Technology set to have the greatest impact on law firms

It’s no secret that the legal profession is undergoing a period of unprecedented upheaval. Regulations, consolidation in the market and new legal structures are all impacting change. And that’s before we look at Brexit and the possibility of modifications to the hundreds of laws, rules and regulations which currently govern the UK. But, according to a new report published by business advisory firm BDO LLP, it is advancements in technology which are set to have the greatest impact on law firms over the next five years.

The findings, which are the result of surveying the managing partners and senior partners at over 60 UK and international law firms, reveal that:

  • Over 80% believe that technology will be the factor most likely to have the biggest impact on their firm
  • 94% believe that technology must become a strategic priority going forward if it isn’t already.

However, whether or not solicitors see advancements in technology as a good thing is still unclear. Indeed, while many think that it will lead to greater efficiencies and productivity, a significant number of respondents fear that it could replace lawyers, stripping work and revenue from firms.

Of course, AI is big news. And, with some experts predicting that machine learning will surpass human intelligence by around 2045, it’s no wonder that lawyers are worried. But, while there is no doubt that cloud computing, algorithms and AI will transform the legal profession it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, while a 2013 study[1] on the future of employment found that paralegals had a staggering 94% chance of being replaced by robots, this figure drops to just 3.5% for lawyers.

But what tech is currently having the biggest impact on modern law firms?

  1. Practice management systems. Legal practice management systems run from the very good, to the very, very bad. While law firms tend to be behind the curve on significant shifts in technology, and security concerns remain key, expect to see an increase in cloud-based systems over the next few years.
  2. Hosted desktops. Helping users to access everything they need to do their job, on any device, even if they aren’t in the office, hosted desktops deliver increased flexibility, scalability, productivity, efficiency, and resilience. So it’s no wonder that law firms are using them to solve their growing business challenges. What’s more, by bringing together processes and data, the hosted desktop delivers enhanced management information. This can lead to more informed decision making, and even create opportunities for new revenue streams.
  3. Cloud technology. At present, 27% of business and professional services companies put enabling the mobile workforce in their top three reasons for using cloud technology[2]. However, with the UK in the midst of a mobile working revolution, and 50% of the workforce predicted to be remote by 2020[3], we should expect this percentage to increase.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI). The cloud and AI are closely interlinked, with imminent developments expected to take automation and customer service to a whole new level. So, investing in SaaS (Software as a Service) now could see your firm future-proof its position in the market.
  5. Client portals. To meet evolving client expectations, law firms should offer a secure client portal to boost satisfaction levels. Not only does this help to put clients’ at ease, but it also removes the burden on your fee-earners by reducing the number of calls they have to deal with on a daily basis.
  6. Big data services. Big data is the information an organisation has access to which could be used for discovery and analysis. The ability to harness big data leads to improved performance at all levels. So, firms that are not yet using software to provide them with the most up to date and precise data, from multiple sources are likely to fall behind.

 

To find out how we can help your firm keep up with the latest technological advancements, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email info@keycomputers.co.uk  today.

[1] THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION?

[2] Harvey Nash / KPMG Survey: 2016

[3] http://www.marketwatch.com/video/sectorwatch/by-2020-50-of-workforce-will-be-remote-here-how/EC18E212-D8F5-493E-9602-7E5E5D980ABD.html

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Ten tips for migrating your data to the cloud

Professional services firms are turning to the cloud to help solve their business challenges. The benefits include increased flexibility, scalability, productivity, efficiency, and resilience. And it’s a move that’s paying off, with companies that use cloud technology generating 26% higher profits than their competitors.

If you’ve decided make the leap, check out our top-tips for migrating your data to the cloud.

