Month: September 2016

Hosted Desktops for Banks: The Benefits

Hosted desktops are Windows desktop operating systems that you access via the Internet.

They can be accessed from any computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client. A hosting company deploys and maintains these desktops on its servers for you, and you pay them a monthly per-user fee for the service.

Hosted desktops appear and perform the same as locally-installed Windows desktop operating systems.

Each hosted desktop is assigned to a specific user and will retain that user’s applications, files, and settings even after they log out. You can learn more about what hosted desktops are and how they work here.

The benefits of hosted desktops to banks include:

1) They can save you money.

hosted virtual desktop lower cost

Hosted desktops (also called hosted virtual desktops) don’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite IT hardware such as servers or storage arrays.

They also don’t require the hiring of any additional IT personnel. You can access them from low-cost, low-maintenance, long-lasting devices such as thin clients (which use a fraction of the energy of “fat client” PCs) and old PCs.

Hosted desktops feature enterprise-level:

  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance

But they’re still affordable to small-and-medium-sized businesses. This is because you share the hosting company’s costs (for its data centers, personnel, etc.) with its thousands of other customers.

2) They’re extremely reliable.

hosted virtual desktop reliable

IT downtime/outages can result in lost business, lost productivity, and frustrated customers and employees for banks.

Hosting companies prevent downtime with measures such as 24/7/365 monitoring, data backups, redundant hardware, Internet, and power, environmental controls, uninterruptible power supplies, and backup diesel generators.

3) They’re compatible with all of your applications.

hosted virtual desktop application

You can install any application on your hosted virtual desktops, including core banking applications and internally-developed software.

These applications will appear and perform the same as locally-installed or -hosted versions.

4) They don’t store any data on the local device.

hosted virtual desktop anywhere

Hosted desktops don’t process or store any of their data on the hard drive of your local device; this data remains on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

As a result, you don’t have to worry about data loss occurring as a result of the physical theft of end-user devices such as desktop PCs and laptops.

5) They are well-protected by the hosting company.

hosted virtual desktop secure

Hosting companies protect their hosted desktops with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, IDS/IPS, and antivirus, and 24/7/365 security monitoring by certified engineers.

They also protect their data centers with physical security measures such as barbed wire fencing, locked metal doors, biometric access panels, server cages, closed-circuit video surveillance, and 24/7/365 onsite security guards.

6) They comply with GLBA and PCI DSS.

hosted virtual desktop compliant

Due to the security measures mentioned above.

7) A single, centralized deployment of hosted desktops can be used by all of your bank’s locations.

hosted virtual desktop decentralization

Hosted virtual desktops can be accessed from anywhere with any standard end-user device, so all of your bank’s branches/locations can rely on a single deployment of hosted desktops.

Having a single, centralized deployment for your entire company allows everyone in your organization to access the same versions of files and applications.

This makes it easier for employees to locate files and eliminate problems with file version inconsistencies.

8) Your employees can access their work files and applications from anywhere.

hosted desktop anywhere accessible

Hosted desktops allow your bank’s execs, knowledge workers, and other employees to securely access all of their work applications and files even when they’re away from the office, including when they’re visiting clients or at home.

9) They can be used to access resource-intensive applications such as big data analysis software from any device.

hosted desktop remote access

Hosted desktops are processed on the hosting company’s servers, so they’re always fast and responsive no matter what type or quality of end-user device they’re accessed from.

Bank execs and knowledge workers can use hosted virtual desktops to access resource-intensive applications such data analysis software from their smartphones, for example.  And the applications will be as fast and responsive (processing large sets of financial data in mere seconds) as they would be if they were running on a $2,000+ workstation!

10) They can be used as kiosks.

hosted desktop kiosk

In addition to persistent hosted desktops that retain your files and settings after you log out, many hosting companies also offer non-persistent hosted desktops that delete all of a user’s files and settings after he or she logs out (like the kiosks/communal computers at libraries and hotels).

Banks can use these types of hosted desktops to allow their customers to securely, electronically access their accounts at one of the bank’s branches.

