But let's assume you can somehow manage to juggle your users' needs and the extra burdens their workstations carry by providing server services to everyone. Consider the type and quality of the services you are presently providing and what you really may want and need as your organization grows.
Does your peer-to-peer network provide a centralized incoming and outgoing desktop fax service, or do your people run back and forth to a mechanical fax device after printing out their documents? Do you have a centralized mail service which handles all incoming and outgoing email? Do you have a method of providing a company intranet, and can you realistically control internet browsing? Can any of your workstations host a 1-gigabyte database that everyone in your outfit connects to at once? Can you remotely access your business network securely from anywhere in the world and use your office files and printers as if you were sitting at your desk at work? With a basic peer-to-peer network, your answers will be in the negative.
As you grow into the need for any of these higher-end services you will have to spend time, effort and money on purchasing them piecemeal and kludging them together, probably with additional computers. And then, if all goes well, you'll have to get your people trained to use them. The costs, not only in dollars but also in lost time and productivity, can be unacceptable.
In contrast, let's take a moment to look at how it might work with a basic client-server setup.
Desktop Fax Service: A centralized system which permits users to fax documents directly from applications on their workstations, and can receive faxes on behalf of an organization.
Remote Access: A method by which an authorized user may connect to their home network from a remote location. Traditionally accomplished by modem-to-modem connection, but now also available via secure Virtual Private Networking (VPN) using the internet as the connection medium.
Proxy Server: Computer P, above, interfaces directly to the Internet, allowing workstations W controlled Internet access while protecting them from being reached by others who are on the Internet as well.