  1. Check your internet speed. With cloud computing, everything you need to run your firm is accessed over the internet, so, you’ll need a decent broadband connection. If you don’t have a speed of at least 4MB per second, then you’ll need to get this sorted before making the switch.
  2. You can’t just use Dropbox. Well, you can, but we wouldn’t recommend it! There are lots of free cloud services out there, but most of them aren’t suitable for the needs of modern businesses when it comes to security, compliance, synchronisation, and version control.
  3. Analyse your data. Your migration will go much smoother if you take the time to scrutinise your data before making decisions about where it will be migrated and how. This includes:
    • Structured data. Information that is easy to organise (e.g. data that can be held in a straightforward, searchable database)
    • Unstructured data. Information assets that aren’t easy to interpret or store in a traditional database. For example text-heavy documents, social media posts, etc. Currently, unstructured data takes up over 80% of all installed storage capacity and is continuing to grow
    • Multi-structured data. Data stemming from interactions between people and machines. This can take a variety of formats.
  4. Consider your current setup. Unless you are starting from scratch, you’re likely to have an existing on premise infrastructure that needs integrating into your new setup. You’ll need to establish how this will work and identify any risk points. In many cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you.
  5. Consider your users. User accounts won’t simply create themselves; so, establish who is going to need access to what. You should also identify (and decide what to do with) inactive user accounts for people who are no longer with the business.
  6. Consider your organisational structure. Departmental silos are a problem for most professional firms. So, take this opportunity to improve how data is shared across your organisation. Establish how the cloud can help to ensure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information and improve communications and visibility between different departments.
  7. Determine how much space you will need. Calculate enough space to store all of your migrated data. Of course, one of the best things about the cloud is that it’s scalable, so adding additional space to accommodate growth (or scaling back) shouldn’t be an issue.
  8. Minimise downtime. One of the biggest concerns when planning for cloud migration is how much downtime you will experience. But, if you adopt a carefully executed migration strategy there shouldn’t be any impact on your business operations. Your new cloud system will run parallel to your legacy one until the process is complete.
  9. Consider what will happen should something go wrong. With a managed approach, IT specialists are watching your system all the time, making sure it’s running smoothly and quickly. This applies to the migration period and thereafter. Managed cloud services also boast best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong.
  10. Be safety conscious. With robust cloud encryption now available, storing data in the cloud can be safer than storing it onsite. But, in our data-driven world, security has never been more important. So, it’s important to undertake due diligence to ensure compliance and avoid risking hefty fines and damage to your reputation. Make sure your cloud software/storage provider understands any risks and what’s needed to minimise your exposure. To help you with this, get them to commit to an acceptable level of security as part of your SLA.

The cloud has made enterprise-level software affordable for small and growing firms. A fully managed service is usually available for one low monthly cost. At Key Computers, our Cloud Server services consistently achieve the highest level of data security and reliability. To find out how we can manage the migration process for you, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or request a demo today!

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8 steps to service management excellence

Today, Service Manager tools are being used by most service-led companies. But, while more and more of us come to rely on software - and reap the benefits it provides - there is also an increase in businesses getting things wrong. We’ve all seen the horror stories in the press about security breaches, data losses and operational mishaps.

But in most (if not all) of these cases, the tech isn’t to blame – it’s how people are using it. So, what steps can you take to ensure that you avoid the risks and achieve Service Manager excellence?

  1. Choose the right solution for your business

No two businesses are the same. So, what works for one organisation won’t work for the next. Consider whether you need a flexible entry-level solution or an enterprise Service Manager system. Whatever option you choose, it should increase productivity, streamline processes, achieve accuracy, and drive both profitability and growth. If you’re not sure what’s best for your business, your IT partner will be able to help.

  1. Consider wider connectivity requirements

Software as a service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly sought-after, with many service-led companies starting to look at how to integrate cloud-based products with their existing on premise infrastructure. However, simply bolting-on cloud computing into your existing setup isn’t going to cut it. In fact, if not done properly this approach can lead to increased data silos, more complicated processes, and greater fragility– the very things that SaaS exists to eradicate! So, proper integration is essential. Creating and managing an integrated solution with a logical network topology and compatibility across infrastructure can prove complicated for many in-house IT teams. So, in most cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you.

  1. Assess your data

Most businesses are already leveraging the cloud to extract quantifiable value from big data; with your software – and ultimately your service – only as good as the data that underpins it. Consequently, you must ensure that this data is of the right quality, and put steps in place to keep it that way.

  1. Take security seriously

In a data-driven world, security has never been more important. As well as establishing internal security processes, to ensure compliance and avoid risking hefty fines, you must also make sure your cloud software/storage provider understands any risks and what’s needed to minimise your exposure. To help you with this, get them to commit to the provision of an acceptable level of security as part of your SLA.

