Month: February 2019

The Easiest Way to Comply with IT Regulations: Compliance Hosting

Compliance hosting is a type of IT hosting in which the hosting company custom-configures its hosted solutions to comply with IT regulations.

These IT regulations include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act.

IT regulations are government or industry regulations that impose requirements on how businesses should set up and manage their IT.

They mostly have to do with data security, requiring them to protect certain types of data from unauthorized access.

Types of IT regulations you need to know

compliance hosting

The three IT regulations that affect the largest number of businesses are those mentioned in the introduction: HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX.

  • HIPAA is federal legislation from 1996 that puts the onus on healthcare organizations to prevent their patients’ records from being inappropriately accessed.
  • PCI DSS requires any business that accepts credit or debit cards as payment to implement an array of security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption.
  • SOX is a federal law from 2002 that requires certain businesses to maintain all financial and accounting data for at least five years.

Why you shouldn’t take IT compliance for granted?

Penalties for noncompliance with these regulations may include public disclosure of the violation or fines of more than $1 million. And, in cases that are particularly egregious, prison sentences of up to 20 years per violation.

It can be difficult for the average business to comply with these regulations by itself. To begin with, some of these regulations are vague and don’t really make clear what measures you’re supposed to implement. While others have long lists of specific, highly-technical IT requirements that can be hard to understand.

The process of implementing the measures necessary for compliance can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, too.

These measures can include the following:

  • Acquiring new hardware and software
  • Configuring your IT assets to maximize security and reliability
  • Hiring additional IT personnel
  • Or assigning your existing IT personnel to compliance-related projects and tasks

And to maintain compliance, in the long run, you’ll have to implement measures such as performance and security monitoring, patch management, and penetration testing. You’ll also have to pay attention to and adjust to any changes in the regulations.

An easier and potentially more cost-effective way to achieve compliance than attempting to comply with IT regulations by yourself is to sign up for compliance hosting.

Most hosted IT solutions (hosted servers, hosted applications, hosted email servers, etc.) offered by IT hosting companies aren’t compliant with any IT regulations by default. And they need to be supplemented with additional features and services.

These IT hosting features and services include:

  • Firewall management
  • Antivirus management
  • Patch management
  • Managed encryption
  • Penetration testing
  • 24x7x365 security monitoring
  • Managed backups
  • Two-factor authentication

The real reason why you need regulatory compliance hosting

In most cases, signing up for compliance hosting will take care of about 85-90 percent of the entire compliance process, though by itself it won’t make your business fully compliant with an IT regulation.

The (few, relatively simple) compliance measures that you have to perform yourself include implementing and documenting your internal security policies. You also need to protect your onsite hardware, such as your PCs, from physical theft or inappropriate access.

In some cases, your hosting provider may be able to advise you on how to implement these measures. It’s either as part of the service or for an additional fee.

The main benefits of compliance hosting include avoiding the hassle of completing the compliance process yourself. Which increases your productivity and decreases your IT hassles. And most importantly, the peace of mind of having the compliance process handled for you by the experts at an IT hosting company, the avoidance of the consequences of noncompliance, and increased security and reliability.

To sign up for or learn more about compliance hosting, contact your preferred hosting provider today.

How to Connect to a Hosted Desktop

In previous blog posts, we’ve mentioned how most hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere with almost any Internet-connected computing device, including Windows and Apple PCs, Android and iOS mobile devices, and thin clients.

What we haven’t really described at length yet, though, and what we’ll be covering in today’s blog post, is exactly how you access your hosted desktop from all of these different types of devices.

There are two primary ways to access a hosted desktop: via a standalone remote desktop connection client, or via a web browser.

In most cases, how you access your hosted desktop will be up to your hosted desktop provider. Your hosted desktop provider will usually provide you with detailed instructions on how to access your hosted desktop when you sign up. It may also include this information in the automatically-generated email invite you get when your account administrator assigns a hosted desktop to you.

You should follow the instructions of your hosting provider and not attempt to connect to your desktop by any of the other methods described here, since these methods may not work with your provider’s specific desktops.

If your hosting provider tells you to connect to your hosted desktop via a remote desktop connection client, it will probably tell you to use one of these two clients: Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection and Citrix Receiver.

