Month: December 2013

2013: The Year the Cloud Went Mainstream

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More businesses, schools, and governments are signing up for cloud computing solutions like IronOrbit’s Managed Hosting, Managed Servers, Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting, and Small Business Server Hosting than ever before. Some of the more interesting articles from this month to focus on cloud computing’s surging popularity include:

  • Joe McKendrick of Forbes’s “one big fat cloud computing prediction for 2014” is that “cloud computing is set to become mainstream computing, period.” In support of this prediction, he cites a recent Cisco study that estimated that cloud computing will account for the majority of global data center traffic by the end of 2014, and that its share of global data center traffic will rise even further to two-thirds by 2017.
  • The Hindu reports that Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik said in a presentation at the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit that software companies should be prepared to take advantage of the Indian government’s major initiative to switch many government agencies and programs to the cloud.
  • Matthew Lynch of the Huffington Post reports that 40 percent of K-12 schools use cloud-based data storage and that cloud computing decreases the IT costs of schools by an average of 20 percent. Lynch also points out that cloud-based applications can improve information sharing between teachers, students, and parents. “Through K-12 cloud platforms,” he says, “teachers have better communication with parents and students regard assignments, tests, and projects. Parents can log in from anywhere (including their phones or tablets) and instantly know how their kids are progressing.”
  • IBM’s Michael Dixon describes in an Op-Ed on LiveScience how city governments throughout the world are using cloud computing to decrease their IT costs and provide better and more advanced and efficient services. Some of the examples given by Dixon include Honolulu, which decreased its software licensing costs by two-thirds by switching to cloud computing, and Sunderland, UK, which expects that cloud computing decrease its IT costs by $2.29 million per year.
  • Tripwire, a risk management company, announced in a press release about its survey of federal IT professionals that 58 percent said that cloud computing had improved the IT security of their agency. The press release also mentions a recent study by Deltek that the federal cloud computing market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent over the next three years.

For cloud computing solutions that are not only flexible and cost-efficient but also incredibly fast, reliable, and secure, businesses should sign up for Managed Hosting solutions from IronOrbit. Companies should contact us at (888) 753-5060 or [email protected] to switch to our Managed Servers, Small Business Hosting solutions, Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting, and Small Business Server Hosting today!

Benefits of IronOrbit Collaboration Application Hosting

Collaboration software is a type of program that attempts to improve levels of communication and coordination between coworkers with features such as email, file sharing, task management, contact management, instant messaging, wikis, social networking, VoIP, and video conferencing.

The benefits of collaboration software are that it gives coworkers other ways to communicate with each other besides email and telephones; lets managers formally assign tasks to their underlings and monitor their progress; and establishes a centralized repository for all of a company’s files and contacts.

As a whole, collaboration software reduces mistakes and confusion; makes files easier to find and access; and makes businesses more efficient and productive.

The collaboration software most commonly selected by businesses include:

  • Microsoft SharePoint. Microsoft SharePoint is probably the most widely used collaboration platform. Its strengths are its flexibility, its simplicity, and cost-efficiency. It works best as a centralized document management system, though its project management and messaging features are also extensive.
  • Microsoft Lync. Compared to Microsoft SharePoint, which is focused more on documents and projects, Microsoft Lync is focused more on communication. For example, the features of Lync include instant messaging, VoIP, video conferencing, and contact management. The businesses that benefit the most from Lync are ones with a large number of employees or that have a lot of employees that work remotely, who need more ways of communicating than just email or telephone.
  • Microsoft Exchange. Exchange is more traditionally viewed as an enterprise-level email solution than as collaboration software, but it has plenty of project management (task management, shared calendars, etc.) and contact management features, too. Exchange doesn’t have a centralized file repository like SharePoint does, so it works best as a collaboration solution for teams that prefer to communicate via email and that don’t have that many documents.
  • IBM Notes and IBM Sametime. IBM Notes and IBM Sametime are basically IBM’s versions of Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Lync, respectively. One advantage that Notes has over SharePoint is the fact that it’s also an email client. On the other hand, it’s easier to customize SharePoint and integrate it with other applications. Meanwhile, IBM argues that Sametime is less expensive, has more features (chat logs, screen captures, spell checker, and 1080p video conferencing), and has a simpler back-end infrastructure than Lync. Others prefer Lync for its more unified interface and because it does a better job of conserving bandwidth.