  1. Break down barriers

Departmental silos are a huge problem for many service-led firms. And, this lack of sharing is often at the expense of the customer who has to wait longer than necessary for updates. By adopting an integrated Service Manager solution, you can make sure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information and improve communications and visibility between different departments. Knowledge shared is empowerment for all. 

  1. Strive for constant improvement

The right Service Manager solution will support continuous service upgrades, making it easy to deploy seamless, frequent, automatic improvements that enhance the customer and user experience.

  1. Be scalable

It can be difficult to predict what you might need to run your business in the upcoming years. But, rather than trying to guess your infrastructure needs, switch to SaaS. With access to enterprise-level tech tools for one affordable monthly cost, a SaaS based Service Manager will grow with your business.

  1. Think beyond the office

What your employees do is more important than where they are. Not everybody works best tied to a desk all day. It can be difficult to trust employees to perform where you can’t see them, but according to experts, this reliance on “presenteeism” is the biggest threat to UK workplace productivity[1]” and could lead to increases in stress-related absence. Service Manager Software can help you switch to a more agile, flexible approach, where everyone has instant access to everything they need to do their jobs; no matter where they are.

If you’d like your business to benefit from the features and flexibility of Service Manager, and ensure you can achieve service excellence and differentiate yourself from the crowd, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email info@keycomputers.co.uk to find out more.

[1] Sir Cary Cooper, keynote speech, CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition.

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DaaS vs VDI hosted desktops. What’s the difference?

You’ve decided you want to introduce hosted desktops into your firm. And it’s a smart assessment, with a plethora of benefits including increased flexibility, scalability, productivity, efficiency and resilience. In fact with so much to offer, it's no wonder that many professional service firms are looking to make the switch if they haven’t done so already.

However, deciding to deploy hosted desktops across your business is the easy bit. Once the resolution is made, you then have to think about what kind of hosted desktop set up you want. So, what are your options?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

With VDI, users access their personalised desktops – including all their data and applications – from anywhere with an internet connection. Users can do this via a traditional PC, thin client or even a mobile device. To work, your IT team loads and manages a server, hosted in a datacentre, with virtualisation software.

There are two main types of VDI:

  1. Each user creates their own desktop setup which can be customised and saved for future use (just like a physical desktop).
  2. Non-persistent. Homogeneous desktops which revert to their original state each time the user logs out.

What are the benefits of VDI?

There are many potential benefits to VDI depending on the setup deployed. For example, IT departments might be able to buy cheaper less powerful devices or even prolong the lifespan of older PCs by repurposing them as VDI clients. There are also security benefits to VDI as, should a laptop get lost or stolen, data remains secure as there is nothing held on the actual machine.

However, there are also some downsides to VDI. Primarily, it can be costly to manage, as, despite delivering hardware savings, firms could see their IT infrastructure expenses increase; particularly when it comes to storage. And, as you are responsible for managing your hardware, software, licensing, and deployment in-house, you will have to devote valuable time and resource to keep everything working as it should.

VDI also relies on network connectivity with a weak connection hampering performance. And of course, this also prohibits more flexible, mobile working practices.

Scalability can also be complex as you have to manage capacity needs, and balance these against any increase in costs. But, before you decide to give up on the hosted desktop completely, VDI is not the only option you have.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

With DaaS, your data, OS, and applications are hosted in the cloud and managed by a service provider. So, you pay a subscription to your vendor, and they make sure everything works.

What are the benefits of DaaS?

DaaS doesn’t require any large-scale infrastructure investment, so you’ll benefit from decreased up-front costs compared to VDI. Your firm simply pays for the software it uses on a month-to-month basis, without any long-term commitment. What’s more, as your cloud supplier is looking after everything for you, you can save on ongoing maintenance costs, and you don’t have to worry about employing any in-house VDI expertise.

With DaaS, you only ever pay for what you need, with the ability to scale up, or down, on demand. Setting up new accounts for new staff and ordering more storage space or applications can also be done in a matter of minutes. And, your employees get access to everything they need, whenever they need it, on any device; regardless of where they are. This supports more flexible working practices and leads to increased productivity. With a quality managed desktop service you’ll also benefit from best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong.

Crucially, with robust cloud encryption now available, storing data in the cloud can be safer than storing it onsite. So it’s no wonder that the DaaS model is extremely, and increasingly appealing.