Remote Desktop Connection

It comes preinstalled on all recent versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. You can find it by typing “Remote Desktop Connection” in the search box of your OS. There are also versions of Remote Desktop Connection for the OS X, iOS, and Android operating systems that can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

Citrix Receiver

Meanwhile, Citrix Receiver can be downloaded for free from the Citrix website or your device’s respective app store. There are versions available for a number of platforms, including the Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS operating systems.

Both of these clients are pretty simple to set up and use. To connect to your hosted desktop from one of them, you just have to enter a username, password, and hosted desktop address (info that should have been provided to you by your hosting company).

It should take you no more than 2 minutes to connect to a hosted desktop for the first time from one of these clients. After you’ve connected to your hosted desktop once, reconnecting to it should only take a click or two.

To connect to a hosted desktop via a web browser, you usually just have to navigate to a login page on the website of your hosting provider and input your credentials; your desktop will then launch in a new window.

You should be able to access your hosted desktop from any up-to-date version of any web browser, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge. You may or may not have to download additional applications or browser plugins to be able to access your desktop this way; it depends on the provider.

Some providers require you to download and install the aforementioned Citrix Receiver, for example, though instead of connecting via the standalone client, you’ll connect via your browser, and the Receiver will operate in the background as a browser plugin.

If you need help connecting to your hosted desktop—perhaps you never received your connection instructions from your hosting provider, or you don’t understand the instructions, or you understand the instructions but still can’t connect—just contact your IT provider for support.

Hosted Server Migration: The Basics, Part 2

This is the second and final part of an article about how to perform a hosted server migration. This was the first part.

Selecting a Server OS

In general, the migration process is the easiest when the old and the new server have the same OS, and hardest when they have different OSes (especially if one is Windows and the other is Linux).

If you’re going to use the opportunity of the migration to switch from an older version of Windows Server on the old server to a newer version (such as from Server 2003 or 2008 to 2012) on the new server, you might want to make sure beforehand that all of your applications are compatible with the newer OS.

Unless you’re planning to switch to new applications, too, or know how to host applications on OSes they aren’t compatible with.

If you end up selecting a hosted server with a Windows OS, then you’re going to need a Windows Server license. You may be able to transfer the license from your onsite server to the new server if they have the same OS version.

Many hosting providers also offer hosted Windows servers that include the cost of the license in the monthly price of the server.

Performing the Migration

Now that you’ve got the hosted server set up, you’re ready to start transferring over the data from the old server and then configuring and integrating the hosted server. First, though, you’re going to want to back up all of the data on your onsite server just in case something goes wrong.

One option when migrating to the new server is to transfer only the assets you need or want (the applications, files, users, etc., that you selected in the planning phase) from the onsite server to the hosted server.

This will prevent your nice new server from being cluttered with a lot of old, useless applications and data, though it also increases the possibility that important data will be left behind.

Alternatively, you could simply copy the onsite server as a whole to the hosted server, which will ensure that all of the data from the old server is transferred to the new one, as well as make it more likely that the new server will function exactly the same as the old one.

The exact method that you use to transfer your assets from the onsite server to the hosted server will depend on factors such as your server OSes, your hosting company, whether your onsite server is virtualized or not, and whether or not you use server management software.

If your migration method prevents users from being able to access the server while the migration is taking place, you’ll probably want to perform the migration before or after regular working hours or over the weekend to minimize the disruption to your business. Also, ensure that you perform the migration over a secure connection.

Final Steps & Further Info

All that’s left to do now is integrate your hosted server with the rest of your IT and decommission the onsite server.

If you need any assistance with migrating from an onsite to a hosted server, simply contact your hosting company. IronOrbit can be reached at sales@Ironorbit.com, or (888) 753-5060.

For more information about the benefits of switching to a hosted server, check out one of the hosted server offerings on our site: Citrix servers, terminal servers, application servers, managed servers, and virtual private servers.

Hosted Server Migration: The Basics, Part 1

Today we’re going to be talking about what you need to do to migrate an onsite server (as in a physical server that you keep at your office) to a hosted or cloud-based server.

