Microsoft Azure – How it can increase productivity for businesses

Microsoft Azure is a scalable and powerful cloud platform that can help businesses improve productivity and save money. It offers both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), supporting a range of operating systems, languages, tools and frameworks. Organisations can easily build, deploy and manage applications and services with a few clicks. Check out the video to find out more.

Top 10 Advantages of Cloud in 2 minutes!

As discussed in an earlier post Cloud Computing has its disadvantages and may not be suitable for every organisation. However, cloud is still going strong, with many businesses opting for a hybrid IT environment with a mixture of on-premise and hosted cloud technologies.

If you are still undecided and want to know more about the benefits of cloud, check them out here in this short video:-

Why moving to a hosted desktop service is beneficial

Moving to a Virtual Desktop environment helps unify and centralise network management for IT administrators and empowers employees to work remotely using their choice of devices. However, to migrate from a physical desktop to a virtual desktop environment can be costly and time consuming due to the hardware, software and expertise required to install and manage it. A simpler way would be to opt for a ‘Hosted Virtual Desktop service’ from a services provider and here are a few reasons why…

Reduce costs
Helps convert capital expenditure to operational expenditure, there will be some software and hardware costs but, it will be considerably less than implementing it yourself. VDI infrastructures are flexible, it can be scaled up as well as down – the service provider can add new user accounts within minutes. Desktop bandwidth consumption will also reduce as all the processing work is done at the core of the network (at the service provider’s datacentre) – so, existing WAN bandwidth will be able to support more branch users.

Manageability
It consolidates, standardised, cut hardware costs and centralise management where administrators can monitor and maintain the desktops all in one place. VDI streamlines day-to-day management, new application deployments and operation system upgrades. Choosing a hosted service means businesses will not need to worry about the management of the network, as the service provider will manage it all.

Device and Location Independence
Remote WorkingIt provides mobility to the workforce – allowing users to access corporate data and applications from any device securely and efficiently. It offers location independence so, employees can work from anywhere with an internet connection and the service provider can efficiently and effectively provide remote IT support to users. So, workers will not be tied to a physical place of work, when ‘working’ and it will assist in decreasing branch office energy costs, required desk space etc.

Flexibility
Whether it is the Cloud-Hosted option or an internal Virtual Desktop Infrastructure it offers flexibility and scalability. Virtual desktops can be added or removed with a few clicks on a global scale and monthly costs can be adjusted accordingly. Setting up new branch offices worldwide can also be done quickly using this solution. Opting for a hosted VDI, monthly costs often includes remote IT user support and any changes required you will just have to call the service provider, the monthly costs will also be adjusted accordingly to reflect the number of users, saving you time.

Security
Employees can work anywhere in a secure manner, as workers are granted access toSecure Remote Working Netshield corporate networks and all data that is amended or created is stored in a central location. This also makes disaster recovery planning simpler as it can be implemented and managed easily and promptly. Service providers will ensure all security configurations, user policies and data backup procedures are always up-to-date which all helps to lower the risk of data loss.

Conclusion
Virtual Desktops can help lower the total cost of ownership for organisations while providing a robust and scalable infrastructure. Hosted services removes the barriers to adoption and eliminates the cost and complexities of deploying and managing desktops while providing flexibility to end-users. This type of hosted service also allows SMEs, to gain competitive advantage and adopt to market changes quickly without having to worry about the IT infrastructure capacity and management.

For more information on Hosted VDI services contact Netshield today.

Ability to work anywhere, with a virtual desktop environment (disclaimer internet required)

With technology constantly changing, maintaining the complexities of a physical desktop infrastructure can be labour-intensive and costly depending on the size of the IT estate. Employees need to work remotely, require out of hours access to corporate data and applications, increases the demands on the network. Changes in customer expectations and the era of the 24/7 marketplace also adds to the demands. So, it is necessary to review IT infrastructures regularly to ensure they are supporting the organisational needs and meeting the requirements.

Bye bye physical desktops?

