If you are imagining something similar to an apple pie with a different filling then I am sorry to disappoint you, a Raspberry Pi is a low cost computer about the size of your hand. I know the name is a bit confusing the first time you hear it but now maybe you are thinking about why a computer is called something delicious? Well luckily I sourced an interview which explains why this is the case so we can get onto talking about the use of Raspberry Pis in business. This is a blog post for those who are just starting out, need a cheap computer for business systems or those who need a small computer which can do so much more. We have all been conditioned to believe that small businesses can only be launched by spending significant sums of money but I'm here to let you know that this is not the case with Raspberry Pis.
The Raspberry Pi was developed by a UK company that wanted to make the power of digital making available to as many people as possible by creating a very cheap computer which is now up to it's third generation, the Raspberry Pi 3. This computer has available a free linux operating system specifically designed to run on it, either NOOBS or Raspian (based on the Debian, jessie distribution). It is important to note that these computers are cheap and should not be thought of as a long term replacement for growing, mature or large businesses but can help you get started with a small budget. They are perfect for running low traffic, small web based services such as a website, blog, cloud storage, small e-mail servers, calendars / to-do lists or even a small online store. They are also great for solving issues that traditional computer systems would not be considered for, such as portable repositories / caches, low risk automation, commissioning packages, the possibilities are certainly there. Keep in mind, given their cost and nature, they are fairly slow, they won't handle significant bursts of internet traffic, are not designed to have high availability and do not have mechanisms in place to cater for hardware failure or the like. The costs involved with setting one up do allow you to get your business off the ground quickly which requires some technical skills and time required to invest in using one to get your business systems off the ground and fortunately if you don't then we can help you there.
Why these computers are great is that, if the worst happened, and your system fell over, the total cost to replace it is fairly inexpensive with a forgiving operating system allowing you the ability to defer spending on some IT infrastructure and applications until you have some much needed revenue. While I do like Raspberry Pis for their cost factor they don't come with many business systems installed which is where the fun begins. A Raspberry Pi can be used to run just about any linux based application with many open source or paid options available to use. Another interesting feature called ssh tunneling allows you to use your Raspberry Pi to authenticate your SSH (Console Based Remote Access) session and then you can use VNC (Similar to Remote Desktop) to access other computers on your network via the internet. Just in case you were not aware, opening any port on your router creates an attack vector for malicious purposes so you should make every effort to ensure that you have the right security measures in place before doing so. If you would like some advice on how to achieve then we can certainly help here to.
Personally, I love Raspberry Pis for low end applications and in our case this was our very first web server which has since been replaced by more serious infrastructure but it afforded us the opportunity to learn and evolve. This is not to say that everyone should use a Raspberry Pi when they start their business but it helps to know that there are options available. I know I haven't provided any information about how to use them for business systems and that is simply because everyone has different needs with so many different applications and options it wouldn't be possible to discuss them all. Consider this, one business that I know of uses a Raspberry Pi to access their bank account so that they can reflash the operating system on every reboot to reduce the exposure to having their financial information compromised. Think outside the box and if you find yourself wanting one for a given application but need someone technical to provide guidance or to set one up for you then ActsIntuitively can help you there too. If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you then please feel free to visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.
Technical Services Manager
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