 

At Key, we’ll work with you to advise on, and devise the right hosted desktop solution for you. We can also advise you on a hybrid approach which combines VDI and DaaS technology. To see how our excellent hosted desktop solutions work in practice, request a demo or free trial today.

 

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Using software to make your employees happier

There’s a lot of talk about how Service Management Software leads to more satisfied customers. We’ve even talked about this ourselves. And, there’s no doubt that when it comes to making your customers smile, the right software delivers a huge range of benefits. But there is another people-focused benefit to deploying a SaaS based integrated Service Manager Solution – and that’s happy employees.

You can forget about Pizza Friday or lunchtime bonding activities; because according to a report[1], what really boosts employee satisfaction is the use of SaaS at work. In fact, the study found that 74% of staff whose companies invest in SaaS expressed happiness at work compared to just 19% on non-SaaS users. And here’s why:

Employees are as frustrated with unproductive working practices as you are

While some bosses like to complain about engineers taking too long on the road, or extended tea-breaks, in reality, employees are often wasting valuable hours through no fault of their own. And they are as just as likely to be as frustrated by this as the people in charge.

The stats back this up, with the same report finding that the more SaaS was used, the more productive employees felt. In fact, while 70% of non-SaaS users reported feeling productive, this shot up to a whopping 96% of power users. So, an employee who ends their day knowing they have been productive is likely to be a lot happier than one that hasn’t been given the tools they need to do their job properly.

SaaS provides employees with extra freedom

According to the report, just 59% of non-SaaS users said they had a good work-life balance compared to 85% of power users. Of course, for anyone who has already made the leap to an integrated Service Manger solution these figures are unlikely to come as a surprise.

Changing attitudes and new technologies are shaking up the traditional working environment. Today, fewer people sit at their desks 9-5 than ever before; with mobile working now more important to 67% of staff than a company car[2].

With SaaS helping to cultivate new working patterns, the more it is used, the greater choice employees have about how and where they get their jobs done; and the happier they will be.

SaaS helps to foster trusted relationships

Even where the technology is available, some employers are reluctant to use it for fear of giving staff too much freedom. But, reports have found that employees who feel trusted have a greater sense of responsibility and give a better performance.

Of course, some roles require set hours and an on-site presence. But where flexible working practices can be accommodated, employees rise to the challenge. So you benefit from increased performance and morale.

SaaS helps to reduce the burden of “boring” work

Most employees become frustrated with paperwork. However, with compliance more important than ever, putting this off just isn’t an option.

With SaaS, you’ll benefit from the simplification, standardisation, and streamlining of business process and regulatory compliance. For example, because everything is available via the cloud, your engineers can fill in automated forms using any mobile device. This information then automatically syncs with your back office systems, in real-time. So, managers spend less time chasing teams to keep their paperwork up-to-date, and employees spend less time on admin and more on tasks they enjoy (and which make money!).

SaaS helps to reduce customer complaints

With SaaS, jobs are responded to more swiftly, problems are identified sooner, and communication between support staff and engineers is enhanced. With better customer service all round, your employees spend less time dealing with complaints – and that can only lead to a happier workforce at the end of each day!

 

To find out more about how we can help your employees to become more productive and fulfilled, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email info@keycomputers.co.uk to find out more.

 

[1] Softchoice and the Blackstone Group

[2] BT, The Mobile Multiplier, 2016

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How important is Service Manager software in today’s business world?

The service desk exists to optimise services and functions on behalf of a business. There might be a customer service desk, an IT desk, and an HR desk. But for smaller companies it isn’t always feasible or affordable to employ a specialist for every problem. And, even with the very best of intentions, departmental silos do occur.

In response, a new style of service desk was born, using SaaS (Software as a Service) to create one central system that brings together a whole range of disciplines. A single, integrated infrastructure that works across your business.

Today, Service Management software plays a crucial role in making sure that successful businesses have the essential tools needed to maximise productivity and flow. Ultimately, it helps you to win, serve, and retain customers. In fact, for one affordable monthly cost, SaaS Service Management software has the potential to improve ALL your business processes.

Service Management software for a connected world.

Modern businesses need modern ways to make use of the latest technology and drive improvements in operations. Not only to enrich the customer experience, but also so that they can identify and capitalise on new revenue streams. But to do this, departments need to share data, processes and systems.