The best way to deploy these collaboration solutions is to host them with IronOrbit. The advantages of IronOrbit Application Hosting include:

  • Anywhere-accessibility. IronOrbit Hosted Applications (SharePoint Hosting, QuickBooks Hosting, etc.) are web-based and can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone. This ensures that employees are able to access their collaboration solutions regardless of whether they’re at the office or not, and gives everyone in an organization (including offsite contractors and employees that work primarily at a company’s branch office or from home) the ability to access the same centralized collaboration solution.
  • Security, backups, and support are included. IronOrbit Hosted Applications are protected with Orbital Security (firewalls, IDS/IPS, antivirus, and spam and content filter), are backed up a regular basis, and come with 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support.
  • Speed and reliability. IronOrbit Application Hosting solutions are as fast and responsive as locally-installed applications and are backed with a 100% uptime guarantee—so employees always have access to their files, contacts, and project information stored in the collaboration solution.

Sign up for our Collaboration Application Hosting solutions by contacting us at (888) 753-5060 or [email protected] today!

Why Select IronOrbit Hosted Solutions in 2014

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For many businesses that have considered signing up for IronOrbit Hosted Desktops, Hosted Infrastructures, or Application Hosting but that have avoided doing so for one reason or another, there are multiple reasons why 2014 will be the year that they finally decide to sign up for our hosted solutions. Though it’s enough for some companies to learn that our hosted solutions are more customizable, scalable, secure, reliable, anywhere-accessible, and cost-efficient than the solutions of other hosting providers, what will convince other businesses to sign up for IronOrbit solutions are trends and projections for 2014.

Reasons why Businesses will choose IronOrbit solutions in 2014 are :

  • Even more mobility. Most people probably don’t need to look at any projections or statistics to know that more people than ever own a smartphone or tablet or both, but here they are anyway: worldwide, the number of smartphones will overtake the number of PCs in 2014; and the number of tablets sold in 2014 will be approximately the same as the number of PCs (desktops and laptops) sold during the same period. Many of these smartphone and tablet owners will naturally want to be able to bring their mobile device to work with them and access their files and applications just as if they were using an onsite PC workstation (the number of mobile devices at the workplace is expected to more than double to 350 million devices in 2014). It’s not always possible or easy for users on mobile devices to access files and applications hosted on an onsite IT infrastructure; IronOrbit hosted solutions, however, can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected device.
  • More confidence in the cloud. If one of the reasons that a business had decided not to sign up for IronOrbit Virtual Desktop Hosting was because it thought that cloud computing was an ephemeral fad that “real” businesses outside of Silicon Valley had no use for, consider these numbers: 75 percent of businesses have already adopted some form of cloud computing (up from 67 percent last year); 69 percent of UK CIOs intend to move their ERP software to the cloud by the end of 2014; and overall spending on cloud computing is expected to increase to $158.8 billion next year (only $52.5 billion was spent on servers in all of 2012, in comparison).
  • Ever-higher security requirements. IT security is more important than ever, with so many businesses handling and storing the credit card information of their customers. At the same time, malware is becoming more prevalent and sophisticated. For example, the incidence of malicious links went up by 600 percent in 2012, and McAfee detected the largest increase in new malware in four years in a 2012 survey. Experts expect the security situation to worsen in 2014, with cybercriminals focusing more on ransomware, a devastating form of malware that’s hard to protect against. IronOrbit users don’t need to worry about malware or hackers, however, because all of our solutions come with an enterprise-level IT security system that includes 24x7x365 network monitoring, firewalls, IDS/IPS, antivirus software, and content filtering.

To quit delaying the inevitable and sign up for our Hosted Desktops, Hosted Infrastructures, or Application Hosting solutions, businesses should contact IronOrbit at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 today!

Top 5 Reasons to Choose IronOrbit VPS Hosting

It’s possible to divide a single physical server into multiple virtual private servers (VPS).

These virtual private servers are similar to independent physical servers: they both have a defined amount of processing power (CPU) and storage capacity (RAM and HDD or SSD), which are used to host IT solutions such as applications and virtual desktops.

hosted virtual private servers

However, while a physical server’s resources are determined by its hardware, a virtual private server’s resources are determined by a form of software called a virtualization platform; and this provides a VPS with the flexibility to contain as many resources as one-fourth of a physical server (if a business doesn’t need a full physical server and doesn’t want to pay for one) or that of multiple physical servers (if a business has an application or website that needs more processing and storage resources than what is contained in a single physical server).