We’re not going to get too technical here; the purpose of this article is to give you a general overview of the onsite-to-cloud server migration process and provide you with a starting point for further research.

I’ll also mention before we go any further that many hosting companies, including IronOrbit, will perform your migration for you for a relatively small fee.

This not only lets you avoid having to perform the migration yourself but also usually results in a much faster and problem-free migration.

Due to the fact that the hosting company’s personnel have a lot more experience at performing onsite-to-cloud migrations of all types, have more advanced migration tools, and are more familiar with the ins and outs of their own hosting platform.

Plan Your Migration

operating system

For those still interested in performing their onsite-to-cloud server migration by themselves, let’s start by figuring out what you want to move, as well as what needs to be moved, from the onsite server to the cloud server: applications, databases, files, settings, users, permissions, etc. Plan to leave behind any applications or data that you won’t need on the new server, such as unused applications and inactive user accounts.

Note the dependencies between different assets on the server, and make sure that the migration won’t prevent any of these dependent assets from communicating with each other.

For example, if your onsite server has an application that relies on a database, ensure that you migrate the database along with the application (which may require the purchase of an additional hosted server) because otherwise, the application might not work.

Select a Hosting Company

Another preliminary step is to select which cloud provider/IT hosting company you want to host your hosted server for you. Then, depending on the types of servers that the hosting company offers, you’ll have to figure out which type of server you want and then set it up.

You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting a hosting provider for your hosted server, though of course, we’d recommend that you go with IronOrbit.

We specialize in fully-customizable and fully-managed hosted solutions, all of which cost a flat monthly fee and come with services such as 24x7x365 technical support, managed security, automatic OS and application updates, and managed backups.

Our fully-managed and -supported solutions let you stay focused on your business and not have to worry about monitoring and managing your IT.

Select Your Hosted Server Type and Features

Many hosting providers will also give you a lot of options when it comes to selecting your type of server and the features of your server, too. The two main types of hosted servers are hosted virtual servers and hosted dedicated servers.

The main difference between these two is that with virtual servers you share a single physical server with one or more of the hosting company’s other clients, while with a dedicated server you get your own private physical server.

The advantages of virtual servers include increased scalability and flexibility and lower costs, while the advantages of dedicated servers include increased performance and reliability and regulatory compliance.

Other aspects of a hosted server that hosting providers often let you select include the server’s operating system (most hosting providers offer several different versions of Windows Server, as well as several different versions of Linux), its resources (CPUs/vCPUs/CPU cores, GPUs/vGPUs, RAM, and HDD or SSD storage space), and its security and networking features.

We’ll explain how to complete a hosted server migration in the second part of this article.

Migrating Applications to the Cloud

Interested in migrating a locally-installed or onsite application to the cloud? In this blog post, we’ll tell you how to get it done.

Cloud-hosted applications have multiple advantages over onsite applications. These advantages include:

Increased accessibility

Hosted applications can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client by default.

Increased security

Your application is more secure when hosted in the cloud because with hosted applications your data remains on the hosting provider’s servers at all times (instead of being stored on an insecure endpoint), and because hosting providers can afford more advanced security measures and personnel than the average business.

Less IT management hassles

Some hosting providers (including IronOrbit) will manage and maintain your hosted applications for you—they’ll monitor them 24x7x365, protect them from security threats, back up their data on a regular basis, update them whenever new updates are released, and provide 24x7x365 tech support with them.

Lower costs

Hosted applications don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers or the hiring of any additional IT personnel, and can be accessed from low-cost devices such as thin clients and old PCs.

Increased scalability

You can add any amount of users, processing power (CPUs/vCPUs and RAM), and storage space to hosted applications at any time.

The first step in migrating an application from onsite to the cloud is to select a hosting company to host your application for you.

The two main characteristics to look for in a hosting company are: that they’re capable of hosting your application and that they can host it the way you want to be hosted (i.e., either they offer a lot of different standardized hosted application offerings, or they offer fully-customizable hosted applications).