11) They are monitored, protected, backed up, updated, and supported by the hosting company.

hosted virtual desktop company

IronOrbit’s hosted virtual desktops, for example, come with 24/7/365 security and performance monitoring, managed IT security, managed data backups, patch management (we update your desktops’ operating systems and applications for you), and 24/7/365 technical support.

Hosted desktops being fully-managed and -supported allows your bank’s IT department to focus on more important tasks and projects.

To sign up for hosted desktops, contact your preferred hosting company today.

The Benefits of Hosted Desktops for Hospitals

Hosted desktops can help hospitals to:

  • Reduce their IT costs
  • Increase the security, manageability, and reliability of their IT
  • Allow their employees to access their work-related files and applications from anywhere with any device

What Are Hosted Desktops?

Hosted desktops are Windows desktop operating systems that you access via the Internet.

They can be accessed from anywhere with any standard end-user device, including:

  • Windows and Linux PCs and Macs
  • iOS and Android tablets and smartphones
  • Any brand of thin client

Hosted desktops appear and perform exactly the same as locally-installed Windows desktop OSes.

Among other things, you can use them to install and run Windows-compatible applications, store files, send and receive emails, and browse the Internet.

Each hosted desktop will be assigned to a specific user, and will retain that specific user’s applications, files, and setting even after he or she logs out.

Benefits of Hosted Desktops for Hospitals

For hospitals, the benefits of utilizing hosted desktops in general include:

1) Lower IT costs

hosted desktop cost savings

Hosted desktops don’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite IT hardware or the hiring of any additional IT personnel. They can be accessed without any decrease in performance or reliability from low-cost, low-maintenance devices such as thin clients and old or low-end PCs without a decrease in performance or reliability.

Plus, hosting companies can provide you with hosted desktops for less than it would cost you to deploy and host virtual desktops internally, due to their specialization, economies of scale, and bulk purchasing power.

2) Increased data security

hosted desktop security

When a user accesses his or her hosted desktop, the only data that is sent from the IT hosting provider’s server to his or her device is the video and audio output of the desktop. All of the files and other data of the hosted desktop remain on the hosting company’s servers by default.

Hosting companies usually protect their servers and hosted solutions with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, gateway antivirus, patch management, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and 24/7/365 security monitoring.

3) Easier IT management and maintenance

hosted desktop management

Your hosting provider may handle many aspects of the IT management and support of your hosted desktops for you. IronOrbit, for example, includes 24/7/365 monitoring, patch management (managed software updates), data backups, disaster recovery, and 24/7/365 technical support with all of our hosted desktops.

Hosted desktops can also make it easier to maintain your local end-user hardware, since they can be accessed from low-maintenance thin clients (or “fat clients” that serve as thin clients and are just as low-maintenance).

4) Increased reliability (less downtime)

hosted desktop reliable

Hosted desktops are protected from downtime and data loss with measures such as 24/7/365 monitoring and maintenance, data backups, redundant hardware, Internet, and power, environmental controls (redundant HVAC, raised flooring, hot and cold aisles, and smoke detectors and fire sprinklers), and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and diesel generators.

5) Increased accessibility

hosted desktop accessibility

Hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere with any device.

This allows hospital employees to access their files and applications from portable devices as they travel from room to room, not just from stationary terminals. It also allows them to access these resources from home.

Hosted Desktop: How to Sign Up

To sign up for hosted desktops, hospitals should contact an IT hosting company such as IronOrbit. The hosting company will deploy your hosted desktops for you according to your specifications, and you’ll pay the hosting company a flat monthly per-user cost for them.

To sign up for hosted desktops from IronOrbit, simply contact us at (888) 753-5060 or sales@ironorbit.com today.

Hosted Desktops for Temp Workers: The Benefits

Hiring temporary workers and contractors and incorporating business or project partners into your operations allows you to expand your workforce or bring in outside expertise while minimizing your personnel costs.

It makes your organization more nimble, allowing you to add and subtract personnel as needed.

Hiring temps helps, for example, if your organization has a seasonal uptick in demand, or if you’re involved in a project that requires a skillset that none of the permanent employees in your organization have.