The cost-efficiency and flexibility of hosted virtual private servers are what causes many businesses to select them over solutions like hosted dedicated servers and hosted terminal servers.

Reasons why Businesses Sign up for IronOrbit VPS Hosting:

hosted virtual private servers

  • Performance. IronOrbit Hosted VPS perform just as well as onsite servers, regardless of the quality of the user’s device or the speed of his or her network. We maximize the performance of our Virtual Private Servers with intuitive, trend-based caching and packet-prioritizing network algorithms.
  • Security. We provide better security for our Hosted VPS than any other hosting provider. We protect them with firewalls, IPS/IDS, gateway antivirus, content filtering, access control, and 24x7x365 alarm monitoring at our datacenters, among other security measures.
  • Cost. IronOrbit Virtual Private Servers—even with Orbital Security, Atomic Speed Technology, 24x7x365 technical support, and managed data backups included—cost only a low, flat monthly fee. They also don’t require the purchase of any additional onsite hardware.
  • Customizability. Businesses can host any IT solution they want on an IronOrbit Virtual Private Server, including applications, virtual desktops, databases, and websites. Other aspects of their Hosted VPS that they can customize include its number of users, amount of data storage, security policies, and authorization settings.
  • Support. All of our Virtual Private Servers come with 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support, as well as around-the-clock performance and security monitoring and IT maintenance. As a result, businesses that sign up for IronOrbit VPS Hosting don’t need to hire any additional IT personnel.

To sign up for Hosted Virtual Private Servers that perform better and are more secure, cost-efficient, customizable, and better-supported than the Hosted VPS of any other hosting provider, contact IronOrbit at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 today!

Why Select IronOrbit Hosted Applications

IronOrbit Hosted Applications are fast, secure, reliable, scalable, anywhere-accessible, and cost-efficient.

Reasons, why businesses should select IronOrbit Hosted Applications over the alternatives, include:

Our Hosted Applications are customizable

We can host any application, including software customized with plugins or add-ons and programs that are only compatible with outdated or non-standard operating systems such as Windows XP and Linux.

Other aspects of our Hosted Applications that can be customized include the number of users, the amount of storage space, authentication methods, and security and access policies.

Our Application Hosting solutions are also scalable, so it’s possible to add any amount of users or storage space to them at any time, even after they’ve already been deployed.

Our Hosted Applications come with enterprise-level security and support

hosted applications solutions

We include more security, support, and disaster recovery features with our Hosted Applications than any other hosting provider.

All IronOrbit Managed Applications come with Orbital Security (which includes not only firewalls, gateway antivirus, and content filtering, but also 24x7x365 alarm monitoring at our datacenters), 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support, and managed data backups. These services are included in the low, flat monthly fee that we charge for our Hosted Applications.

In contrast, many of our competitors charge extra for these high-level services, while others don’t offer them at all. In addition, though it’s actually pretty common for hosting providers to offer 24x7x365 technical support, it isn’t the same kind of in-depth, personalized, or all-inclusive technical support that IronOrbit provides (our technicians are all CompTIA A+ certified, fluent in either English or both English and Spanish, and will provide technical support for a business’s entire IT infrastructure, even with hardware like scanners, printers, and monitors that have only an indirect connection to our solutions).

We host our solutions on dedicated servers

All of our Application Hosting solutions are provided with their own private physical server or servers. Therefore, our Hosted Applications deployments don’t have to share the same physical server with other deployments, as in a multitenant environment.

Generally, applications hosted on a dedicated (or single-tenant) server are more secure, reliable, and powerful, because with a dedicated server access is more limited and the application is provided with more stable and a larger amount of processing and storage resources.

Our Application Hosting solutions are as fast and responsive as locally-installed software

Though the hosted applications of other companies are noticeably slower and less responsive than locally-installed applications, IronOrbit Hosted Applications perform as well as or better than on-premise software.

That’s because we use intuitive, trend-based disk I/O caching and packet prioritization technologies (among other components of our SMX Speed Technology™ -based hosting architecture) to maximize the performance and minimize the network latency of our Hosted Applications.

To see for yourself what separates IronOrbit Application Hosting from the competition, fill out this brief form or contact us at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 for a FREE demo!

What is IronOrbit?