Factors to consider when selecting a hosting provider include:

  • Whether they offer shared or dedicated application hosting, or both (with shared application hosting, you share the same physical server with at least of the hosting company’s other clients; with dedicated application hosting, you get a full physical server to yourself)
  • Whether they offer high-performance hardware such as GPUs/vGPUs and SSDs
  • Whether or not they offer managed application hosting (in which the hosting provider manages, maintains, and supports your application); how the managed hosted applications are managed (Is it 24x7x365 management? Does it include data backups? What security measures do they implement? Etc.); and the cost of these IT management services
  • Whether they offer compliance application hosting (hosted applications that have been customized so that they comply with IT regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX)
  • Pricing
  • The terms of their Service Level Agreement (SLA), such as their uptime guarantee

Your next step after selecting a hosting provider is to sign up for and deploy either a shared or dedicated server (shared servers cost less, while dedicated servers tend to perform better and be more reliable and compliant).

This server should have an operating system that supports the application you want to host, as well as enough processing power and storage space to support it.

Next, you need to install your application on the hosted server and transfer all of the application’s existing data from onsite.

If the application being migrated depends on other onsite applications, then these other onsite applications may need to be migrated as well. And if your application or applications require separate database servers, then you will have to set these up, too.

To finalize the migration, you need to integrate your newly-deployed hosted application with the rest of your IT, including all of your relevant onsite and cloud-based assets.

You may also need to implement an application publishing solution such as Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services) or Citrix XenApp in order to allow your employees to access the hosted application.

If you run into any trouble when performing an application migration by yourself, contact your hosting company for assistance.

The Alternative: Pay Your Hosting Company or a Services Provider to do Cloud Application Migration for You

Now, our intention with this blog post was to provide a general overview of the process of migrating an application from onsite to the cloud.

We tried to simplify things as much as possible here, but make no mistake, there’s usually nothing simple or easy about performing the application migration process yourself, especially if your IT knowledge and experience is relatively limited.

For example, to perform an onsite to cloud application migration, you may need to know how to do the following:

  • Set up and configure hosted servers
  • Use a server operating system
  • Identify interdependencies between applications
  • Migrate an application without causing downtime
  • Deal with OS or platform compatibility issues
  • And configure and integrate a cloud-hosted application.

This is why we recommend to most businesses that they pay someone else with a lot of knowledge, skill, and experience with onsite-to-cloud migrations to perform their migrations for them.

Many hosting providers will handle the migration process for you a relatively small fee, for example. Outsourcing the migration process like this not only lets you avoid having to perform the migration yourself, it also usually results in a much quicker and more problem-free migration.

For information about IronOrbit’s migration services, check out our Migration Support page or contact us at sales@IronOrbit.com or (888) 753-5060.

The Benefits of Hosted Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office, as most people know, is a popular suite of business productivity applications such as:

  • Word (a word processing application)
  • Excel (spreadsheet software)
  • PowerPoint (presentation software)
  • And OneNote (note taking software)

These are the core applications that are included in all versions of the suite. For the other available versions of the suite, the applications also include:

  • Outlook (an email client)
  • Publisher (desktop publishing software)
  • And Access (database software)

As with Microsoft Windows, the main reason that Office is popular is precisely because it’s user-friendly and widespread in use.

Businesses select Office as their default business productivity software suite because their employees are already familiar with it from school or from previous jobs, and so don’t need to be trained to use it.

And also because most other businesses and consumers use it, and its proprietary file formats are best viewed and edited in the corresponding Office application.

Some of the things that the applications of Microsoft Office allow your employees to do include:

  • Composing, formatting, and spellchecking text
  • Creating professional-looking documents (both print and electronic)
  • Creating professional-looking charts
  • Maintaining and analyzing large sets of data and records
  • Creating professional-looking presentations
  • Sending, receiving, organizing, filtering, and archiving emails

There are three main ways to deploy Microsoft Office:

  1. One is to install it on each employee’s PC
  2. Another is to host it an onsite server
  3. And the last is to pay an IT hosting company to host it for you.

Here’s why we would recommend going with the latter option:

It increases the centralization of your company-wide Office deployment.

A hosted deployment of Microsoft Office is highly centralized—it can be hosted on a single server, or at most a small number of interconnected servers and storage devices.