Hiring Temps: A Business Boon, an IT Challenge

Incorporating temps, contractors, and partners into your operations isn’t always very easy or simple, however; and one aspect of incorporating them into your operations that can be difficult or complicated is incorporating or integrating them into your IT.

For example, you may need to provide these workers with end-user devices such as:

  • Desktop PCs
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Thin clients

These devices should at least be fast and reliable enough that they allow these types of workers to successfully and efficiently complete their work—but you obviously don’t want to spend too much money on devices that may only be used on a temporary basis.

Likewise, you may need to provide these workers with access to IT resources of yours such as files, folders, storage drives, and applications—but you also don’t want to give these workers more access than necessary, which would increase your vulnerability to security breaches and may violate data security or privacy laws.

Recall that the cybercriminals that hacked Target in 2013 and stole the data of more than 40 million credit and debit cards infiltrated Target’s systems by first hacking one of the retailer’s contractors.

Hosted Desktops: A Long-Term Solution

The easiest and most secure and cost-efficient way to incorporate these types of workers into your IT is to provide them with hosted desktops, which are Windows desktop operating systems that you access via the Internet.

A hosting provider deploys and maintains them on its servers, and you pay the hosting provider a fixed per-user, per-month cost for them.

Hosted desktops are the same as Windows desktop operating systems installed on a PC, the only differences being the ways they’re installed and accessed.

Hosted desktops are the same as Windows desktop operating systems installed on a PC, the only differences being the ways they’re installed and accessed.

Hosted desktops have the same interface as locally-installed Windows desktop OSes, and they can be used to install and run any Windows-compatible application. Each hosted desktop is usually assigned to a specific user, and the desktop retains all of the user’s applications, files, and settings, even after he or she logs out.

The Benefits of Hosted Desktops for Temps

The benefits of using hosted desktops to integrate temps, contractors, and partners with your IT include:

1) They’re completely secure.

hosted desktop security

Usually, when a user accesses a hosted desktop, the only data transferred to the user’s device from the hosting company’s servers is the video and audio output of the Windows desktop.

All of the files and other data of the hosted desktop remain on the hosting company’s servers by default unless deliberately transferred to the local device (which you can request the hosting company to prevent users from being able to do).

Centralizing your data like this ensures that:

  • It enjoys the in-depth protection of an IT hosting company (which can afford to implement advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, IDS/IPS, gateway antivirus)
  • Keeps it from being stored on other, less secure IT systems and devices
  • Prevents ill-meaning temps, contractors, and partners from stealing this data outright

2) They don’t require the purchase of expensive end-user devices.

hosted desktop cheap

Hosted desktops can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer (including Macs), tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

As a result, you may not have to provide temps, contractors, and partners with their own end-user devices, since they can access their hosted desktops from their own personal end-user devices, or from the end-user devices provided to them by their employer.

In addition, even if you do have to provide these workers with end-user devices, these devices can be low-cost devices such as old or low-end PCs or thin clients, since hosted desktops are processed and stored on the hosting provider’s servers rather than on the local device.

3) They don’t require the user to be onsite.

hosted desktop usa

Hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet.

This allows you to provide temps, contractors, and partners with access to the applications and files that they need to do their jobs, without requiring their actual physical presence at one of your locations.

Advantages of this include reduced travel costs, reduced delays due to travel time, and the ability to hire more affordable or higher-skilled workers outside of the commutable area.

4) They’re quick, easy, and affordable to deploy, change, and cancel/delete.

hosted desktop scalability

Hosted desktops can be deployed in a matter of minutes. You can install any Windows-compatible application on them and assign any folder permissions to them

You can change the amount of vCPUs, vGPU, RAM, and storage space available to them at any time, and you can cancel/delete them at any time without being stuck with a lot useless, expensive IT hardware afterwards.

The flexibility of hosted desktops allows projects to be started and temporary employees or partners to be integrated quicker. It makes it easier to provide temporary workers with the exact IT resources they need

It also makes it quicker, easier, and more cost-efficient to add or remove IT resources in response to changes in your IT requirements (e.g., at the start and end of projects, or at the start and end of seasonal upticks in sales).