Service Management software enables businesses to do just that, with different teams across an organisation finally resigning silos of data stashes and fragmented communications. But Service Manager software doesn’t just make a unified approach possible due to improved communication and coordination between departments; it can also help you to:

Deliver an improved customer experience

Service Manager software allows for a more personalised customer experience. Because information is shared, you gain a deeper insight into each customer’s needs, so you can tailor your service and support accordingly. What’s more, SaaS technology can take over more basic automated customer service tasks; freeing your support staff to deal with more complex issues and provide a more proactive service. SaaS also makes the provision of post-sale support much easier, and it supports continuous customer service innovation with the ability to make improvements based on feedback from your customers.

Reduce downtime

With Service Management software, your business benefits from guaranteed SLAs that meet your service needs as well as any contractual, regulatory and legal compliance requirements.

Complete jobs quicker

You can better manage stock and benefit from route optimisation software. So, your engineers get the parts they need as quickly as possible, and spend less time on the road. Ultimately, you become more productive, and your customers get served faster.

Reduce costs

With no need to install and maintain costly hardware or out-of-date software, SaaS is a compelling option if you are looking to make cost savings and pass these on to your customers.

Stand out from the competition

As we’ve discussed, with Service Manager software, you’ll become more productive and better serve your customers. And, in a competitive business world, this matters. With established touch points like appropriate automatic responses, customer dashboards, updates, and follow-ups you can differentiate your service and beat the competition.

Retain staff

Nobody likes inefficient processes, least of all your employees. With a SaaS based Service Manager, you’ll streamline processes, remove unnecessary paperwork and help everyone in your team to work smarter, not harder; boosting satisfaction across your organisation.

SaaS Service Manager Software from Key Computing

A total workforce and business management solution our, Service Manager will help you to develop agile practices that increase your efficiency, optimise your workforce, and boost your sales.

You also benefit from:

  • Access to previously unaffordable software and tools with no upfront capital investment
  • Automated backup services and best-in-class recovery processes
  • The ability to add functionality as your business grows
  • Access to the latest software, without hefty upgrade costs
  • 9% uptime with best in class SLAs.

 

To find out more about how we can help your service-led business succeed with Service Manager software, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email info@keycomputers.co.uk to find out more.

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How Key Service Manager keeps you in contact with your field engineers

Having a remote workforce isn’t just something that modern day businesses have created to keep outlay on office space to a minimum; some business models are built around having a workforce that’s ‘in the field’ and therefore require sophisticated methods of keeping in touch and managing workloads on a day-to-day basis.

 

SaaS systems have revolutionised the way in which such businesses operate. Nowadays, improved network coverage means that SaaS technology, such as Key’s Service Manager, is available in the field via mobile devices.

Here are 5 ways in which Key’s Service Manager enables businesses to better manage their remote working teams.

  1. Allows engineers to complete jobs from the field

Gone are the days when lengthy paperwork trails blighted the working day of remote-based workers! Now, engineers and lone workers can sign off on jobs whilst on location, reducing the need for paperwork and generally improving efficiency and speed.

  1. Plan routes for engineers

With the price of fuel ever on the increase, optimising the routes of remote staff can make a huge difference to travel expenses. SaaS technology, including Key’s Service Manager SaaS, allows daily route planning for engineers/remote workers – resulting in shorter travel times and reduced mileage helping to save both time and money.

  1. Schedule jobs depending on location and availability

Even the best laid plans don’t always work out. If jobs cannot be completed for some reason and there is a need to make changes, Key’s Service Manager can quickly and easily reschedule jobs to provide a newly optimised schedule for engineers to follow depending on their location. Similarly, if an urgent call comes in, a job can be allocated to an engineer based on their location and availability.

  1. Easily identify where workers are in the country at any time

Keeping track of workers can be one of the biggest headaches of managing a remote workforce. Using a SaaS system allows managers to pinpoint the whereabouts of workers at any point during the day.

  1. Health and Safety

These days employers have fairly onerous health & safety obligations so far as their staff are concerned – even when workers are based remotely. Using Key’s Service Manager, remote/lone workers must log in and out of the system at the beginning and end of each day. This clearly defines the timeframe in which they are ‘working’ and therefore sets the parameters for when their health and safety is and isn’t the business’ responsibility.

