As we wind down our Cloud Computing 101 series we will take a look at hosted desktops and servers. These are basically virtual computers in the cloud, they look and feel like a regular computer, but the hardware and software is located in a data center. You can access your hosted desktops or server anywhere and anytime over secure Internet connections from existing Windows or Mac computers or any devices that supports the latest browsers. Some cloud providers use their own connection client (software) whereas others use standard programs like RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). Hosted desktops offer all the benefits of anywhere access, better reliability, superior data security but lower cost and reduced complexity at the same time.
This is a new model, a new way of thinking about hardware and software. Hosted desktops feature a shift from a personal computer being defined as a physical piece of hardware, to a model where any browser—large screen or small—becomes an instant gateway to your software applications, documents, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, photos, etc.
So why would you want to move to a cloud desktop? Well while stating the obvious – access to your computer from anywhere and anytime, you don’t have to worry about hardware, software, updates, patches and breakdowns in the traditional sense. What you get is:
– Peace of Mind—Your data is stored in a secure and fortified data center. Should your local office suffer from a disaster, your hosted virtual desktop network will still be accessible via any internet connection.
– Control Expenses—One of the best hosted desktop and server features are that in a couple of clicks you can scale up/down the number of seats you need, including RAM, hard drive and applications. Your commitment is on a month to month basis and is only as long as your business needs require.
– 24/7/365 Accessibility—With hosted virtual desktops and servers the mantra of “Anytime, Anywhere” becomes more than just a cliché or buzzword. These systems enable you to have access to your applications, documents and data from anywhere. You are never more than a browser away from the office.
– Improve Cash Flow—You will be able to forecast your month to month billing and know it is constant. No longer will software upgrades and purchases have a negative impact on cashflow. Budgeting is easier.
– Maximize Employee Satisfaction and Retention—Imagine the loyalty you’ll earn when a parent staying home with a sick child doesn’t have to take a vacation day. In addition, this type of solution could be the difference between retaining a key employee via a part-time work from home arrangement and having that employee resign or take and extended leave of absence in order to take care of an extenuating family circumstance.
– Secure File Sharing—Your team, regardless of geographic location, can transfer files to the shared drive within your virtual network. Sharing is safe and secure, which is something email often is not.
– Data Security—Complete daily back-ups and enterprise grade firewall protection keeps your hosted virtual desktops and servers safe and secure. Your connection is always via SSL.
– Reduce Hardware Expenses—With your hosted solution doing the CPU heavy lifting the client PC that you use as an access point becomes a “dumb terminal.” As a result, the need to purchase new hardware in order to run the latest software becomes far less urgent.
– Increase Productivity—The beauty of hosted desktops and servers are their universal accessibility. Whether the browser is in the office, on the road, or at home, employee productivity benefits from the flexibility of being able to work where and when they are able. As well – servers can be used in various way like hosting websites, web applications, databases and much more.
– The Tech Support Advantage—Most cloud providers offer free tech support with their products, for instance here at Raven when a customer purchases a hosted desktop with Office 2010, we become your tech support for all product, therefore there is no need to spend your hard-earned money on additional support. It is now free.
In Summary – using hosted desktops and servers can save you upwards of 80% of acquisition and management cost. You have built-in access to free tech support and of course access to your computer(s) anytime. Image you are at your customer location and you need to access an important file or presentation on your computer. You can now login to your hosted desktop from their computer and obtain the required file or presentation whenever needed, there is no need to postpone or delay.
In closing – is a hosted desktop or server right for you? Only you know that answer, but if you need fast, reliable access to your data and information from anywhere and anytime, you may want to look into this feature. I personally use my hosted desktop exclusively for work and my notebook now holds only my personal things. I am currently writing this blog post on my hosted desktop.
If you would like, we provide a Free Technical Assessment, this can be beneficial to new and startup companies that are not sure where to start.