Category: Hosted Virtual Desktops

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 sales@Ironorbit.com 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.

2021 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.

Hosted Desktops for Temp Workers: The Benefits

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

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

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

Hiring Temps: A Business Boon, an IT Challenge

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

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

  • Desktop PCs
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Thin clients

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

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

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

Hosted Desktops: A Long-Term Solution

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Hosted Desktops for Temps

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

1) They’re completely secure.

hosted desktop security

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

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

Centralizing your data like this ensures that:

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

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

hosted desktop cheap

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

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

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

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

hosted desktop usa

Hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet.

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

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

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

hosted desktop scalability

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

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

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

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

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

Why Law Firms Should Select Hosted Desktops: Compatibility, Accessibility, Security, and Support

The IT requirements of law firms can vary depending on the size and specialization of the firm.  There are also the priorities of the firm’s management to consider. But, some of the more common IT requirements of law firms include:

  • A flexible IT infrastructure that can support a wide variety of applications, including legacy software
  • Remote accessibility, so that the firm’s employees can access their files and applications from anywhere
  • Advanced security and reliable data backups. This is needed to protect the firm’s and its clients’ sensitive data from unauthorized access and data loss. It also helps prevent compliance violations and lawsuits

The best IT solution for law firms with some or all of these IT requirements is hosted desktops.

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

Just as they can with locally-installed desktop OSes, users can store all of their files and install and run any Windows-compatible application on their hosted desktops.

Hosted desktops are also similar to locally-installed Windows desktops. In a way that each one is dedicated to a single user. Which also means that user retains all of the user’s applications, files, and settings even after the user logs out.

The ways in hosted desktops satisfy the IT requirements of law firms include:

They’re compatible with almost any application.

You can install any Windows-compatible application on a hosted desktop. Hosted desktops can also be configured to run legacy applications, custom-built proprietary software, and Linux and OS X applications. This allows law firm employees to access all of their files and applications from within a single online workspace.

They can be accessed from anywhere with any device.

Law firm employees can access their hosted desktops from anywhere they can get Internet access, which is pretty much anywhere these days—including courthouses, police stations, clients’ offices and homes, and other law firms.

They can be accessed even from slow Internet connections (hosted desktops usually only need about 100 kbps in bandwidth) and from 3G or 4G mobile data networks. This allows law firm employees to remain optimally productive and access all of their files and applications no matter where they are.

They’re more secure than physical desktop PCs and they’re protected and backed up by the hosting provider.

Hosted desktops are protected from the security breaches and data loss that occur when end-user devices are lost or stolen since their data remains on the hosting provider’s servers at all times.

In addition, most hosting providers protect their hosted desktops with advanced IT security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, gateway antivirus, IDS/IPS, and enterprise-grade spam and content filtering They also regularly perform backups of their hosted desktops.

Another advantage of hosted desktops is that some hosting providers (Ironorbit among them) will include comprehensive management and support services. This applies most especially for law firms that don’t have their own in-house IT employees,

Services such as performance and security monitoring, patch management, and 24x7x365 help desk support. Hosted desktops for law firms allow employees to focus on their work, rather than on their IT.

Why Small Businesses Should Select Hosted Desktops: Increased Reliability, Security, and More

Hosted desktops are basically Windows desktop operating systems that you access via the Internet. You can do anything with them that you can do with a locally-installed desktop OS. For example, running applications, storing files, browsing the Internet, and sending and receiving email.

These desktops also retain any changes you make to them. So, when you log out and then log back into your desktop, it will still have all of the same applications, files, and settings on it as when you logged out.

They can be accessed from any Internet-connected device, including the following:

  • Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux PCs
  • Android and iOS tablets
  • Smartphones
  • and Thin Clients

Why You Need a Hosted Desktop Provider

To sign up for hosted desktops, you just have to contact an IT hosting company (like IronOrbit) and ask them to deploy hosted desktops for your business.

