10 things to consider when choosing a hosted desktop provider


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Having taken the decision to move to a hosted platform how do you go about finding the best hosting services provider? We guide you through 10 of the most important questions you should ask any potential partner.

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  • 10 things to consider when choosing a hosted desktop provider

    1. 1. 10 Things to consider when choosing a Hosting Provider Presented by: Matthew Armitage - Hosted Desktop UK 1
    2. 2. Working in the Cloud? 2
    3. 3. What is the Cloud and Hosting? • Cloud - ‘Buzzword’ for the Internet • Hosted ‘virtual’ server housed in a data centre • Hosting provider manages your server, operating system, applications and data • Exchange email option 3
    4. 4. Security of Data remains your responsibility What questions should you be asking? • Compliance with Data Protection Legislation? • Financially stable business? • Reliable service? • Good customer and technical support? • Is your data adequately protected? 4
    5. 5. Hosted Services 10 vital questions you should be asking when choosing a hosting provider 5
    6. 6. 1. Where will my data be stored? • Need to meet Data Protection Legislation • Ideally all data should be held within the EU and preferably in the UK for greater control • No transfer of data to areas outside the EU where there are weaker privacy laws • If stored outside EU must be with what are called ‘safe harbour’ providers 6
    7. 7. 2. Who is the Hosting Provider? • Are they a reseller or not? • Do they own the server and equipment your data will be stored on? • Are they a financially stable entity? • Research the supplier and ask for references • If a reseller, check both the reseller and the organisation that supplies the hosting platform 7
    8. 8. 3. Is the Data Centre Secure? • Greater scrutiny of data centres with the increased uptake of cloud computing • Security one of the top two concerns • ISO27001 Certification – International Standard for Information Security Management Systems 8
    9. 9. 3. Is the Data Centre Secure? How do they minimise the risk of data loss? Do they have: • Physical security and CCTV surveillance • Controlled access to data floors • Systems to protect against disasters e.g. fire, flood 9
    10. 10. 4.What are the uptime guarantees? • Read the Service level agreement (SLA) to ascertain uptime guarantees e.g. 99.9% • What happens if they don’t meet the SLA e.g. do they offer service credits • Check if they have met these guarantees in the past • How do they ensure they can meet the SLA? 10
    11. 11. 4.What are the uptime guarantees? • ‘Enterprise’ standard hardware • Large investment in capital equipment on the balance sheet of the hosting provider A good hosting platform: • Provides resilience to cope with demand • Will have a fail-over system to assure high levels of uptime 11
    12. 12. 4.What are the uptime guarantees? Features to ensure reliability: • RAID disk arrays • Hot spare disks • Multiple server clusters • Redundant switches & firewalls • Multiple site replication 12
    13. 13. 5. Do they backup your data? Ask about the standard backup procedures: • Method for backing up • What data are they backing up (all or part) • Frequency of backups • Retention periods • How quickly can they restore data • Monitoring systems and testing 13
    14. 14. 5. Do they backup your data? Important questions: • Do they offer just one standard backup procedure and what or are they able to tailor frequency of backups and retention periods to suit you? • Can they also offer a ‘backup-to-site’ service whereby a copy of your data files is available to download and store locally? 14
    15. 15. 6. Disaster recovery policy Seek reassurances on disaster recovery procedures Replication of your data: • Copy of your data kept on a separate cluster or preferably in a separate location • Needs to be complete copy of your server not just your flat files e.g. profiles, applications and data 15
    16. 16. 7. What applications are available? • Check that your business applications will work • Does the provider host a limited or unlimited number of applications • Will they install the software on your behalf • Do they update the software for you and what (if any) are the charges 16
    17. 17. 8. Is the Customer Support good? • Do they have the technical knowledge to support the hosted environment? • Do they know your business applications well enough to support them? • Do they respond in a timely manner? • Ask for references, speak to existing customers or look for reviews on the Internet 17
    18. 18. 8. Is the Customer Support good? Hosted Desktop UK transparency drive • We created an online live customer feedback system called ‘stars’ • Customers can rate our service after any contact they have with us • Website: stars.hosteddesktopuk.co.uk 18
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    20. 20. 8. Is the Customer Support good? Hosted Desktop UK transparency drive • We also created a monthly report viewable online showing our uptime and summary of customer ratings • Website: reportcard.hosteddesktopuk.co.uk 20
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    22. 22. 9. Will there be hidden charges? • What is included in the basic monthly fee • Are there setup charges when migrating or to add applications and user accounts? • How much storage space do you get as standard and what is the cost to have more? • Is their support unlimited and free or do they charge for things like software updates? 22
    23. 23. 10. What is the lock-in period? • Notice period or ‘lock-in’ can vary greatly • 3 months generally the minimum • Some providers require up to 3 years • Rolling contracts automatically renew unless cancelled at least 1 month before due date • Notice period is likely to be 2 way so check how much notice your provider must give you 23
    24. 24. What are the benefits? Having chosen your hosting provider how will going fully hosted benefit your business: • Increased data security • Assured business continuity • Increased productivity with anywhere access • Cost savings 24
    25. 25. Data Security 25 • More secure than data held in-house • Secure access using SSL encryption • Controlled access to your data • Third party access only granted following written authorisation by the client
    26. 26. Backup and Replication • Less than 50% of businesses have a disaster recovery plan • The cloud is the best way to protect against natural disasters and malicious acts • Backups provide multiple restore points • Replication with ‘fail-over’ ensures business continuity 26
    27. 27. Case Study • Accountancy practice based in Stoke-on-Trent • Moved to the Cloud in January 2012 • Christmas 2012 – office destroyed by fire 27
    28. 28. Ease of Access • Access your data at any time from anywhere with an internet connection • No longer restricted to working from an office • Work at a client site, on the move, or at home • Work remotely if your office is damaged by fire, flood, or malicious act 28
    29. 29. Cost Savings • Savings of 30-50% can be made on the average IT budget compared to in-house • Users added and removed with minimal notice so you only pay for what you use • Part time users charged at reduced rate • Greatly reduced IT capital expenditure • Frees up partner/manager time spent on IT 29
    30. 30. Summary • Do your homework well • Seek answers to any questions you have • Ask for reference sites • Making the right choice will provide both practical and cost benefits to your business 30
    31. 31. Any Questions? Matthew Armitage Stand A564 020 3239 6181 www.hosteddesktopuk.co.uk @HostedDesktopUK 31