Category: Hosted Virtual Desktops

The Remote Work Survival Kit Under the Threat of the Coronavirus

There is no denying the impact COVID-19 has had on us over the past couple of months. The coronavirus has managed to work its way into every conversation, news headline, and social media post.

The coronavirus is a pandemic according to the World Health Organization. The threat of the virus spreading
has changed the way we live. We have to prepare ourselves for the upcoming months. Canceling large events and gatherings is one way to mitigate the spread of the virus. Sports, schools, churches and many businesses have closed. Or they avoid interaction with the public. Social distancing is the new mandate. Government officials have urged us to not congregate in large crowds. Stay at home if possible. Many companies are sending emails to employees asking them to work from home if possible. Companies that aren’t set up to work remotely are scrambling to make it happen. What was once an option has become a necessity.

This article will provide some options on how to deliver a great work from home experience. None of these technologies are new. If used in combination they will ensure a better work-from-home experience.

Let’s start with the one that can take on many forms and methodologies: BYOD. Bring your Own Device. Gartner defines BYOD as allowing someone to use a personally-owned device to access a company’s resources. This could be the company’s email. It could be actually installing a VPN client on their home computer. Each company has a different take on the level of access granted to non-company assets.

 

The “Bring Your Own Device” concept has been around since 2004. It is not a new trend. What is new is the popularity of using personal mobile devices on the job. The security risks of allowing access to corporate resources has discouraged some companies from adopting a BYOD policy.
Bring Your Own Device

In this post by Remote.CO you can get a sense of the varying level BYOD plays at different organizations. BYOD had its start in the mobile device world. Companies were tired of purchasing cell phones for employees. Employees were tired of carrying around 2 phones. Employees carried their personal phone and the locked-down, outdated one provided by the company. Since then, companies have other ways of getting business data secured on personal devices.

Mobile Device Managers

Microsoft Intune and VMware Airwatch are MDM programs that help protect corporate data on personal devices. Employees have access to an Enterprise app store where they can consume their internal data while using their device of choice. The employee first opts in to install the MDM agent on their device. The list of devices with current modern Operating Systems is no longer limited to only smartphones. Once the agent is installed, the company can push down a profile that allows the device to be managed. Both Intune and Airwatch have a robust set of policies available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. What degree of enforcement the company has on the phone will vary on the company and device type. Once the agent is deployed, and the configuration of Security baseline is set, the device can be actively monitored and secured. This could mean enforcing Bitlocker encryption for Windows 10 devices or managing Filevault on macOS with Intune.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

VDI technology has taken many forms over the years. In its purest form, VDI is accessing a virtual machine over the network from a client or web-browser. This enables companies to have virtual machines always available on the internal network. These virtual controlled Existing management systems control these machines. Security tools protect the company provided applications and data. Having a proper VDI solution for employees to use can be a major advantage. Especially if they need to travel or work from various locations and/or devices. If a company already has VDI in place today, the process of deploying new virtual desktops is easy. It only takes seconds to accommodate new users.

VDI began as a technology installed on-premise or in a company’s private data centers. Later VDI transitioned to the cloud. The major VDI players Citrix, VMware and Microsoft all have major cloud offerings. This is called DaaS or Desktops as a service. Citrix and Microsoft host their DaaS offerings within Azure. VMware can host desktops in AWS, Azure, and the IBM Cloud. Google Cloud is coming soon.

The ability to leverage cloud-based virtual desktops has great advantages. Especially in certain situations like Disaster Recovery. Traditional VDI takes longer to procure and deploy new hardware. DaaS has some extra benefits like less IT overhead. This is because the cloud provider manages more components.

 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a means of which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting 2 or more pieces of evidence (factors) to an authentication mechanism. These are usually having to do with knowledge (something only the user knows); possession (only the user has it); and inherence (like fingerprint voice scan, or retina scan).

Let’s discuss the use of a multi-factor authentication solution. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a subset of multi-factor authentication (MFA). It ensures you can pass multiple criteria for identity. This includes something you know (password or security PIN). It also includes an object like a security token or fob. Finally, something physical that is specific to you (fingerprint, retina scan, facial recognition). A 2FA solution would offer only 2 of these mechanisms to prove your identity.

