In-house servers are risky and cost ineffective but still number one choice for SMEs.

Small to medium size UK businesses are wasting money every day and putting the future of their business in jeopardy through old fashioned computing practices, which are costing them 18 billion annually. This is the conclusion of the Server Solutions Study by Fasthosts, the UK's largest independent hosting company.

Fasthosts conducted a study into server computing solutions in SME businesses. It examined the basic solutions needed to set up a server securely in-house in comparison to using hosted services. The study revealed that many small businesses in the UK host their server in-house because of the out-dated belief that this allows maximum access and security. Following an examination of the SME server computing environment, the opposite was found to be the case, as hosting a server within the company premises requires careful consideration and preparation.

Analysis revealed that the minimum requirements for SMEs running a server in-house are a power failure system to ensure the server can be shut down safely in case of an emergency; SDSL internet connection for maximum upload speed; a remote control card for access to the server from outside the office; a firewall for security and additional considerations such as air conditioning; physical security and remote back up. The study found that the cost for these quickly add up and on an ongoing basis impact the bottom line. (Source: National Statistics and Fasthosts' Server Solutions Study, 2005)

However, when these systems are not in place the future of any small business can be at risk. Especially small businesses in London have a very low three-year survival rate at 62.8% in contrast to Northern Ireland (72.4%), Wales (86%) and Scotland (65.3%) (Source: Confederation of British Industry, 2005).

"In our experience many businesses are still stuck in 1980s computing mentality," comments Andrew Michael, CEO of Fasthosts. "They need to move and embrace new computing practices. It is impossible to put value on data so it needs to be kept under maximum security - data is the lifeblood of any business. Only a hosted environment offers the required security solutions in a cost effective bundle, however the SME market remains largely ignorant of this."

Fasthosts carried out the Server Solution Study to analyse its dedicated server offering and ensure it matches the needs of the marketplace. Fasthosts offers hosted services for servers in a highly secure, air conditioned data centre in the UK. The hosted servers can be set up instantly online and come with a private LAN, easy to use control panel, full remote control and firewall. An SDSL connection can be added as well as secure database hosting.

The Server Solutions Study was carried out in November 2005 and examined the costs of essential solutions needed to host a server securely and safely in-house versus hosting it at a remote data centre. The study examined the UK SME server computing environment, including all factors essential to secure maximum uptime and the security of business critical data. Key solutions examined included air conditioning, SDSL, UPS, firewall, remote control card which are provided by most hosting providers as part of a standard hosting package.

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