The desktop provider will install and host the desktop OSes on its servers. You’ll be billed for these desktops on a monthly, per-user basis.

Some hosting companies, including IronOrbit, include management and support services.  This includes monitoring, security, disaster recovery, and technical support with their hosted desktops by default. Other hosting companies leave it to the customer to manage and support their own desktops.

Why Hosted Desktops Are Perfect For Small Businesses

Many small businesses don’t have a centralized IT infrastructure—they just have some unlinked PCs, a WiFi router, and a printer. And they may also make use of cloud-based solutions such as SaaS CRMs, project management software, PoS systems, and online data storage services.

They do this mainly because they don’t see the point of having a formal, centralized IT infrastructure, especially if they are struggling just to stay in business, or because they can’t afford to set one up.

Small businesses that have their own centralized IT infrastructures, meanwhile, usually have a few servers for locally-hosted applications, email, and file storage. And also one or more IT employees to manage and support it all.

An onsite, centralized IT infrastructure like this can make a small business’s IT easier to manage and increase the security of its data and the reliability of its applications, but it can also add tens of thousands of dollars per year in IT hardware and personnel costs.

Here are the main advantages for small businesses of signing up for hosted desktops and using it as their primary, centralized IT infrastructure, instead of either not having a centralized IT infrastructure or maintaining an onsite IT infrastructure:

The main benefits for small businesses signing up for hosted desktops include:

Increased reliability

With hosted desktops, you should be able to access your applications and files at all times. They usually have less downtime than IT assets that small businesses manage or host themselves since most hosting companies have their engineers monitor and maintain them 24x7x365.

Increased security

Hosted desktops are highly secure since they remain on the hosting company’s servers at all times. Which prevents security breaches from occurring as a result of end-user devices that have been lost, stolen, or hacked.

In addition,  the hosting company protects them with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, IDS/IPS, gateway antivirus, enterprise-level spam, and content filters, and 24x7x365 security monitoring.

Compliance with data security and records management regulations

Many hosting companies offer customized hosted desktops that are designed to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX.

If you need to comply with one or more of these regulations, it’s usually much easier to just sign up for a customized, compliant hosted desktop. This is better than to attempt to implement the necessary security or records management measures yourself.  That’s whether an onsite or self-managed IT infrastructure.

Increased accessibility

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

Among other things, this allows small business employees to access their application and files as they move about their workplace.

Employees at a small retailer, for example, can access their ERP or PoS from a tablet as they assist customers in the aisles of the store. There’s no need to run over to a cash register.

And to access their applications and files from anywhere outside the office, including from home or when they’re traveling or performing services “in the field.”

Increased scalability

Hosted desktops can be deployed, scaled up and down, and decommissioned more easily, quickly, and cost-efficiently. It’s the better choice to physical PCs and servers.

You can add or delete hosted desktops to or from an existing hosted desktop deployment. Moreover, you can increase or decrease the amount of vCPUs and RAM. And also manage data storage of each hosted desktop at any time.

The scalability of hosted desktops allows small businesses to quickly add new desktops as they grow and hire new employees. Plus, if the growth turns out to be temporary, they can just delete the desktop. It means you don’t have to remain stuck with unused hardware and software.

Lower IT costs

Hosted desktops cost less than the typical IT setups of small businesses because they don’t require any long-term investments in expensive hardware or the hiring of any additional IT employees.

They can be accessed from low-cost devices such as thin clients and old or refurbished PCs. They’re also easy to access using employees’ personal devices. Also, they’re better protected from expensive security breaches and downtime and data loss incidents.

Less IT management hassles

If your hosted desktop provider includes management and support services with its desktops by default then you obviously don’t have to worry about managing and supporting your hosted desktops yourself.

The hosting company will maintain the performance, security, and reliability of your desktops for you; regularly back up all of your data; and help you troubleshoot any problems that you have with your desktops.