You can also prohibit users from transferring their Office files to their devices’ hard drives (or any other local storage drive) so that all of your company’s Office files remain on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

It makes Office easier to manage (which helps you prevent downtime, data loss, and security breaches).

When centralized like this, a company-wide deployment of Office is easier to manage—it usually means that you can monitor and troubleshoot all of your instances and users from within a single dashboard; that you only have to update or “patch” a single deployment of the suite; and that you only have to set up and run a single recurring backup.

Meanwhile, if you sign up for a managed hosted Microsoft Office, you won’t have to worry about managing your Office deployment at all; instead, the hosting company will handle the monitoring, supporting, securing, updating, and backing up of your deployment for you.

It increases the security of your Office deployment.

The centralization of hosted Office also makes it easier to protect your Office deployment from inappropriate access, since it decreases the number of devices you have to protect and allows you to focus on protecting a small number of servers.

In addition, the hosting provider may also protect your hosted Office deployment for you with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, gateway antivirus, and IDS/IPS. You also don’t have to worry about a security breach occurring as a result of a user’s device being lost or stolen with hosted Office, since your Office files remain on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

It allows your employees to access their Office applications and files from anywhere with any device.

A hosted Microsoft Office is pretty easy to access anywhere with these following devices:

  • Computer (laptop and desktop)
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone
  • Or thin client, including Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, and Android and iOS mobile devices.

This allows businesses with multiple offices to provide Office to all of its employees with just a single deployment, instead of having to deploy it at each location. It also lets employees access their Office applications and files when they’re away from the office—whether they’re traveling, working in the field, telecommuting, or they’ve gone home for the day.

It can decrease your IT costs.

Hosted Microsoft Office doesn’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite servers or storage devices. You can also access it from low-cost devices as thin clients and old refurbished PCs.

To sign up for Microsoft Office hosting, contact your preferred hosting provider.

ACEC California Event – We’ll Be There!

The American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California) will be holding its annual awards show for engineers in San Francisco tomorrow, and IronOrbit will be there!

The Engineering Excellence Awards are meant to recognize ‰ÛÏengineering and land surveying firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement and value.‰Û Firms coming away with top honors this year include Michael Baker International, NV5, BKF Engineers, Kier & Wright Civil Engineers & Surveyors, and Moffatt & Nichol.

More info about the winners and their projects can be found here: http://www.engineeringca.com/honor-awards-2019/.

Cornerstone Project
An award-winning project by Cornerstone Structural Engineering Group. Source: http://www.engineeringca.com/honor-awards-2019/

The event will also serve as ACEC California’s 3rd Annual Scholarship Foundation Fundraising Dinner, which will award up to $50,000 in ‰ÛÏscholarships for qualified engineering and land surveying students throughout California‰Û in order to ‰ÛÏ[support] students and [strengthen] the future of engineering.‰Û

The IronOrbit team looks forward to celebrating the best engineering and land surveying work of the year, and to contributing towards the education of the top engineering professionals of tomorrow

We‰Ûªre also looking forward to speaking with the leaders of the some of the nation‰Ûªs leading firms, learning more about their top IT priorities and challenges, as we continue to fine-tune and develop our INFINITY cloud-based GPU desktops.

We look forward to meeting with everyone and answering any questions you may have about INFINITY!

About INFINITY | Cloud CAD Desktops

INFINITY cloud-based CAD desktops are hosted desktops that support all your specialty CAD applications, including AutoCAD, Revit, and SolidWorks. They have $0 upfront hardware costs and never have to be replaced. They can also be accessed from anywhere, with ANY device, over ANY standard internet connection.

Cloud-based CAD desktops can be spun up in seconds, not weeks. They also scale dynamically, so you can run heavy-duty workloads like rendering seamlessly and cost-effectively ‰ÛÒ without purchasing or upgrading additional hardware.

Learn more about INFINITY: www.ironorbit.com/docs/INFINITY.pdf

Request a free trial: sales@ironorbit.com or 888-753-5060.

About ACEC California

ACEC California is a 50 plus year-old, nonprofit association of private consulting engineering and land surveying firms.åÊ Members provide services for all phases of planning, designing and constructing projects. Member services include civil, structural, geotechnical, electrical and mechanical engineering and land surveying for all types of public works, residential, commercial and industrial projects.

