When your virtual desktop is hosted, it is instantly accessible from any computer or device with a working internet connection. This means that no matter where you are on the globe, your desktop will look, act, and function the same as it would from your office. Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet device, laptop or desktop computer, your software and information will run with full functionality just the way you’re used to.
With desktop hosting, all of the offices of your business or organization are connected and able to access and edit information in real-time. This eliminates confusion, minimizes errors, and unifies the office providing a platform to maximize efficiency. For companies with multiple offices spread out across the city, state, or country, a virtual desktop brings them all together to work as one. No longer will geographic separation affect your offices or clients when you choose to adopt virtual desktop hosting from a provider.
Once your desktop is deployed, you are given the ability to add or remove users and programs at any time. This allows for infinite growth and minimizes large upfront costs. It also gives you the opportunity to use an application on a month-to-month basis, paying for it only during the months it is needed. Furthermore, all software upgrades and patches are done behind the scenes and regularly updated, alleviating the need for you or your IT department to manage it. If a question or issue arises, the virtual desktop hosting provider takes care of it.
Virtual desktops are saving your companies and organizations time and money while boosting productivity and keeping their offices energy efficient. No longer will you need to hire experts to manage expensive and complicated servers or computer systems. Leave that to hosting providers to manage in the cloud.
The SAP software landscape is vital to businesses of all sizes. More and more companies are finding that they just can’t afford the continual cost of server upkeep and hardware maintenance required to operate this powerful application suite. So the question many professionals are asking internally is “when is it time to move to SAP cloud hosting?”
There are a multitude of things to consider when choosing whether to continue upkeep on in-house servers or switch to SAP hosting from a cloud computing provider. The following is a small sampling of factors to consider.
COST OF IT SERVICES
Your IT department at one point purchased an expensive set of hardware to manage your SAP environment but over time it has become unstable and needs a serious upgrade and/or overhaul. This is an expensive endeavor, and the frustrating thing is that it will never cease. It’s a constant and costly cycle of server maintenance and upgrades required to keep things operational as time passes and your company grows and expands.
SAP hosting offers your organization access to state-of-the-art server environments at a low monthly fee. Software hosting providers manage large scale servers and sub out their server space to many different companies and organizations. Because of this scalable IT model, it becomes much more affordable for all businesses involved. Running this equipment and keeping it functional in-house requires hefty hardware purchases and a dedicated IT staff which can be quite costly. SAP hosting offers a way out of this by moving the burden of server upkeep to a third-party.
With in-house servers, your organization has a limit to how much it can do before needing to completely overhaul systems and hardware. As business increases, your company needs room to grow. SAP hosting offers a scalable service that can expand at an even pace with your business. With SAP in the cloud you will only pay for what you need. When your needs expand, so can your SAP hosting services in a quick and easy fashion. No more needing to purchase and implement an additional server system to run your new office branch, instead you will simply add users to your existing SAP hosting package for a small monthly fee.
DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND SECURITY
SAP hosting offers a peace-of-mind that is unobtainable by many SMBs and organizations running the powerful enterprise software suite. Data protection and risk is constantly on the minds of executives and IT professionals on every level, as the information technology era we live in is hinged on the operation of important applications. SAP hosting alleviates this concern by providing a level of security that is unmatched.
Only the top 2% of large businesses in the world are able to afford the levels of data protection and security that certified hosting providers can offer. With HIPAA compliant and expert engineers who are tasked with nothing more than monitoring your data 24/7, your organization can rest easy knowing their data is safe. Backups are done in a redundant fashion and data centers are run with backup generators so that power failure can never disrupt your office. The level of security with an offsite SAP hosting provider is unparalleled, and illustrates one of the key advantages to software hosting in the cloud.
This is but a brief list of the benefits that SAP hosting is offering organizations and businesses of all sizes. Infinite expansion, unlimited support, expert engineers utilizing state-of-the-art server security protocols, data backed up constantly, enterprise-class servers at your finger tips; all of this for a fraction of the cost. SAP hosting offers an excellent example of how software in the cloud can benefit businesses and professionals.
Cloud computing is growing rapidly. Businesses are moving to the cloud at an ever-increasing rate for many reasons. The agile ability to access applications from anywhere, anytime is a huge advantage for professionals. Dramatic cost savings are achieved by eliminating expensive hardware and software purchases, upkeep, and IT staff funding. Budgets are even improved by a reduction in overall power and utility bills when switching to the cloud. Many companies who have yet to make the switch are wondering if it will be worthwhile for them to consider.
