By Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) unfamiliar with the term “hosted desktops” might be wondering what it all means, so let me first explain what a hosted desktop is. Cloud can mean different things, for example, gmail is email in the cloud, itunes is music in the cloud and a variety of companies allow businesses and individuals to store files and other data in the cloud.

Hosted desktops though are different. Hosted desktops encompass a comprehensive cloud based business IT solution covering any suite of programs and applications required by the SME, data processing and data storage – all operating behind a secure firewall in the data centre. The service is called hosted desktop because it has the look and feel of a typical office computer, despite the actual computer acting only as a keyboard and monitor with the real computing power residing in a secure data centre.

Now that we know what a hosted desktop is, let me explain how I believe it can transform a business.

Firstly, for most businesses, peace of mind with regards to IT is extremely important. While IT is merely a facilitator for most businesses, no business can manage without it. With a hosted desktop service, concerns about equipment upgrades, software updates, licensing and support can be dispensed with; the hosted desktop provider takes over responsibility for them.

Secondly, not only is a hosted desktop solution typically more cost effective than hybrid or on-premise solutions, the nature of the hosted desktop eliminates most of the IT CAPEX, thereby easing the cash flow strains and constraints.

Lastly, businesses need to be agile. Small businesses especially need to function if an employee needs to work from home or on the road, or on a different device than the one provided by the office. In addition, if a business is required to scale up or down, that is made more easy with hosted desktops because it will only be charged for what it uses and of course there will be no CAPEX costs to meet. Additional IT capability can be added at any time by the hosted desktop provider as more staff are taken on and perhaps new offices, retail outlets etc opened or existing ones expanded.

A more agile, smarter business can roll out new initiatives more easily and exploit market opportunities more quickly. Likewise, information can be shared more widely and easily amongst the staff, all with strict security and controls in place.

In summary

A hosted desktop provides a secure and robust solution which saves money, eases cash flow and improves business agility both for the existing and growing workforce, while providing peace of mind to the business managers.

Business deploying this system will be undergoing a smart step change in the way they operate.