The ACEC California family includes 22 local chapters covering the state, a 61-member Board of Directors (elected by the chapters), 24 Committees, 1 Academy, 5 Affiliated Organizations and a state office staff of 9. ACEC California is the nation’s largest Member Organization in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). Membership in ACEC California means automatic membership in ACEC, and representation at the national level.

Hosted QuickBooks Explained

Hosted QuickBooks is a service in which you pay an IT hosting company to host a desktop version of QuickBooks for you.

It typically goes like this: You coordinate with the hosting company so that it installs the version of QuickBooks that you want on its servers. You access the hosted QuickBooks via the Internet, usually with a software client such as Remote Desktop Connection or Citrix Receiver.

Your hosted version of QuickBooks will appear and perform the same as a version of QuickBooks that you install on a PC or an onsite server—it’ll have the same interface and all of the same features.

You usually pay for a QuickBooks hosting service like this on a flat-rate, monthly, per-user basis ($100 per user per month, for example).

The benefits of hosting QuickBooks like this include:

It allows you to access QuickBooks from anywhere with any device

With hosted QuickBooks, you’re no longer restricted to accessing QuickBooks from just a single PC or a single office LAN—you can access it from anywhere (no matter if you’re at the office, at home, traveling, or at a client’s office), with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

You don’t have to worry about setting it up or managing it

Installing QuickBooks on one PC isn’t hard, of course. What is hard, though, and what usually requires a more professional touch, is setting it up so that it can be accessed from anywhere with any device.

Setting it up so that it can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously. Protecting it from all manner of IT security threats. Testing updates/patches for security and stability before applying them. Backing up its data in a secure and dependable way. Ensuring that it’s compliant with regulations such as PCI DSS and SOX. And troubleshooting problems with it when first-party support isn’t available.

With hosted QuickBooks, your hosting company will handle many of these responsibilities for you—and if your hosting company is a managed hosting provider like IronOrbit, it will handle all of these responsibilities for you.

It’s more secure

Hosted QuickBooks is usually more secure than deploying the application on an onsite PC or server, mainly because hosting companies can afford to implement more advanced security measures and hire more experienced and knowledgeable IT security personnel than the average business.

In addition, with hosted QuickBooks, your QuickBooks data is stored on the hosting company’s servers by default rather than on your device’s hard drive—ensuring that your QuickBooks data remains on the hosting company’s well-protected servers at all times, rather than on a less secure computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

It’s more compliant

Hosted QuickBooks is usually more compliant with IT-related regulations like PCI DSS and SOX than onsite QuickBooks deployments because it usually already satisfies, in its default state, many of the requirements of these regulations.

For example, PCI DSS requires businesses to protect any IT asset that contains or handles payment card data with a firewall, in-transit encryption, antivirus software, authentication systems, physical access controls, and network and system monitoring, and to perform regular penetration tests and maintain a security policy.

IronOrbit hosted QuickBooks, among others, satisfies most of these requirements by default, without any further customization required.

Many hosting companies, including IronOrbit, also offer compliance hosting services, which means that they’ll customize your hosted solution so that it’s fully compliant with a certain regulation if you don’t want to complete the process of achieving compliance yourself.

It costs less

Hosted QuickBooks can cost less than onsite deployments of the same application because it doesn’t require the purchase of any onsite servers or the hiring of any additional IT personnel to manage it.

It can also reduce your IT costs because it can be accessed from low-cost devices such as thin clients and old PCs, since hosted applications are processed and stored on the hosting company’s servers and the age and quality of the user’s device has little to no effect on the performance of the applications.

And because hosting companies are much better at preventing costly security breaches and downtime and data loss incidents than the average business, due to their aforementioned higher budgets and because they specialize in IT hosting and ensuring the security and reliability of IT solutions.

If you have an existing onsite deployment of QuickBooks, it’s possible—and usually pretty quick and easy—to migrate all of your existing data and licenses to a new hosted QuickBooks deployment. Your hosting company should be able to help you with this migration process, and may even offer to perform the entire process for you for a small fee.

