed options

Keep in mind servers are critical and it best to have them in full working order, everything up-to-date and in good shape. Maybe a small company doesn’t need a server to be live 24/7, but medium-size companies or enterprises with apps and teams working constantly, do need to.

Some companies will have both, in house and outsourced IT help. For example an in-house IT team for handling most tasks, and outsourced for emergency situations.

Small business server solutions

A small businesses with between 1-5 staff and not a very high number of customers (or a number of customers that can grow drastically) , for example estate agents or accountancy firms, can get the benefits of this easy to use and low budget type of servers.

If you are a small business and your main priority is efficiency and simplicity at a low cost then we would recommend that you consider using the small business server solutions such as :

  • Dell PowerEdge T30

  • Lenovo ThinkServer TS150

Multiple Office Server Solutions

Protecting your network in multiple office locations as well as for remote employees is critical to a modern work environment especially after the pandemic situation that we have all witnessed and that imposed the remote work as well as the usage of multiple office server .

Having to manage data from different branch offices & remote staff we recommend considering the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

VPNs makes it much easier to connect to multiple offices . In fact, users will be able to exchange data across a private, secure and encrypted network, even if their traffic goes through the Internet.

This solution is ideal for businesses with several locations or remote workers.

  • FortiGate 90 – 60 series

  • Sophos

These solutions are ideal for businesses with several locations or remote workers.

Mid Range Server Solutions

Mid Range data storage solutions are designed for businesses that have a small but growing number of employees and overall devices, especially startups.

The midrange computer is more powerful than a personal computer but less powerful than a mainframe. It is situated between the personal computer and the mainframe in terms of processing capability and size.

This is the best mid-range server solution gives a combination of processors that are faster than ordinary personal computers. It’s capable of handling millions of instructions per second.

An example of mid-range computer is:

  • IBM Power System
  • DELL PowerEdge R730 Rack Server

Enterprise Server Solutions

Enterprise server solutions , also called as mainframe servers, are a famility of computers that is designed with sophisticated and advanced hardware. This will provide the required computational power and the large memory needed by enterprises with a considerable number of employees and clients as well.

Enterprise server solutions include:

  • Dell EMC PowerEdge XE2420
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise Superdome Flex 280
  • IBM Bare Metal Servers
  • Lenovo ThinkSystem SR860/SR850 V2

Virtual Server Solutions

Unlike physical servers that are usually racked and maintained in datacenters, virtual servers share one physical device to run as an independent entity.

Previously, one physical server is usually used to run tasks that will be executed by the same operating system. Nowadays, it’s possible for one single physical server to host many virtual hosts where each virtual server has his own independent operating system.

Virtual servers installed on one single device can share hardware thanks to a hypervisor that enables server virtualization. An example of virtualization technologies that can be used in this context:

  • KVM: is an open source virtualization technology by RedHat that turns Linux into a hypervisor.
  • Microsoft Hyper-V: a native hypervisor for windows

Server solutions for small business

Whether you are a small business and are setting up a new server or migrating from another server, our team of experts can guide you through the process. If you need advice on which is the best option for you, book a free consultation with us.

HelpDesk Heroes expert team are able to answer all your questions and help you with the ideal solution for needs.


Server Support

IT services for small business. Have questions or need help?
Use the form to reach out and we will be in touch with you as quickly as possible

Our Happy Clients

We work hard to make sure all our clients are happy.
Using our IT services for small businesses, they don't have to think about their IT, because we do.


We have been very impressed by the professionalism of HelpDesk Heroes and their dedication to our company. Upon purchasing their services, we were presented with a plan tailored to our structure and needs which includes an overseas office. To this day, HelpDesk Heroes has never let us down and, despite our constantly changing needs, we feel supported and cared for by our dedicated HelpDesk Heroes team, especially Josh and Jackye."


Cindy Richards

Rylan Peters & Small Publishing


"Having been happily looked after by one of HelpDesk Heroes’ founders Jackye for over ten years, it only made sense to follow when we heard the news of their new company – we wouldn’t go anywhere else! I would gladly recommend their IT support services. They are extremely flexible with our team, our enquiries and always respond in no time if we do have an urgent problem. They understand our core needs almost as if they are a part of the team itself so continue to improve and enhance the way we work and function. It has been refreshing to have the IT support and solutions thought about overall and not just ‘patched’ when things have gone wrong."


Gulsen Yanik

Big Al’s Creative Emporium Advertising Agency