Why SMBs Should Consider Virtual Desktops

Once considered a technology accessible only to large enterprises, virtual desktops and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have been considered out of reach for many small and medium sized business due to cost constraints and lack of technical expertise. However, there is a real need for business of all sizes to have the increased mobility and productivity and cost-savings benefits delivered by desktop virtualization and technology vendors like Citrix and Kavisa are answering the call.

Why should SMBs virtualize?
Reduced PC-refresh budgets – You can save up to 60% over deploying expensive PC replacements by using a VDI infrastructure like VDI-in-a-box.

Cut desktop costs - VDI lets businesses consolidate PC patching and management, reducing PC replacement costs by lengthening the time between PC refresh cycles.

Work anywhere on any device -  Workers are no longer tied to the office. Use Windows PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablet computers to access your personalized desktop anytime you need need it.

Reduce downtown – Virtual desktops provide the ability to manage service levels via policies and a central desktop that is always available, even when a user’s specific PC is not.

Reduced support costs – Administrators manage a grid of VDI-in-a-Box servers centrally with an intuitive wizard-driven interface. Automated policy-based management cuts desktop support costs.

Return on investment (ROI) and affordability – Upfront investment is minimal. VDI-in-a-box delivers high availability without additional infrastructure, cuts out the need for the shared storage, high-speed interconnects and multiple management servers that VDI typically requires. Start small with one or two servers and grow as your needs evolve by simply adding more servers to the grid. No re-design is required.

We invite you to lean more about virtual desktops at our webinar on Thursday, October 27 at 1 PM EST featuring Citrix VDI-in-a-box. Register or learn more HERE.

iPad Productivity Tips for Remote Workers

A recent study by Model Metric claimed that 78% of businesses surveyed plan to deploy tablets for business use by the end of 2013. The challenge for businesses is keeping mobile staff productive while away from the office  — all those iPad apps can sure be distracting. A blog post from WebWorkerDaily lists 7 tips to keep mobile iPad workers productive. The key: Take control of the iPad before it takes control of you.

  1. Control the apps
    Keep work apps and entertainment apps separate.  Virtualization can keep the distracting apps out of reach by providing access to a completely separate virtualized environment for work. Remote workers can boot-up and get secure access to work-related iPad apps and other data, removing personal apps from temptation.
  2. Use a Keyboard
    A Bluetooth keyboard makes data entry much more efficient for remote workers who do a lot of typing on the job.
  3. Get Reliable Wireless
    Mobile workers who use the iPad need a reliable data connection. Shop for a plan that meshes with type of access your mobile workers use and works everywhere your mobile workers go.
  4. Battery Backup
    A dead battery will not help increase productivity, especially if you’ve forgotten your power cord or run out of juice on an airplane — carry a backup.
  5. Find My iPad
    The free Find My iPad app from MobileMe will help recover lost iPads or remotely wipe the device to protect sensitive data. Be sure it is enabled every time the iPad leaves the building. Virtualization is another excellent way to protect sensitive work-related data, however it doesn’t track a missing iPad. Use both to insure maximum data security.
  6. Passcode Lock
    Set up the iPad to require a four-digit passcode upon waking. This is done in the settings app> General> Passcode Lock. For greater security, users can set the code to contain both numbers and letters.
  7. iPad as Communications Hub
    Transform the iPad into a communications hub by using it for voice chat and phone calls. To do this you will need a quality headset. With the addition of Cisco’s WebEx app for the iPad 2, you’ll be fully equipped for video conferencing.

Need help securing employees’ iPads for work use. Contact ACE IT Solutions. We can help you deploy iPad solutions that keep your workers produtive while securing critical business-related data and applications.

Apple iPad, Tablets Poised for Widespread Enterprise Adoption

It is hard to believe the iPad has only been around for a little over a year. In that year, the tablet computer has had a massive effect on personal computing. A new study shows that the iPad is poised to do the same for enterprise businesses.

According to the study commissioned by Model Metrics, 78 percent of businesses surveyed plan to deploy tablets by the end of 2013. Eighty-three percent of those businesses plan on deploying the Apple iPad. Google’s Android tablet ranked a far second at 34 percent, and 14 percent plan to deploy Windows-based tablets. Only 20% of businesses surveyed claim they have no plans to deploy tablet computers.

Enterprise applications in high demand for iPads include sales force automation (47%), service desk (35%), expense submission (21%), ERP (20%), and financial (17%). Other enterprise apps include human resources and purchasing.  Though the businesses surveyed may not have officially deployed the tablets, 72% of the enterprises surveyed claim that the tablets are already in use, 41% of those purchased by employees.  The study also concluded that, though many businesses plan a widespread deployment, almost 50% have no adoption strategy in place.