How to Sign Up

To sign up for hosted QuickBooks, you first need to select a hosting company to host it for you. Ideally, this hosting company should have experience hosting QuickBooks, and should be able to provide you with a hosted solution that satisfies all of your security, reliability, compliance, scalability, and performance requirements. Its solutions should also, of course, be affordable to you.

Your next step will be to get in touch with the hosting company, let them know what you what them to host and how you want it to be hosted (some hosting companies allow for more customization of their solutions than others), and request a price quote—or, if you’ve gone through this process when you were evaluating hosting companies, get in touch with the hosting company you selected to finalize a hosting agreement and initiate the setup process.

The hosting company will then guide you through this process or take care of it themselves. It will also provide you with instructions on how to connect to your hosted QuickBooks solution.

Sage 50 Hosting: Features and Benefits

Sage 50, formerly called Peachtree Accounting, is a line of accounting software for small businesses.

There are three different versions of Sage 50: Pro, Premium, and Quantum. All versions of the product include the features that you would expect in an accounting application.

These include accounts payable (check writing, bill payment, purchases, and purchase orders), accounts receivable (quotes, invoices, receive payments, and sales orders), payroll, cash flow, credit card processing, and reports.

With Sage 50 Premium, you get additional inventory management, customer management, budgeting, billing, change order processing and audit trail features.

And with Sage 50 Quantum, you get all of the Premium features plus increased performance, support for up to 40 users, support for larger data sets, and more job management, project management, security, and industry-specific features.

Sage 50 Pro is the entry-level version of the application.

Sage 50 is an alternative to the ultra-popular QuickBooks line of small business accounting software. According to Kathy Yakal of PCMag, Sage 50 is better than QuickBooks when it comes to inventory management, job management, reporting, and security.

At the same time, she also says that Sage 50 is worse than QuickBooks when it comes to areas such as customizability, complex financial processes, and customer management, financial planning, and e-commerce features.

Sage 50 for Small Business Entrepreneurs

Overall, Sage 50 makes it easier for small business owners to track their finances, make and receive payments, and manage vendors, customers, and employees.

This can increase the overall success of their businesses since it enables business owners to make quicker and better-informed decisions. It can also shorten the time it takes to receive payments from customers and thereby increase the businesses’ total income.

Sage 50 also eliminates the errors in calculations that can occur with paper and pencil bookkeeping.

There are three main ways to deploy Sage 50:

  • One is to install it individually on the desktop PC of each user
  • Another it is to host it on an onsite server at one of your offices;
  • And the last is to pay an IT hosting company to host it for you (also referred to as “hosted Sage 50”)

For most businesses, the best way to deploy Sage 50 is to pay an IT hosting company like IronOrbit to host it for you.

One reason for this is the fact that hosted Sage 50 can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client by default.

This allows employees to access Sage 50 from wherever they want, whether they’re at home, at work, or anywhere in between; and to access it from their preferred devices, including from Macs and iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.

The anywhere-accessibility of hosted Sage 50 also means that a business only has to maintain a single deployment of Sage 50, even if it has multiple offices.

More benefits of a hosted Sage 50

Other benefits of paying an IT hosting company to host Sage 50 for you include:

Increased security. Because hosting companies protect their infrastructure with advanced security measures such as 24x7x365 monitoring and enterprise-level firewalls, IDS/IPS, and antivirus, and because users’ data remains on the hosting companies’ servers at all times, instead of being stored on less secure endpoints).

Decreased IT management responsibilities (because you don’t have to purchase and maintain any onsite servers, and many hosting companies will monitor, protect, update, back up, and support your solution for you)

Lower costs (because you don’t have to purchase any onsite servers or hire any additional IT personnel, and because hosted Sage 50 can be accessed from low-cost, low-maintenance devices such as thin clients, old PCs, or employees’ personal devices).

And regulatory compliance (because of hosting companies’ increased security and data loss prevention features, which satisfy many of the requirements of IT-related regulations such as PCI DSS and SOX, and because many hosting companies will help you to comply with these regulations for an additional fee).

To sign up for hosted Sage 50, simply contact your preferred IT hosting company. If you have an existing onsite deployment of the application, your hosting company should be able to help you transfer over all of your existing data and licenses to the new deployment.