We’ve all had to input our email or phone number when signing up for an account online. Using a mobile banking app is a good example. An authentication mechanism can be a one-time-password sent to you via text message. It could be using your phone’s builtin face or fingerprint reader. These are ways to prove your identity.

The FBI warns MFA solutions are not completely foolproof. Still, it’s the best way to thwart cyber-thieves from stealing your data. Having a second form of authentication proof is safer than only having a long password. Most modern smartphones and laptops have a built-in fingerprint or smart card reader. There are several key players in the MFA space. The top leaders include Okta, Microsoft Azure MFA, and Duo (recently acquired by Cisco). Duo uses a simple cloud-based 2FA approach. Their system integrates with various types of applications. When a user attempts to gain access, a VDI or VPN provider sends a push notification to your smartphone. The user acknowledges the push notification on their smartphone. There’s no need to enter a second password or copy a 16-digit PIN for verification.

The order from management is to stay at home. Do not come to the office for the next 2 weeks. Work remotely until government and health organizations deem the coronavirus has been contained. Don’t worry about a report or project plan saved on your office desktop. Embrace VDI technology.

Do Your Work, Anywhere, and on Any Device

 

If you’re new to working from home, make sure your technology is in order. One important aspect of working remotely is communication. Make sure you have the bandwidth needed to support your tasks throughout the day.

The order from management is to stay at home. Do not come to the office for the next 2 weeks. Work remotely until government and health organizations deem the coronavirus has been contained. Don’t worry about a report or project plan saved on your office desktop. Embrace VDI technology.

VDI means working from a virtual desktop every day. Your data is always available, accessible from wherever you are and protected. Your data is more secure now than it ever was when kept on-premises. The data is backed up across different geographic regions within the cloud. There is no need to worry about catastrophic power or network outage at your local data center. It’s also always on and provides a consistent experience whenever you need to access it.

Maybe you don’t need a full Windows Virtual Desktop to get your work done. You just need access to a handful of SaaS apps like Salesforce.com. An Okta or other MFA solution can help authenticate you from an outside connection. This allows you to gain entry to those specific internal resources without the need to install a VPN client.

Or, what if all you really need is to access your corporate email and files on your phone while safe at your home? Having your smart device enrolled in your company’s Mobile Device Management solution can provide the access you need while keeping the business data secured.

Deciding how to start a remote work enablement plan for your team can seem like an overwhelming task. Like other challenges, it can is not so daunting when done in small steps. Better yet, it is a good idea to bring in experts who can design a solution that works best for your business.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. While there are many ways to enable employees to work from home, there is only one that is perfect for your needs.

Many adversities are beyond our control. It is helpful to focus on those things we can control. We can take steps to prepare for the uncertainties ahead. We can do what is best for our employees and our loved ones.

Using the cloud to work remote is less to do with “social distancing,” and more to do with benefiting your company. Being on the cloud will democratize opportunities for you across the board. You’ll see that remote work is not so much a challenge to overcome, but a business advantage to achieve.

 

Check out IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces! The Ultimate Remote Work Tool!

 

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 [email protected], 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.

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.

Why Call Centers Should Switch to Hosted Desktops

A hosted desktop is a Windows desktop operating system that you access via the Internet. You can access a hosted desktop from any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

In most cases, each user is assigned to a single, specific hosted desktop, and the desktop retains all of the user’s files and applications even after he or she logs out.

To sign up for hosted desktops, you usually have to contact an IT hosting company and ask them to deploy and set up the desktops for you. You usually pay for them by the month.

Call centers should consider replacing their current IT setup with hosted desktops for multiple reasons.

Cost

Because the main reason that businesses outsource their customer support operations to call center companies is to reduce their costs, it’s important for call center companies to be as cost-efficient as possible.

Hosted desktops can reduce a call center’s IT costs because they don’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite hardware or the hiring of any additional IT personnel.

Hosted desktops can be accessed from low-cost devices such as refurbished PCs and thin clients without a decrease in performance or reliability. Moreover, because hosting companies can provide hosted desktops to you at a lower cost than it would take you to deploy and maintain them yourself due to their economies of scale.

