You can expect lots of benefits from virtual desktop solutions. For small business, they offer flexibility, scalability and security. They even provide instant and unlimited access to your desktop from anywhere in the world at any time. Sounds good? Read on to see how virtual desktop solutions work, and how they can help take your small business to the next level. But first…
What is a virtual desktop exactly?
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of a virtual desktop, allow us to give you a brief introduction. Normally, your business’s data and files are based in one location – your computer – or in some instances a local server. To access this data you have to log on to that computer. Sounds straightforward. But it becomes problematic when you or your employees are not always in the office. What happens if somebody needs to work on the go?
You’ll need an IT team to help cope with ongoing issues, maintenance and updates too. And providing new computers to new employees can be time consuming too. Worst of all, with your data stored on several local computers, you can easily lose it through theft or damage.
A virtual desktop offers you an alternative to these problems. At Green Cloud, we can host your desktop – with all its data and files – in a “virtual” location. This location is known as the Cloud but, of course, it’s not completely virtual. Your desktop is stored across a large network of servers in big data centres. With this in place, you and your employees can access the desktop on multiple devices from any location with an internet connection. And with this access comes a number of significant benefits to your small business. Here are just a few of the biggies…
1. Anytime, anywhere data
One of the biggest advantages of virtual desktops is the freedom they give your business. This freedom comes in two forms. Firstly, it opens up the possibility of remote working for you and your employees. Remote working is simply working from somewhere other than your typical workplace. It could be working from home, working in transit, or working with clients. However it’s used, remote working has been proven to boost productivity, efficiency, morale and even staff retention.
You might want to give your employees more flexibility, with the option to work from different locations. But what remote working also does is remove the boundaries of your business. You can hire people from anywhere in the world to work remotely on a permanent basis. Whatever the case, a virtual desktop gives you the best resources for remote working, without any compromise on speed, connectivity and productivity. Wherever you or your colleagues are, you can simply log onto the virtual desktop using one of many different types of devices – such as a smartphone or tablet – and begin working.
But more broadly, virtual desktop solutions for small businesses eliminate several day to day problems. No longer do you have to worry about memory sticks or print-outs for meetings. Your information is accessible from any computer. Similarly, you’re no longer held back by unexpected events like rail strikes or bad weather. Normally, you would have to shift your plans around because of these mishaps, but with a virtual desktop, you can work anywhere. Quite simply, a virtual desktop allows your business to run much more smoothly. Check out our post on unrestricted data access if you want to delve deeper.
If you want to know more about remote working, check out our this blog post: Does Your Business Have Anytime, Anywhere Data Access?
2. Saving money with virtual desktop solutions
Small businesses need smart budgeting to survive. Needless to say, if there’s a place you can save money, it’s worth looking into. Virtual desktops save money without the negative results. How? First, a virtual desktop can save your business time. Constant uploading, downloading, searching and forgetting documents is eliminated. Less time wasted, more money saved.
This innovative solution also cuts out the need for unnecessary staff. In the age of digitisation, all business are dependent on IT. This leaves you with a choice: Hire permanent IT staff or pay for external assistance every time you need help. Either way, it means a slice of your budget is dedicated to IT support staff. But there is a third option.
Virtual desktop providers offer full technical support along with their services. This removes the need for in-house or external IT support, repairs and maintenance – and eliminates the associated costs as a result.
And what about energy use? By switching to a virtual desktop, you’re moving several office-powered processes to the service provider. Firstly, this means less costs for you powering the servers. But you might also find yourself saving money from surplus office space and server room rental with your new streamlined operation. Read more about this and all the other money-saving benefits in our post Will a Hosted Desktop Save My Business Money?
3. What is scalability?
Scalability sounds a bit like a techy buzzword. But in fact, it’s very simple. It’s the ability to change in size as a business – or “scale” up or down – without a drop in efficiencies.
In a standard business, growth can be challenging because it’s such a hassle to add new IT facilities – particularly at short notice. Imagine your business secures a new client and needs to add 5 new employees. If that wasn’t time consuming enough, you also have to set up new IT facilities to accommodate the growth. Then if it doesn’t work out? You’re left with a big gap in your budget with nothing to show for it.
But with virtual desktop solutions, your small business is given effortless scalability. You can increase your server capacity on demand, as well as adding new applications or updates where required. Having all of this on demand means your business is ready for anything. But what if things don’t go as planned, and you need to scale back down? That’s just as easy. Any capacity changes can be made immediately, and you only pay for what you need. Have a look at our introduction to scalability for more information.
4. Cutting down for the environment
We’ve touched upon the energy saving benefits of a hosted desktop – and how this can save you money. However, what’s also great about the service is the boost this gives the environment. There are several aspects of virtual desktops which make them a green option for businesses.
First and foremost is the energy used storing data. Purpose-built data centres are the most energy efficient way to store your data. Desktop hosting also consolidates the requirements of several businesses, meaning there is one energy-efficient centre rather than several inefficient machines scattered across different locations.
Another way it saves the environment is by cutting down on computer waste. Normally, if you require software upgrades it seems easier to dispose of old computers and servers. This can happen every few years if you’re not careful. As well as costing you money for expensive new systems, it has a significant impact on the environment.
You can avoid this with a virtual desktop though. From server maintenance to software upgrades, your service provider will take care of everything with no need for extra waste. See for yourself in our review of the environmental benefits of hosted desktops.
Which virtual desktop solutions are right for your small business?
It’s clear that a virtual desktop carries several significant benefits for small businesses. But there’s still one question to be asked: which provider is right for you? The provider you choose depends on your preferences and requirements. They differ across a number of areas:
- Experience – you want a provider that has dealt with similar companies
- Cost – Make sure your provider doesn’t have extra costs for things like migration assistance
- Support – Some providers offer support and assistance around the clock, while others are restricted to 9-5
- Scalability – It’s worth checking how quickly your provider can facilitate your needs for extra capacity
- Software – Not all virtual desktop providers can host the same applications, so you need to check this first
- Security – To be sure your data is secure and backed up, you should check your provider has the ISO27001 certification as well as asking about their recovery process and back-up systems.
This is just a brief overview of the differences. Before you start comparing, it’s definitely worth taking a look at our top questions to ask when you’re choosing a virtual desktop provider.
Try for free
If you’re interested in virtual desktop solutions for your small business, our 14-day free trial can help you decide whether the service is right for you. It will allow you to familiarise yourself with the virtual environment and understand what you need from the service, with no obligation to subscribe permanently.
For more on why you should claim your free trial, check out our 11 free trial benefits. Alternatively, if you’re already decided, you can use our online form to sign up for a free trial on any of our Cloud services.
If you have any questions, get in touch today.