One of the ways to save time and money on migrations and management is to just get rid of the desktops (not literally) and move to a ‘Virtual Desktop Infrastructure’ or VDI.
Imagine you have an estate of over 100 physical desktops and they all need to be upgraded to a new operating system, you would need to work on each desktop individually to upgrade it, taking up a lot of your time. But, if you utilise VDI technology you would only need to upgrade it in one place and deploy it to the rest of the estate.

VDI repurposes PC devices into thin clients and transforms a traditional desktop Hosted Virtual Desktopsenvironment into a low footprint virtualised environment, offering flexibility and scalability allowing employees the ability to access their desktop or corporate user account remotely, without the worry of data confidentiality or unmanaged devices on the network. It also unifies and centralises management where IT administrators can manage users and applications with ease.

Implemented internally it will require expertise in order to plan, deploy and managed the virtualised infrastructure. It would also require upfront capital expenditure for things like storage, thin clients, virtualisation software etc. Another option is to use a Cloud-Hosted Virtual Desktop environment provided by a Managed Services Provider (MSP), it will provide all the VDI benefits, but with less hassle or you could employ a provider to carry out the migration for the organisation.

For more information on VDI or Hosted Virtual Desktop services please contact us today

10 New Features of Windows 10

‘One product family, one platform, one store’ is Microsoft’s new motto. The new operating system will run on mobile phones, tablets, laptops and PCs; it will be intuitive, adapting to users devices to provide a positive cross-platform experience. It will also have a few new or enhanced features to help improve user experience and productivity.

Here’s a quick summary:-

  1. Xbox One – for all those Xbox gamers out there, the new OS has cross platform play – allowing all your favourite games to be stream to other Windows 10 devices!XboxOne integration with Windows 10
  2. Communication – Skype will be installed as default. Every Windows 10 user will have access to messaging, calling and video without much set up. In some respects it is Microsoft answer to Apple’s iMessage service but, with Skype’s ability to work on multi-platforms and operating systems makes it the one to watch communication tool in the next few years. skype windows 10
  3. Welcome back Start Menu – it looks similar to the old start menu but, with some features taken from Windows 8.1 Start Screen like the live resizeable tiles, Microsoft just decided to merge them together. windows10_start-menu
  4. Snap-Assist – Snap feature was in Windows 7 and 8 but, it got a little upgrade in this OS! It has been extended to allow up to 4 windows snapped at a time, you can just drag and drop into position. When you snap a window, the new ‘Snap Assist’ will pop-up and display a thumbnail list of open windows for you to snap. Handy, and great for those larger screens!snap windows 10
  5. Voice Control – Wish you can say commands to your desktop like with your smartphone? Microsoft will bring ‘Cortana’, a voice-controlled digital assistant to desktop computers. Users will be able to search files, launch documents, and send emails, by just providing instructions – making multi-tasking a lot easier.Microsoft Cortana Windows 10
  6. Universal Apps – in line with Microsoft’s vision they will be introducing ‘Universal Apps’, applications that will adapt to different user devices i.e. Office with Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be included in Windows 10 phones.Office Universal App Windows 10
  7. Touch Support for Office Apps – The new releases of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will have touch functions integrated i.e. Outlook swiping entry to the left equals delete (similar to iOS).Touch Support Office Windows 10
  8. New Browser – aka ‘Project Spartan’ will replace ‘Internet Explorer’; features include PDF support, a mode that improves the design of extensive articles and a note taker, that allows the user to scribble on the page and share it via social networks. Cortana support is also integrated into Project Spartan, allowing it to pull appropriate data together at your command. Project Spartan Windows 10
  9. Notification Centre – Similar to smartphones notifications and alerts will be in a centralised place. Users will just have to click the bottom right of the task bar and all the notifications for apps, new emails to Windows update security alerts will appear.Windows 10-Notification-Center
  10. New Photo App – universal app that will run across the different platforms gathering together all the images, cleverly removing any duplicates and storing it in one place. Auto Enhancement can also be activated, adjusting things like brightness and red eye removal.windows-10-photos-app

Although certain Windows 10 features are not ‘new’ but just tweaks it seems to be a good combination of its predecessors and it is a step in the right direction for Microsoft one platform and product family goal. If you would like more information on Microsoft products, upgrades or our IT services please feel free to contact us.