Manageability

Call centers tend to be difficult environments to manage, both for supervisors and IT administrators, because they usually involve large numbers of employees and desktops.

Hosted desktops make it easier to manage large numbers of call center employees and desktops. However, since unlike physical PCs they’re centralized onto a relatively small number of interconnected servers and are software-defined assets that are ready to integrate with a desktop management solution without any further customization.

Hosted desktops make it easier for supervisors to monitor their employees and set permissions and for IT administrators to perform management tasks such as security and performance monitoring, virus scanning, patch management, data backups, and remoting into computers to provide technical support.

Hosted desktops may also allow IT administrators to avoid having to perform these management tasks altogether if their hosting company is one that includes management and support services with their hosted desktops.

Security

Some call centers handle sensitive customer data such as payment card data, medical records, and social security numbers. Hosted desktops make it easier to protect this data from unauthorized access and inappropriate handling.

The centralization and virtualization of hosted desktops make them easier to protect, monitor, scan for malware, maintain an audit trail on, and disinfect than physical PCs.

And because hosted desktops are processed and stored on the hosting provider’s servers, call centers don’t have to worry as much about protecting end-point devices from cyberattacks and physical theft.

Scalability

Many call centers have relatively high employee turnover rates. Some also have to add or subtract large numbers of employees in a short period of time. They do it in order to fulfill the terms of a contract or to downsize once a contract has reached the end of its duration.

With hosted desktops, you can add or subtract as many desktops as you want at any time. This eliminates having to purchase or set up any hardware. Each desktop usually only takes a few minutes to deploy.

Ability to integrate telecommuters

Many call centers are hiring telecommuters these days instead of onsite workers in order to reduce their real estate costs. They also do it to hire more cost-efficient or higher-skilled employees that live too far away to commute or that prefer to work from home.

Hosted desktops make it easier for call centers to hire telecommuters. This is because they can be accessed from anywhere with any device. So, telecommuters can use their personal computer to connect to the hosted desktop. Call centers just need to provide telecommuters with their own hosted desktops in order to equip them with all of the IT resources they need to do their job.

Call centers can sign up for hosted desktops from IronOrbit by contacting us at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060.

Hosted Virtual Desktop: What Is It?

A hosted virtual desktop is a next-gen Windows operating system that you can access from anywhere, with any device, via the Internet.

It can do anything a Windows OS on a local PC can do. You can use it to run all your applications, store all your files, send and receive email, and browse the web. Plus, it’s faster and more secure than your local PC.

When you use a standard Windows desktop, you can only work on a single device, in a single location.

Not so with hosted virtual desktops. You can access them from any location, whether you’re at work, at home, or anywhere in between. You can access them from any device you want, including:

  • Windows desktops & laptops
  • Apple computers (MacBooks, Mac Pros, etc.)
  • iPads & iPhones
  • Android tablets & smartphones
  • Linux computers

With hosted desktops, or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), you have the freedom to work remotely. This technology eliminates the need to work on your office desk alone.

Hosted Virtual Desktops vs In-House IT

managed cloud services expert

With a traditional in-house IT, all assets, from desktops to servers, are onsite. Businesses with in-house IT solutions have a dedicated team of individuals responsible for resolving issues with the IT system and infrastructure.

Hosted desktops are the exact opposite of in-house IT. The IT hosting company will move your Windows applications into the cloud for remote access.

The process of shifting to a hosted virtual desktop involves installation of your OS on the server. This enables you to access your files, applications, and documents from any Internet-connected device.  So long as you have Internet access, you’ll be able to run applications with a hosted desktop.

Why Make The Switch?

More and more companies are now embracing digital transformation for a good reason: to reduce manual task and increase productivity. Having the ability to work anywhere helps you  accomplish tasks. Aside from flexibility, hosted desktops also offer these benefits:

Cost-Effective IT Solution

Hosted virtual desktop services no longer require you to purchase expensive PCs just to maintain workplace productivity. You can access hosted desktops even from an old PC. It doesn’t affect the user experience because your OS is stored on the server of your hosting provider. Managing email, applications, and file storage has never been this easy.