To sign up for hosted desktops, simply contact your preferred hosting provider today.

The Benefits of Hosted Desktops for Colleges

Did you know that hosted desktops for colleges can decrease IT costs and increase the manageability, accessibility, flexibility, and security of their IT?

Hosted desktops are Windows desktop operating systems (usually Windows 7 or 8.1) that are installed and maintained on the servers of an IT hosting company. Users can easily access a hosted desktop via the Internet from a computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

As with locally-installed Windows desktop OSes, you can use hosted desktops to install and run any Windows-compatible application. In most cases, each user is assigned to a specific hosted desktop, and this desktop retains all of the user’s files, applications, and settings, even after he or she logs out.

Is it worth the investment?

Usually, you pay the hosting company a monthly, per-user fee for your hosted desktop.

Some hosting companies also include IT management and support services with their hosted desktops. The support services include 24/7 technical support, security and performance monitoring, malware scanning, patch management and managed data backups.

Take note that the hosting company will continually update all of the software on your hosted desktops for you, including the OS and all of the PC applications.

For growing businesses with a primary focus on growth, using hosted desktops is definitely an advantage.

Most colleges use hosted desktops in the following ways:

  • Faculty and staff use them as their primary work desktop.
  • They use them instead of locally-installed operating systems in computer labs.
  • Hosted desktops provide students with access to certain applications that they need to be able to complete their coursework. Especially applications that they might not be able to afford on their own, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, the Microsoft Office suite, and STEM applications like MATLAB and SPSS.

What are the main benefits of hosted desktops for colleges?

  1. They can decrease your IT costs

With hosted desktops, colleges don’t have to purchase any expensive onsite IT hosting hardware such as servers or storage arrays, and they don’t have to hire any additional IT personnel to manage them.

Hosted desktops are easily accessible from low-cost devices such as refurbished PCs or thin clients. They require less maintenance (since they don’t have hard drives or locally-installed operating systems) and are much more energy efficient than standard PCs.

In addition, users can securely access them from their personal devices. This means that the college doesn’t need to spend money on student devices. As an effect, colleges reduce their spending on computer labs.

  1. They are easy to manage

Hosted desktops are relatively easy to monitor, protect, update, troubleshoot, and back up. This is because they’re software-defined assets and are centralized onto a relatively small number of interconnected servers.

In addition, some hosting providers will handle many IT management and support tasks of the hosted desktops themselves.

  1. Easily accessible from anywhere, with any device 

Where there is an internet connection, you can access hosted desktops with any device. Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, tablet, or a mobile phone.

This allows faculty and staff to access their work-related files and applications no matter where they are. It also allows students to access important resources no matter where they are. Whether they’re in class, at a computer lab, in their dorm room, or somewhere off campus.

  1. Easy to deploy, expand, and downsize 

You can quickly and easily add any amount of desktops, processing power, and storage capacity to your hosted desktop deployment at any time.

Downsizing or decommissioning your deployment is easy. But, the best thing about it is that you no longer have to deal with a pile of useless, expensive hardware.

The flexibility of this service makes it easier for colleges to adjust their IT as courses, faculty, and students change from one semester to the next.

  1. They are highly secure

Hosted desktops are highly secure. The data remains on the hosting provider’s servers at all times. The centralization of this data makes it easier to protect and prevents data loss from occurring. 

Plus, malware infections are easier to isolate and remove from hosted desktops than they are physical PCs.

To sign up for hosted desktops, colleges should contact their preferred IT hosting provider.

Decrease Downtime with the Cloud

One of the main benefits of cloud computing is that it’s more reliable than traditional in-house, onsite IT—reliable meaning that it is more consistently available and experiences less downtime and data loss. This is mainly because cloud providers can afford to implement more advanced reliability-assurance measures.

The main benefit of increased reliability, meanwhile, is that it helps you to prevent extremely expensive and disruptive downtime and data loss incidents.

