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An Introduction to Cloud Computing Part 5: Hosted Desktops

While it’s true that hosted desktops make up a part of SaaS, they are such a popular choice that we thought that they were worth an extra mention. In fact, SaaS in general is the most popular cloud platform overall, as it offers a great deal of flexibility to its users. Email for example is used in the cloud by the majority of people now, in one form or another. While it’s nice to have Outlook or Thunderbird installed in order to quickly access stored mail, it’s even better to have the assurance that they are stored in the cloud in the event of a disaster such as a hard drive failing. Add to this the flexibility of email providers such as Gmail, which allows you to use your own domain as well as store all of your mail online, and it’s something that most people hardly acknowledge as being a part of the cloud, thanks to its familiarity. It’s a pretty good bet that this is just what we’re going to see with desktops too. By having the entire user desktop and the apps that they use hosted in the cloud, businesses have a great deal of flexibility and scalability.

Great for start-ups

Choosing a hosted (sometimes referred to as virtual) desktop means that start-ups can concentrate their cash on what’s needed the most. In the past this has involved a big spend when it comes to technology for both hardware and software at the beginning. Even the smallest of businesses have come to rely on IT to run their company in some respect, even if it’s just the use of email and spreadsheets. This costs money, even if you’re just talking one machine as it will inevitably need to be backed up and serviced. For SMEs, setting up an entire company network can cost a small fortune and choosing a hosted desktop can help to reduce this. Businesses can save in a number of areas:

Capital expenditure: this can be reduced significantly as hosted desktop don’t require much computing power in most cases and so older machines or thin clients can be used

Software licensing: there’s no need to pay out a lump sum for software licensing as this is paid for on a monthly basis

Staff: the ability to work from anywhere means that staff costs can often be reduced, saving them on commuting as well

Anywhere, any time

One of the best aspects of using hosted desktops is that they can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and the right permissions. This means that companies can employ remote staff, reducing the need and costs associated with office-based staff. This also means that workers that tend to be on the road a lot, such as the sales team, can connect to the office whilst they are out in the field. This dramatically increases productivity as the employee no longer has to return to the business premises in order to do their paperwork, it can all be done on the fly. This gives sales teams more flexibility, allows them to manage more accounts and affords them the opportunity to close a deal with immediate effect, which is turn gives a better conversion rate. Add to this that the cloud and hosted desktop increase collaboration, which also increases productivity and it’s easy to see how a company can be running like a well-oiled machine in no time. This is a proven model, which is helping businesses large and small all over the world to work more efficiently than ever before. Large enterprises, with offices scattered around the country, or even the globe, can also easily collaborate across offices and even people’s home-offices in order to get

User experience

This is something that has become increasingly important across the whole of technology, as any web or application designer will tell you. With regard to hosted desktops, this means that the user can set up their desktop just as they would when working locally on a machine. Desktop wallpapers, icons, shortcuts, all of these can be configured by the user to suit their individual tastes. Best of all, they take it with them wherever they go and they will have the same experience on every machine they use to connect to their work desktop. This is ideal for many users as while it’s true to say that the overall working population is more tech savvy these days, they are still the end user that often needs technical support. By giving a seamless user experience across multiple devices, the use of tech support should be reduced and once again, this means less cost to the company. Hosted desktop can be used across a wide variety of devices, including tablets and mobile phones. As you can see, there are plenty of advantages to using a hosted desktop, with not much on the downside except for the odd application that won’t run on them that require a lot of power, such as CAD. However, for the most part, these kinds of specialist uses will need machines that are of a high specification and so are reasonably specialist. For the most part, the majority of businesses will be able to use the technology with no problems at all.