Improved Security

Hosting companies consider security a top priority. More often than not, the monthly fee you pay for a hosting company already includes patch management, data backups, and hosted virtual desktop security maintenance. That said, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on protecting your sensitive files and documents from threats.

Maintenance-Free

When your operating system is locally installed, you’re responsible for maintaining your PCs. A virtual hosted desktop spares you the headache of maintaining your servers and PCs because you can host your applications on the server of your hosting provider.

Hosted Virtual Desktops: The History

server hosting business

Virtualization existed even in the ’60s. However, it had some limitations that kept it from taking off. One was that hardware virtualization could only process one task at a time.

This meant that the rest of the tasks had to be queued in batches. Just like most inventions, it wasn’t long before experts came along to improve the functionalities of virtualization.

With the emergence of new features after a few decades, managing multiple computers became easier. Hence, the use of virtual machines. How did this innovation change lives?

Well, for one, it enabled businesses to increase efficiency, and address stability and security concerns. Imagine eliminating the burden of depending on one device. It’s a whiff of fresh air for everyone. You don’t have to think about the safety of your data, especially when machines have been compromised.

Imagine eliminating the burden of depending on one device. It’s a whiff of fresh air for everyone. You don’t have to think about the safety of your data, especially when machines have been compromised.

Sensitive data becomes impervious to natural disaster and human error because you’re not storing them on individual machines. It’s a clever way to ensure data is in good hands. You’re not using a shared network.

That said, only people who has access to your resources can view your files and applications. You decrease the likelihood of file corruption because employees access data from a separate operating system.  The VMware hosted virtual desktop is one of the providers that offer this feature.

The Rise of Hosted Virtual Desktop

Between the ’60s-’90s, you won’t notice any significant difference on hosted virtual desktops except gaining access to data, which is centrally stored. As the concept of hosted virtual desktops became popular in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the IT needs to kick the strategy up a notch to combat new security threats.

It’s a turning point for providers to implement cloud technology or cloud-hosted virtual desktop that will shield files and documents against complex security threats.

So when your files are stored in the cloud, you’re also reducing the likelihood of your sensitive data being hacked. Why? Simply because you could only access your files with an Internet connection.

In 2004, virtualization gained traction when new rules regarding management responsibilities were put in place. How did this come about? High-profile security threats paved a wider way for IT experts to come up with a more stringent rule that will not only increase the functionality of a hosted desktop but also create a security tool.

Providers are continuously releasing updates and revision up to the present. Each update will also require businesses to comply with the security requirement to cope with the changes in technology.

Who Can Reap The Benefits Of Hosted Virtual Desktops?

The primary purpose of hosted desktops is to remove time-consuming tasks by simplifying processes. Here are the key industries that can benefit from hosted virtual desktops:

Professional Services

If your company offers professional services, such as legal or financial, there are many ways your company can benefit from the hosted desktop software. You can migrate industry-specific applications into the hosted desktop software to streamline business operations and processes.

You don’t have to keep on reminding yourself to perform an upgrade because most providers will update the applications and software for you.

Law and accountancy firms store sensitive files, which require strict data management practices. An advanced personal hosted virtual desktop has the ability to store data in a specific data center governed by data protection laws. With security measures in place, it will be difficult for hackers to steal your data.

Healthcare

In 2017, WannaCry ransomware crippled the healthcare industry due to its unpatched system. With more than 230,000 Windows OS computers affected across 150 countries, such damages incurred billions. This hacking scandal only proves that you need to be one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals can freely access your files when the staff connects to unsecured networks. Hosted virtual desktop providers can lock down files as a way of protecting your data from being stolen. Hospitals also have heaps of paperwork that medical staff has to carry to consultations or around campus. Why risk losing some of these essential files when you can reduce the paper trail by moving important files into the cloud?

New Businesses

Running a small or start-up company is no excuse to let data security to take a backseat. This is one misconception that has led many small businesses to fall victim to cyber crimes. Your files are important even as a startup.

A hosted virtual desktop for small business gives you a significant amount of savings because you’ll no longer have to worry about hiring a support staff to maintain your IT environment or pay upfront server costs.