Downtime is when an IT asset (such as a PC, storage drive, server, router, or application) or service (such as a cloud-hosted application) isn’t working correctly and cannot be accessed or used. Data loss, as you would expect, is when data is permanently lost, as when a storage drive that is not backed up fails or is infected with a cryptovirus.

Downtime and Data Loss Cost

cloud downtime cost

Downtime can result in lost productivity, lost sales, and lost customers. It can be especially expensive and disruptive if the asset or service is relied upon by many employees or customers, such as a CRM, PoS system, or e-commerce system.

Data loss can be expensive and disruptive, too, depending on what type of data is involved. Data that can be expensive to lose includes:

  • Internal documentation (training manuals, policies and procedures, etc.)
  • Sales and marketing documents
  • Financial records
  • Customer records
  • IT settings files
  • IT logs
  • Product designs/blueprints
  • Internally-developed code

Consequences of data loss include wasting all the time and effort that went into the creation of the data, investing more time and effort in recreating the data, productivity loss as a result of employees not having all of the data necessary to do their jobs, upset and/or lost customers due to the delays or inconveniences caused by the data loss, and lawsuits, fines, and/or criminal prosecution for the loss of sensitive data such as financial records, customers’ personal information, and healthcare patient records.

According to recent studies, downtime costs businesses an average of $7,900 per minute, or more than $450,000 per hour, and costs all businesses in North America $700 billion every year. Data loss, meanwhile, is estimated to cost US businesses $18.2 billion per year, and enterprises around the world $1.7 trillion per year.

How to Prevent Downtime

maintain cloud uptime

There are two main ways to prevent downtime and data loss.

One is to purchase IT assets and services that have a reputation for being reliable. To find out if an IT asset or services is reliable or not, you can try asking around, searching the web, and/or thinking about which assets or services that you’ve found to be the most reliable in the past (perhaps you’ve purchased many Dell PCs and found them to be more reliable than other PC brands, for example).

You will want to do more to protect yourself from downtime and data loss than just purchasing reliable IT assets and services, however, since even the most reliable assets and services can fail sometimes or be affected by forces outside of their control (for example, even a perfectly-reliable Dell PC can be stolen, accidentally dropped, or destroyed in a flood or fire).

The other main way to prevent downtime and data loss is to make all of the important aspects of your IT redundant—ensuring that there is at least one extra unit of each important aspect of your IT than is necessary for your IT to function normally. Some examples of redundancies include:

  • Backing up your data
  • Purchasing spare hardware (including PCs, keyboards, mice, monitors, routers, switches, servers, and storage devices), and either keeping them close at hand so you can quickly replace failed hardware with them, or integrating them into a fault-tolerant architecture so that IT workloads are automatically transferred to them after the other hardware fails
  • Signing up for and maintaining Internet access with two or more Internet service providers (ISPs) at the same time
  • Signing up for electrical power from two or more different power companies at the same time
  • Purchasing, installing, and maintaining uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and diesel backup generators

These redundancies ensure that even if an important component of your IT fails, you will be able quickly to replace it with an identical component, minimizing your downtime; or your IT will be able to switch over to the backup component immediately and automatically, which will prevent downtime altogether.

How the Cloud Decreases Downtime

cloud uptime statistics

Now, as we mentioned at the top, the main reason that cloud computing is more reliable than in-house, onsite IT is that cloud providers can afford to implement more advanced reliability-assurance measures.

And the reasons that this is that case include:

  • That they can host the solutions of multiple customers on shared, singular units of hardware, with shared redundancies
  • That because IT hosting involves a lot of automation and doesn’t require a lot of direct human intervention, they can host, maintain, and support the IT solutions of hundreds or thousands of businesses with a relatively small staff
  • Because of their IT specialization and economies of scale
  • Because they can get discounts on hardware, software, bandwidth, and electrical power because they buy in bulk.

As a result, cloud providers can afford to purchase advanced, custom-built, highly-reliable IT hardware and software, and make all of the most important aspects of their IT at least N+1 redundant, while still providing hosted IT solutions at a lower cost than it would take businesses to install and maintain them onsite.