As more and more businesses adopt cloud hosting services, studies and surveys are being conducted to determine satisfaction rates. Software as a Service (Saas) implementation is a huge decision for a company to make and therefore professionals are looking for the opinions of others who have already made the move. TechRepublic recently conducted a study of existing SaaS users, and the results were staggering. 91% of professionals surveyed report that their cloud computing solutions have either met or exceeded expectations.
These results are quite encouraging for businesses of all sizes who are considering making the move to the cloud. Software hosting is proving to be just as advertised and is benefiting businesses across the board. This new data should help professionals make the decision to adopted a hosted software platform for their company’s applications and data.
Microsoft’s recent launch of Office 13, the popular home and business productivity suite, has shown that the software industry giant is recognizing the growing trend towards virtual desktops and cloud computing. Office 13 is available as a stand-alone one time purchase or as a monthly subscription service. The monthly subscription services is entitled “Office 365″ and carries a slightly different feature set than the Office 13 package currently available. Although these packages vary greatly from the feature set of a virtual desktop, they do share some similarities.
With Office 13, users are able to install the software suite on up to 5 machines of their choosing. Owners of Office 13 are then given 7GB of Microsoft’s SkyDrive which is a cloud storage utility. This means that users can access and edit their files from any of the 5 machines with the Office 13 software without having to transfer the files themselves. This concept proves Microsoft is clearly recognizing the power and agility of cloud computing. However, a limit of 5 machines is not quite the anytime, anywhere access a virtual desktop offers.
Office 365 offers users the ability to operate their office productivity suite in an environment slightly more akin to a virtual desktop. This service is offered as a monthly service. Again users are able to install the full software suite on only up to 5 machines. But, instead of the 7GB SkyDrive storage, subscribers are given an additional 20GB of storage space on the cloud. The key difference is that users are also able to open their files from any machine or device they have full access to, even after meeting their 5 machine quota.
Beyond the 5-machine installation minimum, the subscription service allows users to download any particular software they would like to use onto another machine using nothing more than an internet connection. They can then open their files from their cloud storage, edit and save back to the cloud allowing the updated files to be accessed from anywhere again in the future. When the user closes the software in this scenario, the program is instantly and automatically uninstalled from the machine.
This concept, while embracing the basic ideas of cloud computing, is a far cry from the power and agility of a virtual desktop. With virtual desktop hosting, users are able to access their software from any machine without limitations. Virtual desktops do not require you to install Microsoft Office on every machine you access it from, every time you use it. A virtual desktop does require a one-time installation per machine which is a quick and painless process which does not need to be repeated the next time a user wishes to access their hosted desktop. The average install time of virtual desktop software is right around 1-2 minutes; much quicker than the installation of Office 13. On top of that, it seems quite stressful when imagining a scenario where a user forgets to make one minor adjustment to a file only to be forced to download and re-install Office 365 to make said change.
Office 365, while adopting the cloud concept, is clearly a watered-down version of the desktop application which can be made available on a virtual desktop. Virtual desktops allow for a more agile and expandable software solution. A hosted desktop gives you the option to add or remove users or software as you see fit, and adjusts your monthly subscription fee accordingly so you are only paying for what you use. Virtual desktops allow professionals to add other powerful business software suites to their cloud which Office 365 cannot do. Programs like QuickBooks, Peachtree, Sage 50 and others are just mere examples of products which run impeccably in hosted environments. The ability to access these programs while working on a desktop version of Office from any machine, anywhere in the world offers an advantage that is unmatched.
Choosing the right tax software can be a daunting task that may be vital to a CPA’s success as tax season approaches. More and more financial professionals are moving their tax software to the cloud in order to more easily integrate with their client’s accounting software. At the same time it provides opportunity to work on the road or from home during their busiest time of the year. As CPAs make the decision to adopt tax software hosting, they must also decide which tax software is best for their firm. The Tax Adviser and Journal of Accountancy conducts a survey each year including data from professionals who have used the various software solutions throughout the previous tax season. These tax software reviews hope to provide a clue as to what works and what doesn’t for professionals in the industry.