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IronOrbit Hosted Desktops are a type of private cloud solution. This means that instead of offering a single, standardized product to anyone that wants to sign up for it, we provide customized solutions to our clients that are based upon a careful analysis of their unique IT requirements and preferences. Also, while public cloud solutions are usually only capable of replacing one aspect of an onsite IT infrastructure at a time (an application server, an email server, a data backup server, etc.), IronOrbit Hosted Desktops have the ability to replace a business’s entire onsite IT infrastructure.

There are many solutions and services that can be deployed along with any IronOrbit Hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which can then be accessed from any of the VDI’s desktops, include:

  • Applications
  • Email
  • Shared storage

IronOrbit Hosted Desktops also come with 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support, enterprise-level IT security (firewalls, IDS/IPS, content filter, etc.), and managed data backups. Overall, IronOrbit Hosted Desktops perform better and are more secure, flexible, reliable, cost-efficient, convenient, and accessible than either the public cloud or onsite IT infrastructures.

Contact IronOrbit at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 to sign up for our Hosted Desktops or to schedule a demo today!

Further Reading

VDI & Desktop Virtualization

How It Works

Top 10 Features

Why Hosted Desktops Are Right for SMBs

Why So Many Businesses Are Switching to Hosted Desktops

Why Switch from Onsite to Hosted QuickBooks

IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks is a fully-managed web-based version of QuickBooks.

Instead of being installed on an onsite PC workstation or server, IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks is deployed on the servers in our datacenters. It is monitored, maintained, protected, and backed up on a continuous basis by our technicians.

IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, thin client, tablet, or smartphone.

The Benefits of Opting for QuickBooks Hosting with IronOrbit include:

  • It doesn’t require the purchase or maintenance of any onsite servers
  • It comes standard with 24x7x365 technical support; a PCI DSS-, SOX-, and GLBA-compliant IT security system; managed data backups; and a 100% uptime guarantee
  • Even with the support, security, and backup services included, IronOrbit QuickBooks Hosting solutions cost only a low, flat monthly fee

There are no downsides to switching to IronOrbit QuickBooks Hosting from a locally-installed version of QuickBooks because:

  • IronOrbit can host any version of QuickBooks, including QuickBooks Accountant, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Enterprise.
  • The versions of QuickBooks that IronOrbit host are the same as the ones that businesses would install on the hard drives of employees’ PCs or on terminal servers—so IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks has all of the same features and capabilities as a locally-installed version of QuickBooks, including the ability to support add-ons or plugins like these.
  • In addition, companies that already have software licenses for their locally-installed versions of QuickBooks can simply transfer these licenses to their IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks deployment—it’s not necessary for them to purchase new QuickBooks software licenses when switching to IronOrbit QuickBooks Hosting, and we don’t charge any upgrade or conversion fees for the transferring of the licenses.
  • The actual process of switching from an onsite QuickBooks deployment to IronOrbit Hosted QuickBooks is fast (we can migrate any onsite IT solution to the cloud within 30 days, guaranteed), easy (our engineers take care of everything, migrating businesses’ onsite data to our servers and setting up and deploying the solution), cost-effective (we charge only a small, one-time fee for our setup process), and non-disruptive (businesses will be able to access their onsite version of QuickBooks throughout the setup process, and we will only migrate data outside of a company’s normal business hours to keep from slowing down the company’s network and infrastructure).

To switch to IronOrbit QuickBooks Hosting, contact one of our helpful sales representatives at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 today! Also, our Application Hosting platform supports any application, so feel free to contact IronOrbit if you’re interested in switching any of your locally-installed applications besides QuickBooks to the cloud as well.

Why Cloud Computing Is a Green Technology

For the most part, cloud computing (which IronOrbit Hosted Desktops and Hosted IT Infrastructures are examples of) is a “green” technology because it consolidates many inefficient onsite IT infrastructures into a much smaller number of efficient datacenters.

The efficiency of cloud computing datacenters isn’t just a matter of economy of scale—servers in cloud computing datacenters are much more efficient than onsite servers because they’re able to process and store the IT solutions of multiple businesses at the same time.

Businesses can use virtualization to maximize the resource utilization of their onsite servers, too, but it’s rare for the IT requirements of a business and the IT resources of physical servers to match up exactly (more likely than not, the company will end up with two physical servers, one with an efficient 80 percent server utilization rate and another with an inefficient 5-10 percent server utilization rate).