Both of these services have a comprehensive hosted virtual desktop pricing and they can be outsourced at a flat monthly rate. Scalability is one of the stand-out benefits of hosted desktop service. You can also consider hosted virtual desktop free of charge, but it has some limitations.  It makes your IT environment more sustainable with the option to scale up or down your service.

Hosted virtual desktops help you streamline business processes to accomplish tasks in a timely fashion. You’ll also gain greater peace of mind because the minimal IT management responsibilities allow you to focus on other aspects of your business that matter.

Scalability in Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Scalability

 

Scalability in cloud computing is the ability to quickly and easily increase or decrease the size or power of an IT solution. A scalable cloud is why you can sign up and use most cloud solutions in just a few minutes – if not seconds. It’s why you can add resources like storage to an existing account just as quickly.

There are usually two ways to scale a cloud solution up or down:

  1. Contact the cloud provider to request it
  2. Add the resources yourself via an online portal

Some cloud solutions can also be auto-scaled. This means you can set them up to scale up or down automatically based on certain conditions, like when your cloud solution is running out of storage space.

 

Key Features of Cloud Scalability

 

  • Grow or shrink. Scaling is a change in size. It can mean increasing or decreasing

 

  • Sizeable difference. You don’t use a cool word like “scalability” to describe a minor change. It should mean adding a significant amount of users or data, or hardware-like assets such as vCPUs and vRAM.

 

  • Non-disruptive. Scaling doesn’t mean replacing. You’re adding resources to an existing deployment, so there should be minimal downtime or learning curve. Adding seats to your Google Apps deployment as you grow – that’s scaling. Switching to Office 365 because Google Apps can’t support you any longer, not so much.

 

  • Relatively fast. Not at all cloud solutions scale up in minutes or with the click of a button, but scaling with the cloud should at least be faster than buying and setting up the hardware yourself.

 

  • Relatively easy. If scalability was easy in every case, we’d all be AWS Architects making a sweet $100,000+ per year. But the architecture of the cloud still makes things easier than scaling locally. Without virtualization, you’d have to run your largest apps on expensive, difficult-to-maintain mainframes.

 

You Already Know, You Just Don’t Know It

 

The prediction is that 41% of enterprise workload will be run on public cloud platforms by 2020. Another 20% will be private-cloud-based, while 22% will rely on hybrid cloud adoption.

Even if you’ve never heard the term scalability before, you’ve probably done some scaling of your own without realizing it. If you’ve ever done any of these things:

  • Created a Gmail account
  • Added storage to your Dropbox account
  • Watched something on Netflix

Then you’ve done some scaling, at least in a limited, frontend sense. What you’ve done is create an IT resource – an email account, storage, or a streaming video – without buying any additional hardware.

There’s a lot happening behind the scenes here, too. With the Gmail example, Google’s cloud automatically sets aside space for your new email account – which it probably does millions of times per day, for its millions of other new users. Google is probably doing this without purchasing any new hardware, either. It probably has a surplus of hundreds or thousands of servers, all set up and ready to host millions of Gmail accounts.

 

6 Key Benefits of Cloud Scalability

 

1 – It makes you feel like a god. There’s something pretty cool about being able to deploy thousands of servers or terabytes of data with a single click. You start to think, “Today, I deployed and configured all the servers I needed. Tomorrow…the world.”

2 – It makes your job easier. Don’t tell your boss about this one, but adding resources with the cloud takes less time than doing it locally with physical hardware – a lot less time. You can then spend a lot of this extra time “working.”

3 – It makes disaster recovery easier. Not every business can afford a hot or cold site. But scalability allows any business to rebuild their IT in just a few hours; you just have to deploy new servers and copy over your data. It can take weeks, on the other hand, to rebuild your local IT with new physical servers.

4 – It gives your business incredible speed and flexibility. Want to open a new branch? Add a new team? Start a new project or campaign? Scalability lets you add the IT resources for initiatives like this in minutes, not months.

5 – It lets you avoid costly, disruptive migrations. You don’t want to deploy your IT on a platform, only to find that it can’t support you after several years of solid growth. With a scalable platform, you only migrate when you want to – not when your underlying platform lets you down.

