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.

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Countdown has begun…Bye Bye Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003

Nearly time to say goodbye to Windows Server 2003…

The support for Windows Server 2003 will be ending on 14th July 2015 and with the discontinuation of SBS it seems Microsoft customers have to go down the Office365 or Windows Server 2012 route. With the end of support in less than 12 months, companies need to pick a path because staying with Server 2003 is not a good idea.

The main issue with staying with Windows Server 2003 or any out of support product is the fact bug fixes will stop and you will not receive anymore updates and patches. This means any new Server 2003 vulnerabilities will not be addresses, which could become a massive security risk.

To protect the network more investment of time and money will be needed to strengthen the security of the network i.e. intrusion detection and upgrading firewalls. So, in the long run moving to Windows Server 2012 might be more cost-efficient.

For some sectors running unsupported products it may mean the IT network will not meet the necessary legal and regulatory requirements. The outdated product on the network can also become unstable, cause increased downtime and a decrease in productivity.

There are really 3 main options for those who are currently on Windows Server 2003: stick with it, perform an upgrade on the existing hardware or migrate and upgrade – which could be the best option if the current hardware is several years old.

For upgrades, migrations planning and deployment as well as proactive IT services information and advice please contact us today on 0845 603 5552.

Nearly Time to Say Farewell to Microsoft SBS…

It shocked the community when Microsoft announced the discontinuation of the widely used ‘Small Business Server’ (SBS) range. Windows SBS 2011 Standard will be the final offering within the range and is available through OEM channel until 31st December 2013.

It is a sad time for many, as SBS is a popular solution that enabled many businesses to build a comprehensive platform that is robust and cost-efficient. Microsoft has made this decision based on the computing trend of small businesses, moving in the direction of cloud computing for applications and services such as emails, online backup and business tools. 

Although the trend is moving towards the cloud, not everyone supports it in the business community and many still want their data sitting on a server in a place that they can pinpoint.

Microsoft has released the ‘Windows Server 2012’ range to try and fill the gap SBS will leave in the market. It has 3 versions – Essentials, Standard and Enterprise but, unlike the SBS range it does not include Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint and would have to be purchase separately. Although the product is not necessary as simple to set up as SBS if set up correctly, businesses can still manage an IT infrastructure from one box or you could consider moving to the cloud.

For advice or for more information on the discontinuation of SBS or the cloud please contact us today.

Benefits of Server Virtualization

Virtualization comes in different forms where each one would offer businesses a range of benefits. By far ‘Server Virtualization’ amongst SME’s is the most popular because it allows companies to consolidate existing physical servers using virtualization products such as VMWare and Windows Virtual Server.

Some of the Benefits of Server Virtualization includes:-

  • Reduce capital expenses – by decreasing the number of physical servers, you will reduce hardware maintenance costs, energy consumption and save space.
  • Maximizing use of existing resources – Virtualization makes server administration more efficient, agile and less time consuming.
  • By segregating applications into their own ‘virtual server’ it can prevent the applications from affecting another application when upgrades or changes needed to be made.
  • Faster data backup and recovery as image-based backup and recovery will be faster than tradition methods.

By just virtualizing your IT network servers if can offer a more robust and flexible IT network environment compared to a physical infrastructure. For consultation on virtualizing your IT environment please feel free to contact us

The Importance of Proactive IT Maintenance for businesses

With the fast-moving nature of technology, IT has fast become an integral part of organisations infrastructure; it has enabled us to communicate more effectively, increase productivity and efficiency. However, we cannot always know whether there are potential problems with our IT systems until they either crash or perform poorly!

So, the question is should it be reactive support or should we adopt a proactive management approach to IT within our organisations?

Proactive management is now the preferential route, as it can help minimise the occurrence of downtime and issues with IT systems. Issues can be resolved pre-emptively and more quickly, and even remotely before they affect the end user experience and productivity.

With a break-fix approach, IT disruptions can occur at any time and the level of downtime can be unpredictable – potentially causing loss in revenue, productivity and in some cases affect brand reputation.

The movement towards this proactive approach is driven by the increasing demand for IT services from users and with key technology trends such as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and ‘Flexible working’, maximum uptime and 24/7 access is now expected as the norm and working 9 to 5 is a thing of the past.

Whether outsourced, or in-house, ‘Proactive IT management’ can include the continuous monitoring of network resources, routine assessment of hardware and software performance and the daily management tasks and practices of users, to help ensure the network is operating at the optimum level.

When organisations have limited resources to invest in IT, cloud technology has helped alleviate the conundrum. As new technology such as cloud, has enabled Managed Service Providers such as Netshield to provide organisations with secure computing services via its NetHost brand – A service that offers a flexible and robust IT infrastructure, cost-efficiency and dramatically reduced IT issues.

So, whether the IT is in-house, or outsourced, organisations should see their IT infrastructure as the mechanical components of a car; it needs regular inspections, checks and also protection. By looking after it proactively, it will afford a better service, with reduced likelihood of break down and with consistent performance.

If your business is considering proactive IT services and would like more information, give us a call on 0845 603 5552 today for more information.