For more information about how Key’s Service Manager can improve the operation of your business, please contact us on 01942 261 671

 

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4 cloud computing traps and how to avoid them

Whilst many businesses see there is value in migrating to the cloud, not all are prepared to fully embrace all that cloud solutions offer, meaning they can sometimes lose out.
Here are 4 traps that businesses can fall into when upgrading their systems to a cloud solution:

Failing to harness the opportunity

Cloud technology is hugely exciting and present businesses with many opportunities that simply didn’t exist 10 – 15 years ago. Although this is undoubtedly true, not all businesses have such enthusiasm for changes in technology. Migrating to a cloud based system because it seems like ‘the right thing to do’ will inevitably result in a system that doesn’t fulfill its potential or isn’t used to its full capacity. On the other hand, those that see a move to the cloud as a way to improve their business and its operation are far more likely to see benefits in their business post-migration.

Delays in migration

A business that says it wants to migrate to the cloud but never seems to find the right time to do so is simply one that isn’t fully accepting or ready to embrace change. Delaying a migration to the cloud can leave your business on the back foot – particularly if you end up being forced into a migration in order to continue to liaise with clients via a particular software or tool or because your competitors are ahead of you in this regard.

Like for like migration

When upgrading to cloud technology, you will likely have certain software and tools that you will still want to be able to use. But rather than simply selecting the like-for-like versions that you already have in place, it can be far more beneficial to explore other available options. After all, there could be something readily available on the market that would allow for a far more streamlined process or better customer service delivery.

Maintaining the status quo

Much like the above, if you look at migrating to the cloud in isolation rather than in the context of improving your business generally, you could miss out on areas of improvement – some of which may be fairly easily within reach. Alternatively, you could take advantage of the process of migrating to the cloud and the capabilities this will afford your business as a means of revamping your operations and service delivery.

For a discussion with one of Key’s team of cloud migration experts about the ways in which cloud could benefit your business, please contact us on 01942 261 671

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How to integrate SaaS into your firm

As software as a service becomes increasingly sought-after, professional service firms are starting to look at how to integrate new cloud-based products with their existing on premise infrastructure.

Experts are predicting that it won’t be long before the majority of professional services firms move all (or most) of their data to cloud servers. And, according to the statistics, “organisations are right to feel confident that incorporating SaaS into their day-to-day functions will provide a return on investment”[1].

But, it’s not always possible for a firm to move everything to the cloud, often due to regulatory issues or because of a hefty investment in their current setup. In response, many businesses are now looking at the feasibility of making cloud applications work as part of a well-developed IT architecture.

However, simply bolting-on cloud computing to an existing on premise system isn’t going to cut it. In fact, if not done properly this approach can lead to greater data silos and more complicated processes – they very things that SaaS exists to eradicate! So, if you want to maximise the power of the cloud, and continue to use (and improve) your existing systems, proper integration is essential.

Of course, creating and managing an integrated solution with a logical network topology and compatibility across infrastructure can prove complicated for many in-house IT teams. Security concerns need to be addressed, and timescales for amalgamation considered (unlike a straightforward SaaS solution that can be up and running very quickly).

As a result, law firms, accountants and recruiters need to think carefully about how best to bring devices, applications, and data sources together. And, in most cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you if you want to be savvy about how to leverage SaaS and achieve the best possible results.

32% cite integration between SaaS and on-premises legacy applications as a top concern when it comes to deploying cloud computing[2]

So, what should you consider when considering an integrated cloud solution for your firm?

Security

Understandably, security is a concern for cloud users. And, while storing data onsite can be riskier than a modern cloud-based solution, integration does add to the challenge. So, be sure to ask any potential provider about how data will be encrypted, shared and accessed without compromising on safety.

Flexibility

There are many integration solutions (often out of the box) that can help with basic connectivity setups, but they are often not flexible or sophisticated enough to handle more complex requirements. And, even where the technology is there, firms often don’t have the strategic knowledge necessary to know how all their infrastructure, processes, and data can and should work together. So, here again, having a partner to manage this for you could prove invaluable.

Management

Someone needs to look after your IT infrastructure on a daily basis. For primarily cloud-based firms, this is usually done by a service provider, while on premise solutions are often managed by an in-house team. It’s worth asking your provider, not only whether they understand how to create an integrated setup, but how they would manage it once up-and-running.