6 – It saves you money. There are no large upfront costs with the cloud. No $5,000+ servers, SANs, or networking equipment to buy. And you only pay for what you use. On a large scale, scalability reduces waste. It’s why cloud providers can offer secure, reliable business email hosting for $5 per month and still be in business.

 

Why Cloud Computing Is Scalable

 

scalability cloud computing

Virtualization is what makes scalability in cloud computing possible. Virtual machines (VMs) are scalable. They’re not like physical machines, whose resources are relatively fixed. You can add any amount of resources to VMs at any time. You can scale them up by:

  • Moving them to a server with more resources
  • Hosting them on multiple servers at once (clustering)

The other reason cloud computing is scalable? Cloud providers already have all the necessary hardware and software in place. Individual businesses, in contrast, can’t afford to have surplus hardware on standby.

2020 UPDATE*

Virtual machines have evolved over the past few years. Operating systems have added more functionality and compatibilities allowing for every industry to have a more productive workflow. Technology has made tremendous leaps in progress as well, especially with increased internet speeds and 5G decreasing latency times exponentially. Using a virtual machine(remote desktop) has now become cost-effective and more productive for all industries, and all businesses.

IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces is our “remote desktop” solution. Find out how powerful these workspaces really are.

 

 

 

Or give us a call at (888) 753-5060 to learn more about cloud computing from one of our cloud experts.

 

Hosted Virtual Desktop: Access Your Computer Anytime, Anywhere From Any Device

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution has taken businesses to the next level. If you have not tapped into BYOD, consider hosted virtual desktop as a jumping off point.

If you’re used to the traditional workplace environment, a hosted desktop might be foreign to you.

A hosted desktop refers to a Windows operating system, which is accessible via the Internet. It’s the clone of a Windows operating system with the same capabilities as the operating system on a PC.

This means that a hosted desktop lets you install and launch Microsoft Office applications, web browsers, and even email programs such as Microsoft Outlook.

Hosted desktops or also referred to as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) allow you to enjoy the freedom of working remotely. You don’t have to be chained to your desk to carry out your task. Since it’s not installed on the machine, it’s like taking your PC anywhere minus the physical device.

Although each one of you is working on an independent PC, you’ll still have the opportunity to collaborate because all of your virtual PCs are hosted on interconnected servers.

ideation room meeting

Hosted Virtual Desktops vs Traditional In-House IT

With a traditional in-house IT, all assets, from drivers to servers are located onsite. Businesses with in-house IT solutions have a dedicated team of individuals responsible for resolving issues with the IT system and infrastructure.

Hosted desktops are the exact opposite of in-house IT. Windows applications are moved into the cloud to enable remote access. This is made possible by IT hosting company.

Having your OS installed on the server enables you to access your files, applications, and documents from any Internet-connected device.  So long as you have Internet access, you’ll be able to run applications with a hosted desktop.

Why Make The Switch?

More and more companies are now embracing digital transformation for a good reason-reduce manual task and increase productivity. Having the ability to work anywhere helps you to accomplish tasks. Aside from flexibility, hosted desktops also offer these benefits:

  • Cost-Effective IT Solution: Hosted virtual desktop services no longer require you to purchase expensive PCs just to maintain workplace productivity. You can access hosted desktops even from an old PC. It doesn’t affect the user experience because your OS is stored on the server of your hosting provider. Managing email, applications, and file storage has never been this easy.
  • Improved Security: Hosting companies consider security as a top priority. More often than not, the monthly fee you pay for a hosting company already includes patch management, data backups, and hosted virtual desktop security maintenance. That said, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on protecting, your sensitive files and documents from threats.
  • Maintenance-Free: When your operating system is locally installed, you’ll have to be responsible for maintaining your PC to preserve their optimum performance. A virtual hosted desktop spares you the headache of maintaining your servers and PCs because you can host your applications on the server of your hosting provider.

Hosted Virtual Desktops-The Emergence Of Advanced Technology

Virtualization exists even in the ’60s. However, it has some limitations that deter such technological concept from soaring high. One limitation is that hardware virtualization could only cater to one task at a time.

This means that the rest of the tasks have to be queued in batches. Just like most inventions, it wasn’t long enough when experts decided to improve the features of software and hardware virtualization.

