Personal Finance

Are you feeling the pain of peer-to-peer?

How does your organization produce, share and secure digital information: peer-to-peer or server-based?

Peer-to-peer means stand-alone personal computers for every employee, connected to each other – if at all – over a local network also delivering Internet connection. Each PC has its own programs, files, data back-up and security. File sharing is possible, but not elegant. This is a classic small business system because of how we start and grow: one employee and PC at a time.

A server-based environment is the next level up. Growing businesses find that a server set-up provides more control over file management, sharing, back-up and security, plus efficiency when adding people.

A server is to a PC what a pair of overalls is to a hand-tailored suit – rugged, utilitarian and plain. It comes with a central processing unit (CPU) and hard drive(s), and is designed to “serve” workstations. All programs, storage, back-up and security resides on the server, instead of at the desktop. And file sharing? Servers are born to share files like a thoroughbred is born to run.

So how does a small business know when to make the leap from peer-to-peer to server?

The rap on converting to server-based has long been that it was big business complicated. For a small business to jump to a server system, the peer-to-peer environment had to be so unproductive that the pain had to be worse than the conversion challenges. But here’s good news: Today you can convert before the pain becomes unbearable.

For a few years now, technology companies have made server hardware and software much more adoption and user friendly for smaller companies, especially with the creation of something called a “server appliance.” This is a features-rich server with pre-loaded software designed to reduce conversion headaches. You just plug your new box into an electrical outlet and your network and, bada-bing, bada-bam, you’re server-based, baby, with central data back-up, security, file sharing – maybe even a phone system. Now, adding a new user is much easier than buying a new PC.

Most providers of these small business-friendly servers distribute them through one of your neighbors, a local small business computer company. Contact one in your area and let them help you decide if it’s time to make the jump to a server platform and which system is best for you.

Write this on a rock… Don’t let peer-to-peer pain get too bad before considering converting to a server.

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Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Small Business

Jim Blasingame

Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He’s the creator and award-winning host of the syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, syndicated columnist and author of Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success. His third book, The Age of the Customer®, released in January 2014. Jim has received awards and recognition for his work and leadership on behalf of small businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), New York Enterprise Report, FORTUNE Small Business and TALKERS magazine. Google ranks Jim as the #1 small business expert.

Read Jim's Bio