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How to set up a server configuration for a small business

This post will help explain to everyone everything they need to know about setting up a network server configuration for small businesses. Numerous steps are involved which include selection of the correct hardware, most suited operating system, connecting the server to a network and of course, its security.

Here are the steps:

  • Selecting the right server hardware.
  • Choosing the best operating system for the server.
  • Choosing a suitable location for the server.
  • Network Server configuration.
  • Server security implementation.

What is a network server examples?

There are three examples of network servers which are mail servers, web servers and virtual servers.

How do I set up a network server?

Here are the key steps involved in setting up network servers:

Selecting the right server hardware

Servers can conduct a wide array of tasks. Yet they are best used when they carry out either one or a set of few but specified tasks. A server’s hardware and features which businesses need usually depend on the tasks required to be carried out. Here are some common use purposes of servers for businesses:

  • For files.
  • Keeping the web active.
  • For mail.
  • Print purposes.
  • Domain Servers.
  • Database maintenance.
  • To keep Applications running.

Another criteria for choosing server hardware is the server’s form. There are three kinds to choose from, namely blade server, rackmount server and tower server. Certain server application require certain and specific features, which are as under:

  • Database servers should be able to support a redundant array of independent disks (RAID). They should have hard drives capable of fast writing speeds.
  • File servers ideally should have multiple and changeable drive bays.
  • High RAM and hardware redundancy favor web servers.

Each kind of server has its own specific hardware and features, and professionals can hence determine its capabilities based on these factors. Before choosing a server, business owners must pay special attention to the size of the CPU, storage offered and RAM with due consideration given to the server’s purpose.

Choosing the best operating system for the server

Servers need specialized versions of operating systems which are robust, incorruptible and can support multiple users in one instant. Here are some common operating systems used by them:

  • CentOS.
  • Linux Ubuntu Server.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Windows Server Essentials.

Selecting the correct operating system for the server is a crucial decision. It has a direct impact on the server’s cost and usability factors. Here are key factors to consider before choosing one:

  • The user-friendliness factor.
  • Level of support provided.
  • Level of customization.
  • The cost factor.

Choosing a suitable location for the server

Each business should have a dedicated room to house the server on an ideal basis. Even though any business owner may choose to go for a small sized tower server, it is still worth having a separate space or room to house the server.

Additionally, servers are known to make a lot of noise and from a security viewpoint, it is advisable to keep them in a separate room. Additionally controlling access to the servers helps reduce security risks, and is a needed provision for meeting regulatory compliance practices.

The server room should have no windows but must be air conditioned and must have a backup power supply. The former is needed to help reduce its temperature and should work round the clock. The latter helps keep both cooling systems and servers running.

The server room needs to be large and be well ventilated. It can be easily set up on a table or a desk, a proper rackmount is recommended. It helps secure and  network server configuration hardware and allows its placement in an organized manner.

An overlooked aspect of server management is cable management. Maintenance work, servicing and hardware troubleshooting becomes easier through proper organization and management of cables, as well as labeling them properly.

A relevantly small office space can end up with miles of cables which not only make the server room inhabitable and unusable but also can cause problems in other rooms too. Hence, a patch panel can help organize them and investing in such is a smart move.

Server configuration 

Before any business owner can start configuring a server, they need to install the operating system. The process is similar to installing software and operating systems on most computers using a DVD drive, a USB, a USB hard drive or virtual medium. In some instances, the server may already have the OS installed. This helps in configuration with ease quickly.

After installation of the operating systems, here are some typical configuration tasks when it comes to configuring office servers:

  • Creating the server’s secure admin password.
  • Configuration of network but default network settings can work.
  • Adding local admin accounts on each computer system, and connecting them to the main server.
  • Setting up the server as a domain controller so all computers on the network can join the centralized environment. It can authenticate user credentials.
  • Creating options for remote access and sharing.
  • Server backup should be set up.
  • A proper data strategy should be made and implemented.
  • Configuring firewall for intrusion prevention.

These steps can differ depending on the server’s function. Also, the complex nature of steps involved also differ depending on whether it is a database server, a web or a printer server and vice versa. Needless to say, network server configuration should be done meticulously.

Server security implementation

Servers are important for all businesses and organizations. Not only are they the center of all business related activities, from service provision to client service, data swapping, database management and the like but are also key to organizations functioning daily. This is why hackers always look to attack them. Network server configuration security must be seriously considered.

Multiple vectors are used to attack Servers. Web and mail servers connect directly and are thus targets of malware. Even if the network server configuration isn’t directly connected to the internet (database servers especially), they are still vulnerable to facing attacks from internal and external networks.

Phishing emails, drive-by attacks, insecure open ports, Trojans and DDoS attacks by far are quite common when it comes to cyber attacks.

What level of system and network configuration?

The required level of system and network configuration can be determined through the following points:

  • Creating physical and virtual access controls to limit access to servers.
  • Installation of antivirus and anti malware software, and regularly updating them.
  • Setting up and maintaining the firewall for the server.
  • Activation of systems that detect and prevent intrusion.
  • Tactics for encrypting data.
  • Proper periodic data backup.
  • Software to check server health and anomalies in internet traffic.
  • Regular log analysis.
  • Regularly carrying out network security audits.


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