Is your business ready to deploy the iPad? Contact ACE IT Solutions to ensure a smooth and secure deployment.

(About the study: Data was pulled from a survey of 448 business executives, business managers, IT executives, IT managers, and IT professionals from a wide range of company sizes and industry verticals, conducted online by Dimensional Research for Model Metrics in April 2011. Read more here.)

Rising Gas Prices: Energy Saving Tips for SMBs

With gas prices soaring toward $4 per gallon in the wake of the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan, American businesses are seeking ways to cut their energy costs. High gas prices affect more than just costs at the pump, any industry that involves transportation — this includes anyone who drives to work or for work — will feel the impact.

Technology often offers creative ways to save energy as high gas prices cut a bigger chunk out of the bottom line. Here are a few technology-based energy saving tips that will lessen the impact of rising energy costs on your business.

Smart Phone Apps
Find the cheapest gas prices in a hurry. Gas buddy is a free smartphone app that will show you the cheapest gas prices wherever you are. Mapquest also offers a cheap gas finder that can be accessed via smartphone app or internet browser. Simply enter your ZIP code and Mapquest will map out the gas stations with the lowest gas prices.

Virtualization
Desktop virtualization (VDI) can help organizations satisfy users’ needs for mobility and flexibility while relieving pressure on their IT provider to manage cost, security and compliance. With VDI, employees can securely access their work data from anywhere — including from home or a remote office — saving big-time on transportation costs.  Since VDI makes use of “thin clients devices” such as smartphones, iPads, and laptops,  businesses realize cost savings related to energy consumption and hardware maintenance. Virtualization also makes it easy for businesses to deploy cheap-gas finding apps to all employees’ devices in a snap.

Cloud Computing
During challenging economic times more businesses are turning to cost-effective IT solutions to expand the functionality and capabilities of their existing network infrastructure. The Cloud is proving itself as a powerful computing model that provides cost-savings benefits and increased agility, flexibility, and uptime. With cloud computing, businesses do not host equipment internally, saving significantly on energy costs. Energy consumption is also reduced because third-party data centers are designed for energy efficiency. By migrating to the cloud, businesses can save money on infrastructure costs and increase productivity though the ability to access their important data at anytime, from anywhere, allowing employees to save gas by working from a remote location.

ACE IT Solutions can deliver best-of-breed technology-based energy saving solutions that are secure, cost-effective and flexible enough to meet the specific needs of any business. Contact us to learn more.

Read our whitepapers for more information about energy saving technologies:
Evaluating the Cost & Security Benefits of Cloud Computing

Is Desktop Virtualization Right for Your Business?

Mobile Virtualization – VDI for Your Smartphone

Smartphones, iPhones, iPads, tablets and Androids — employees’ personal mobile devices are playing a key role in increasing employee productivity, at the same time, they are a major pain point for businesses’ IT departments that are charged with data security and device management.  Some IT experts propose that mobile virtualization might be the anecdote to that pain.

Data security and device management has been a major barrier to adoption as personal mobile devices used as a business tool.  The sticking point is that employees’ personal mobile devices are usually more advanced than the standardized devices provided by their companies. As a result, workers must lug around several separate devices for work and play.

A recent article in CRN discussed mobile virtualization as the ideal solution to the user convenience / IT security dilemma, with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as the driving force. CRN cites a recently unveiled mobile virtualization partnership between VMware and LG as a sign of where things are headed. LG has plans to start producing Android smartphones pre-loaded with VMware’s Mobile Virtualization Platform — embedded software that puts the mobile phone’s operating systems, applications, and data into a virtual machine that is separate from the underlying hardware. LG claims it is a win-win scenario in which employees get to use their own devices and companies remain confident in the security of their data.

Mobile virtualization could deliver significant cost savings to businesses who have adopted a variety of work-arounds to the personal mobile device dilemma.  Mobile access to company tools and services can improve employee productivity and improve IT department efficiency through simplified administration.

Virtualization certainly seems like the solution to the single-device-for-everything issue. The challenge is reading businesses for virtualization. Certainly those businesses who are already adopting VDI into their business will be ahead of the the curve as mobile virtualization moves into the mainstream.

Desktop virtualization can help organizations satisfy users’ needs for mobility and flexibility while relieving pressure on their IT provider to manage cost, security and compliance. ACE IT Solutions can evaluate your network infrastructure and determine how your business can benefit from desktop virtualization. Contact us at 646-571-3957 for more information.

Learn more about ACE IT Solutions desktop virtualization (VDI) solutions:

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – Is VDI Right for Your Business? Download the Whitepaper


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