Costs

The integration of existing IT structures with SaaS is not as cheap as using cloud-based software alone. And it can take time for any ROI to start appearing. However, it is possible to reduce the longer-term expenditure (and potential headache) of integration by ensuring the work is planned correctly and carried out by a highly skilled cloud consulting firm.

Find out more about the benefits of a hybrid approach to the hosted desktop.

In spite of the daunting challenges of integration, this way of working is on the rise. And, if you want to capitalise on the power of cloud while continuing to benefit from your existing infrastructure, we can design an integrated solution that works for you. To find out how we can help your firm, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 today.

 

[1] https://www.exchangewire.com

[2] Saugatuck Technology

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What should you look for in a hybrid hosted desktop provider?

The hosted desktop is now commonplace in professional services firms. From a user perspective, everything works the same way as a standard computer desktop. But with Desktop as a Service (DaaS), all the files and applications are stored at a datacentre and delivered via the internet. So, for firms looking to make the switch, security can be a concern.

In fact, despite achieving extremely high levels of data security and reliability, for many businesses, trepidations about security are holding back adoption of the cloud. So could a hybrid approach to desktop delivery put minds at rest?

DaaS and VDI. What’s the difference?

Traditionally the only way to run a hosted desktop, with VDI you load a server, hosted in a datacentre, with virtualisation software. Your IT team is then responsible for managing your hardware, software, licensing, and deployment in-house. On the other hand, with DaaS, you simply pay a subscription to access everything your firm needs. All of the hardware is managed and maintained by your service provider.

Of course, the DaaS model is extremely appealing. Not only does it allow your business to benefit from virtual desktops without the upfront costs, but the subscription model also helps you avoid the ongoing infrastructure maintenance and staffing of an on-premises VDI.

However, for firms that want to retain control of their hosted desktop setup, because they just don’t like the idea of storing their data externally, or because they want to capitalise on their existing infrastructure, there is another way.

A hybrid approach to hosted desktops

 Combining DaaS and VDI, the hybrid approach gives firms the best of both worlds. Benefits include:

  • Improved agility. By leveraging the power of the cloud when there are spikes of usage, your firm will benefit from enhanced scalability.
  • Better disaster recovery. By using the cloud for applications that are mostly inactive, you’ll reduce the pressure on your virtual desktop infrastructure and data centre space.
  • Maximised uptime. By removing some of the pressure from in-house servers, you’re less likely to experience outages.
  • Improved access to information. Use the power of the cloud to provide employees with access to all the information they need to do their jobs. And, use your onsite setup to ensure access, even if the internet goes down.
  • Increased confidence. You can keep your sensitive data onsite or in the cloud. And ensure compliance with any regulatory requirements that prohibit data from being stored off-site.
  • Cost savings. Remove some of the burden of upgrading your entire hosted desktop infrastructure and spend only where you need it most.

Hybrid hosted desktop provider

Creating and managing a hybrid cloud solution with a logical network topology and compatibility across infrastructure can prove complicated for many in-house IT teams. As such, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you.

But, what should you look for in a hybrid hosted desktop provider?

  • If you are putting data in the cloud, high-security data centres, robust encryption and all the latest security updates are a must. Make sure you ask your hosted desktop provider about the practices they use to make sure your data is secure. Also check that they comply with the Data Protection Act and any other relevant legislation.
  • Check that your chosen hosted desktop provider can offer a level of guaranteed uptime and continuity protection that is acceptable to your business.
  • Ask your provider if, and how often your data is backed up, how often their backup procedures are tested, and whether they are multiple instances of backups should one host fail.
  • Costs. Make sure you know what you’re getting for your fee. Do they just store your data or do they keep a proactive eye on it to make sure everything is as it should be? How much do they charge to update your software and hardware, and how much will it cost if something goes wrong and you need additional support?
  • Experience. Ask whether they understand how to create and manage a hybrid set up. Can you keep using your business infrastructure and applications, and how will it all work together.

If you want to capitalise on the benefits of DaaS, but are not yet ready to go all-in, we can help design a hybrid solution that works for you.

With our managed approach, IT specialists are watching your system all the time, making sure it’s running smoothly and quickly. Our managed desktop services also boast best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong. Furthermore, at Key Computers, our Cloud Server services consistently achieve the highest level of data security and reliability.

To find out how a hosted desktop can benefit your business, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or request a demo today!

 

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