With the emergence of new features after a few decades, managing multiple computers became easier. Hence, the use of virtual machines. How did this innovation change lives?

Well, for one, it enabled businesses to increase efficiency, and address stability and security concerns. Imagine eliminating the burden of depending on one device. It’s a whiff of fresh air for everyone. You don’t have to think about the safety of your data, especially when machines have been compromised.

Sensitive data becomes impervious to natural disaster and human error because you’re not storing them on individual machines. It’s a clever way to ensure data is in good hands. You’re not using a shared network.

That said, only people who have been granted access to your resources can view your files and applications. You decrease the likelihood of file corruption because employees access data from a separate operating system.  The VMware hosted virtual desktop is one of the providers that offer this feature.

Between the ’60s-’90s, you won’t notice any significant difference on hosted virtual desktops except gaining access to data, which is centrally stored. As the concept of hosted virtual desktops became popular in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the IT needs to kick the strategy up a notch to combat new security threats.

It’s a turning point for providers to implement cloud technology or cloud-hosted virtual desktop that will shield files and documents against complex security threats.

So when your files are stored in the cloud, you’re also reducing the likelihood of your sensitive data being hacked. Why? Simply because you could only access your files with an Internet connection.

In 2004, virtualization gained traction when new rules regarding management responsibilities were put in place. How did this come about? High-profile security threats paved a wider way for IT experts to come up with a more stringent rule that will not only increase the functionality of a hosted desktop but also create a security tool.

Providers are continuously releasing updates and revision up to the present. Each update will also require businesses to comply with the security requirement to cope with the changes in technology.

hosted virtual service business

Who Can Reap The Benefits Of Hosted Virtual Desktops?

The primary purpose of hosted desktops is to remove time-consuming tasks by simplifying processes. Here are the key industries that can benefit from hosted virtual desktops:

  • Professional Services

If your company offers professional services, such as legal or financial, there are many ways your company can benefit from the hosted desktop software. You can migrate industry-specific applications into the hosted desktop software to streamline business operations and processes.

You don’t have to keep on reminding yourself to perform an upgrade because most providers will update the applications and software for you.

Law and accountancy firms store sensitive files, which require strict data management practices. An advanced personal hosted virtual desktop has the ability to store data in a specific data center governed by data protection laws. With security measures in place, it will be difficult for hackers to steal your data.

  • Healthcare

In 2017, WannaCry ransomware crippled the healthcare industry due to its unpatched system. With more than 230,000 Windows OS computers affected across 150 countries, such damages incurred billions. This hacking scandal only proves that you need to be one step ahead of cyber criminals.

Data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals can freely access your files when the staff connects to unsecured networks. Hosted virtual desktop providers can lock down files as a way of protecting your data from being stolen. Hospitals also have heaps of paperwork that medical staff has to carry to consultations or around campus. Why risk losing some of these essential files when you can reduce the paper trail by moving important files into the cloud?

  • New Businesses

Running a small or start-up company is no excuse to let data security to take a backseat. This is one misconception that has led many small businesses to fall victim to cyber crimes. Your files are important even as a startup.

A hosted virtual desktop for small business gives you a significant amount of savings because you’ll no longer have to worry about hiring a support staff to maintain your IT environment or pay upfront server costs.

Both of these services have a comprehensive hosted virtual desktop pricing and they can be outsourced at a flat monthly rate. Scalability is one of the stand-out benefits of hosted desktop service. You can also consider hosted virtual desktop free of charge, but it has some limitations.  It makes your IT environment more sustainable with the option to scale up or down your service.

Hosted virtual desktops provide a streamlined business process to get things done in a timely fashion. You’ll also gain greater peace of mind because the minimal IT management responsibilities allow you to focus on other aspects of your business that matter.

Cyber Attacks Are On The Rise. Here’s How To Protect Your Business.

Cyber-attacks are on the rise, and businesses are starting to feel the heat.

The past few years have witnessed more cyber-attacks than any time in recent memory. The revenue lost to cyber crime increases every year, and vastly outstrips the growth in the general economy. Here are just a few numbers to show how serious the problem has become:

400%. The percentage increase in business revenue lost to cyber-crime between 2013 and 2015.