Hosted Inrastructure

Because servers in a cloud computing datacenter are more efficient than onsite servers, less total servers end up being used to satisfy clients’ IT requirements than if the clients had set up thousands of independent onsite IT infrastructures; and less servers mean less energy usage and e-waste.

The environmental benefits of cloud computing were recently confirmed in a report from Harvard University, Imperial College, and Reading University, “The Enabling Technologies of a Low-Carbon Economy: a Focus on Cloud Computing.” According to a summary of the report by Graeme Philipson of the Green IT Review, the researchers estimated that cloud computing “has the potential to save over $2.2 billion…from a reduction in energy consumption and reduced global environmental damage.”

In addition, cloud computing—again according to Philipson’s interpretation of the report— reduces greenhouse gasses by 95 percent compared to onsite datacenters, and could potentially reduce energy consumption by 11.2 TWh and CO2 emissions by 4.5 metric tons if adopted by 80% of organizations in the 11 countries in the study (including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, and the UK).

Businesses that switch from an onsite IT infrastructure to IronOrbit solutions such as Hosted Desktops and Application Hosting can therefore expect to reduce their energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and e-waste.

By signing up for our solutions, businesses reduce the amount of hardware they have to purchase, supply with energy, and eventually have to throw away and replace (our solutions can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected device, so businesses don’t have to purchase any onsite servers or PC workstations), and they reduce the amount of people that have to show up at their office (our solutions are managed, maintained, and supported 24x7x365 by our technicians and don’t require businesses to hire any additional IT personnel, and can be accessed from home), which cuts energy usage and emissions associated by precluding those people from driving to work and using electricity at the office.

To switch to a more eco-friendly IT infrastructure today, businesses should contact IronOrbit at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 and sign up for our Hosted Desktops, Hosted IT Infrastructures, or Application Hosting solutions.

Why BYOD Only Works with Hosted VDIs

A majority of businesses now allow their employees to bring their personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets to the office, with which they’re permitted to access the company’s restricted networks, applications, and files.

One of the main benefits of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is lower costs—it decreases or eliminates the need to purchase or maintain any onsite PC workstations or other computing devices.

Another benefit of BYOD is that it gives employees the opportunity to do their work on devices they’re comfortable with and already know how to use—which means that they won’t have to be trained to use their devices, will request IT support less frequently, and will potentially be happier and more productive.

A BYOD policy needs to be paired with IronOrbit Desktop Virtualization solutions in order to be successful, however.

The BYOD programs of businesses with onsite IT infrastructures or that sign up for hosted solutions from a company other than IronOrbit, in contrast, often fail to reduce costs; aren’t user-friendly; don’t encourage productivity; and aren’t sufficiently manageable, secure, or private.

One reason that this is the case is because the costs of setting up, supporting, and securing devices in a BYOD program are significant. Another reason that many BYOD policies not paired with IronOrbit Hosted Desktops fail is because many workers end up using their BYOD-associated personal devices to get around their company’s content filter.

An additional problem with BYOD is that it usually requires IT administrators to restrict, monitor, and impose changes on employees’ personal devices, actions that can end up reducing productivity and make employees feel as though their privacy has been encroached upon.

Why BYOD Programs of Businesses signing up for IronOrbit Desktop Virtualization will be more successful?

Hosted VDI

  • Our users retain their freedom-of-choice and privacy. IronOrbit Hosted Desktops can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected device, including Windows and Mac OS laptops and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. In addition, we don’t monitor or put any restrictions on users’ actual devices.
  • Security and support services are included with our Hosted VDIs. All Ironorbit Hosted Desktops come with comprehensive security (firewalls, IDS/IPS, two-factor authentication, antivirus, and spam filter), 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support, around-the-clock monitoring and maintenance, and complete daily backups.
  • Our Hosted Desktops have a built-in content filter. By default, our content filter prevents users from accessing inappropriate content or sites.
  • Our Hosted Desktops are cost-efficient. Even with the security and support services included, our Desktop Virtualization solutions cost only a low, flat monthly fee. In addition, keystrokes and mouse clicks are the only data being sent to our servers, and the streaming video that appears on users’ screen of their hosted desktop is the only data being sent back to users’ devices. As a result, the bandwidth costs associated with our Hosted Desktops are minimal.

Contact IronOrbit at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 to sign up for our BYOD-ready Desktop Hosting solutions or Hosted Applications today!