The survey results show that most financial professionals are fairly content with the products they have chosen…with a few exceptions. Of the software available, the four most commonly used in the cloud are Lacerte, UltraTax CS, ATX, and Drake. Each application provides slight advantages and disadvantages depending on what your business may need. For example, Lacerte and UltraTax were used primarily by firms that had between 2 and 20 tax preparers on staff. Alternatively, 56% of ATX users were sole practitioners. Drake meanwhile seemed to fall somewhere in the middle, used by both large and small accounting firms.
Of all the factors considered, most professionals were looking primarily at cost and ease of use. Of the four, UltraTax CS and Lacerte were widely regarded as the most expensive tax software solution. However, those two also have the highest retention rate. 94% of UltraTax users say they will use the software again next season, with 84% saying they will continue using the Lacerte software in the upcoming tax season.
Accountants noted that a major selling point was intuitive workflow and ease of use when deciding which software to purchase. Of those reviewed, Lacerte rated the highest in this category. It also rated high in customer support, which is no surprise from a well-established application. However, Drake Tax reviews rated highest in the live support category while also being more affordable than Intuit’s Lacerte Tax.
Although Drake reviews reflect on their high-level of tech support, 29% of current users still claimed they would be switching to a new software suite next season due to Drake’s lack of specific tax forms. The highest rated tax software in this category was ATX with 93% of users saying that they were able to easily find all of the forms needed. UltraTax was next in this category with only 10% of users reporting a lack of necessary forms. Most of the top tier software suites did ultimately rate high in comprehensiveness, nonetheless.
After examining the tax software reviews by professionals in the industry, it seems that most are ultimately satisfied with what they were currently using. The aforementioned market leaders seem to have their own specific advantages and disadvantages that cater to specific firms’ niches, but most of the reviewed software is capable of being hosted in the cloud. Therefore, depending on what your firm needs, the information gathered in the tax software review should serve as a beneficial guide to help find what’s right for your business.
Still have questions about cloud computing or wonder how it works? You probably know more than you think when it comes to cloud-based technology. Working in the cloud simply means that you are utilizing servers, software and technology that is accessed over the internet. If you’re weary about the whole notion, consider how much you already use cloud computing on a day-to-day basis.
Social media, email accounts, banking, photo sharing are more are regularly and often done online. Facebook, for example, isn’t run by software you own or put on your computer. It is accessed with a browser after logging on. This type of “cloud” accessibility allows a person to log in and access their data from anywhere, with any device connected to the internet. The natural evolution of cloud computing has led people to wonder, “why should I have applications and data stored locally so that it can only be used on a single device?” With virtual desktops, it doesn’t have to.
Although there are many ways to use applications online, one of the more popular tactics for businesses and professionals is to deploy virtual desktops in the cloud to access and use their software, data and files from remote locations. This is a desirable way to work because you can use a variety of applications on one platform, the same as you can with a laptop or tower, and also because you can use the full desktop version of an application.
When it comes to computing online, another popular option is to use software on a developer’s website. A good example of this would be QuickBooks Online or Salesforce.com. Unfortunately two issues with using software that is accessed through a website is that you can only use one application at a time per browser, and you are also limited since online application generally don’t have the full functionality of their desktop counterpart. In contrast, a virtual desktop is launched in one window which gives a person access to all of their applications at the same time, on one platform. And since a virtual desktop is deployed with software developed for a desktop computer, you will be using an application with it’s full functionality.
Cloud computing terminology and definitions:
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) – A personal computer which is separate from a physical machine. With hardware, software and management that is located on a central server, virtual desktops allow for remote computing over the internet. Virtualized platforms allow users to work together on a common network with technology that can often not be run on their local machine.
Application Service Provider (ASP) – A business that offers computing resources over a network connection. Software deployment, upgrades, support and security are all built in to the flexible ASP model. The ASP method of deploying software is sometimes referred to as “software as a service” (SaaS) or “on-demand software”.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software and data is centrally located and hosted for users to access over the internet. As a common delivery model, professionals are able to save money by using thin clients to access and use applications to run their business.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Providers supply network, servers, storage and additional services that support the deployment and use of applications. Users have the ability to manage their services in a scalable manner, including the development of software and configurations of their software, over the internet.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Makes computing available over the internet. Most companies that utilize IaaS technology connect over the internet to access computing resources like software and applications. IaaS often consists of companies that use the service instead of running machines and software in-house.
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