$100 billion. Cost of cyber crime in the United States alone. (2015)

$400 billion. Cost of cyber crime worldwide. (2015)

$2.1 TRILLION. Projected cost of cyber crime in the year 2019.

It doesn‰Ûªt take a genius to figure out that that is a LOT of money being lost to cyber crime. But what‰Ûªs truly remarkable is that 90% of the cyber attacks responsible for these losses, could have been prevented.

By shifting your IT assets from local servers to cloud servers, you stand to reap a number of benefits that can keep your systems and data safe from hackers. In this article, we will look at just a few of these benefits–and how you can use them to keep your business safe.

Monitoring And Incident Response

Cloud servers allow for much better monitoring than locally-installed systems. The reason is that all assets are hosted on a centralized server that can be monitored by anyone with the right security permissions.

On local servers, an employee may subvert monitoring by installing VPNs, proxies or special applications on their PC. On a cloud server this isn‰Ûªt possible–everything is hosted and trackable in the cloud, and individual employees are much less free to install software.

As a result of superior monitoring, incident response also improves. In the event a security breach does occur, it will be immediately visible to the entire network. This allows security teams to respond swiftly to any attack. On a local system, this isn‰Ûªt the case, because attacks may begin by affecting just one device with access to the network. For example, a virus may affect only one PC initially and then spread to the rest of the network.

Security Patching And Upgrades

The cloud lets you keep your security, firewall and anti-virus software up to date without having to manually install anything. On traditional PCs, users usually need to approve updates before they occur–and when that happens, they generally result in downtime.

On cloud servers, updates can be done instantly whenever a patch or upgrade is released, without any need for a human operator to approve the installation. This means your systems are always protected against the latest threats, without you having to do anything.

Better User Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a special type of security measure that requires a user prove their identity. Instead of just entering their username and password, they will also have to prove that they are who they say they are; for example, by entering a code sent to their phone in a text message.

Multi-factor authentication means that even if a hacker gains access to a user password, they won‰Ûªt necessarily be able to break into your systems. These kinds of rigorous authentication protocols are standard on cloud servers but virtually unheard-of on local PCs.

Better Physical Security

One often-overlooked cause of cyber crime is actual, physical theft. Although most people imagine hackers as operating ‰Û÷out in cyberspace,‰Ûª the fact is that cyber crime can also occur when a criminal breaks into your office and steals a device.

The cloud makes this nearly impossible. Cloud servers are hosted in massive data centers protected by armed guards, video cameras, biometric scanners, and extensive environmental protections. So when you host your software in the cloud, it is protected in some of the most secure facilities in the world, dramatically reducing the risk that hackers will be able to steal your hardware and hack your systems that way.

Backup And Disaster Recovery

Lastly, the cloud offers excellent continuity options in the event that a security breach occurs. Although every precaution should be taken to prevent cyber-attacks, the fact remains that sometimes, they do happen. In this situation your #1 priority should be to get back up and running to minimize downtime.

Once again, data centers save the day. Because most cloud servers are housed in geographically separate data centers, files can be backed up in more than one location. The cloud backs up your data automatically, so if an incident happens at one data center, it can be recovered from the backup files found at another one.

This is light years ahead of the backup and recovery options on local PCs. First, cloud backup is automatic, taking place whenever a file is saved or transferred, while local PC backup has to be done manually. Further, doing backup on a local system usually results in downtime, so you can‰Ûªt do it every day, or even every week. This means that you can restore a cloud desktop to a more recent state than a local one.

Second, cloud data backup can be done nearly instantaneously. It‰Ûªs simply a matter of finding the files somewhere else on the server. Local PC recovery, on the other hand, involves manually installing backup files from an external disk, which can take several days.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that the cloud provides next-level IT security benefits that every business should take advantage of. Better monitoring means that you can respond to incidents more quickly. Faster patching mean you‰Ûªre always one step ahead of the latest threats. Better physical security means that you‰Ûªre protected from theft. And better backup and disaster recovery lets you get up and running in worst-case scenarios.

Better security is right at your fingertips.

Click here to learn about IronOrbit’s cloud hosting solutions and how they can keep your business safe from cyber crime.