Why you should implement a #hosted virtual desktop

The primary purpose of having a virtual network is to allow a service provider or data centre to provide and manage a suitable and efficient networking structure. This structure must be constantly updated to reflect changing conditions, through software rather than physical hardware changes. Simply put, a hosted virtual desktop is a user interface that connects to applications and data that are stored on a service provider’s servers, rather than on the user or corporate network.

Implementing a hosted virtual desktop presents various benefits and cost savings for a company. The service provider is responsible for storage and backup of data, system security, as well as, upgrades. Moreover, they also offer redundancy, constant availability and optimized power. These virtual desktop models benefit the company, by enabling its employees to access their desktop from anywhere and anytime, given that they have an internet connection. They can also use various devices to do so; smartphones, laptops or tablets. As a result, the workforce is way more efficient and information is easily accessible to everyone in the company.

Cost effectiveness remains the main goal of every company. Firms adopt such technologies and digital services in order to cut costs, while still reaching their corporate aims. Virtual desktops deliver these cost savings. This is due to traditional desktops having very high lifecycle costs. Gartner, a leading consultancy agency, reports that the yearly cost of ownership of a computer exceeds $5,000 per year. This includes purchasing hardware and software, management and support, communications, system downtime and training, among other productivity losses. Adopting a hosted virtual desktop results in significantly lower total costs of ownership. This is done through economies of scale, that are achieved by centralization of IT systems and services. Rather than every company individually storing data on its own cloud and having its own infrastructure, all these services are provided by the service provider to many companies. The competitive nature that exists in the cloud services market also reduces the price charged for these services.

Cloud service providers present a low-cost way for companies to access applications stored on a cloud. These agencies are generally very secure, reliable and offer 24/7 support for their clients. These service providers group a number of physical machines and build a large number of virtual machines with software, making them accessible through the internet. This whole package with services and support would be offered at a monthly price for each desktop, referred to as a hosted virtual desktop.

Virtual desktops come in two different designs, either session-based, or dedicated. Session-based desktops are an economical solution for users to access applications with less changing needs. Users, such as, clerks and assistants, have less intensive computing and user personalization needs. Dedicated virtual desktops are aimed at those who need more resources, personalization, and control. These are used by individuals who have specialized requirements for high level computing, data storage and personalization needs.

Another benefit of using hosted virtual desktops is that these can be created with the desired configuration and software can be updated instantly. Virtual machines are much more capable of responding to the changing needs of a business, when compared to physical machines. They are easier to manage and make use of the available physical resources more efficiently.

After a company opts for a hosted virtual desktop, it is vital to choose the right service provider. Industry certifications for cloud hosting, from companies like Microsoft, are good indicators of the credibility and capability of the vendor.  Another factor to consider is the level of experience of the vendor, in terms of length of time working in the industry, the size of existing customers and size of customer base. A hosted virtual desktop provider must have a very good track record of working with different customers, from small and medium business, to corporations, to individual professionals. Moreover, their offerings must be customizable to suit the specific needs of each business. Finally, they must be proactive and respond effectively to changing trends and demands, while increasing management tools.

Choose your Business Continuity Plan wisely – It might save your business

Companies are facing an unprecedented number of exposures from an ever-growing external environment. Internal risks, such as I.T and personnel, also present potential losses for companies. However, these are under the control of the firm, whereas, external factors cannot be controlled. All risk arises due to a level of uncertainty and impacts the achievement of objectives. This impact can be of a hazardous (negative) nature, opportunity (positive) nature, or simply a deviation from what is expected. A business continuity plan is the first step towards mitigating the potential adverse impact of such risks.


Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is defined as a holistic management approach that identifies potential impacts that threaten an organization and provides a framework for building resilient and capable responses that safeguard the interest of key stakeholders, reputation and the brand. Due to the increased reliance on technology and corporate networks for survival, a BCP focuses greatly on continuation of core digital processes, including maintaining networks and other I.T processes.


When a company network fails, all methods of communication with its customers, suppliers and employees also fail. Even worse, access to critical information is lost or may be compromised. Even when presented with these adverse impacts, there are still many organisations that fail to develop an effective BCP and are thus not prepared to deal with adverse events relating to their business and network operations.


Common misconceptions include: employees already know what to do in an emergency, insurance will cover the losses, it is not worth the time and cost. Contrary to this; employees respond differently in an emergency, usually in a manner that adds confusion. Insurance is not a strategy, but rather part of the plan and it does not cover the cost of a loss of data, reputation and customers. Moreover, the time and cost spent on an effective BCP strategy is an investment in the company. Fixed costs must still be payed after the event, therefore it is vital to get the system up and running and return to normal operations as fast as possible, to reduce the negative impact of the event.


The first stage of a successful BCP is to determine all threats that could cease core business activities. Then the tasks that are required to continue such activities and business processes are determined. Details about the necessary tools, information and people needed to continue these operations are stated. Responsibility for creating a BCP should be delegated to various people. All modern organisations rely heavily on a network for their operations; thus, it is vital to carry out regular data backups and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). The latter is an important part of the BCP. DRP is a plan for responding after an event. It deals with preparing for the failure and recovery of a business’s IT systems and controls.

The following are some measures used to protect a company’s network and data, that form part of a BCP.


  1. Planning for power failures – all critical network components should be connected to a power source that has a very high availability percentage. This should be around 99.999% for a data centre.


  1. Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) – are connected to emergency power sources to maintain internal communication. These are used when a LAN provides critical services, such as, a bank or hospital.


  1. Updated BCP – companies are constantly changing their internal processes to maximise growth. It is vital that all changes and upgrades are included in the BCP. Network documentation must be constantly up to date and periodic analysis is made.


  1. Security – hackers prey on companies that have experienced an event that has weakened their network. They try to breach information and network security of the organisation. Thus, a BCP must ensure that the same level of security for the primary system is also found in the disaster recovery system.


Companies are often better off outsourcing the development and implementation of a BCP. The cost outweighs the huge burden of having to manage offsite backups and a hosting provider can provide a facility that is much more cost-effective and less time-intensive. This also reduces the time and resources that would be wasted in training the company’s own internal staff, by having staff from the external service provider manage all digital services.