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Firm Management

2017 Reviews of Hosting Providers

Today, business owners and employees alike use a variety of methods to access software, including iOS and Android smartphones. IT staff has been pared down or eliminated as the need to install and maintain multiple software products on a local ...

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When I began reviewing software products many years ago, the majority of products I received for review were sent to my home in the form of a CD. One of the earliest issues I remember dealing with was the inadequacy of my hardware when attempting to install the software on my computer.

As software companies began to change from CD installation to a simpler product download, the issue lessened but still didn’t disappear. After all, I was still using my hardware to install the software.  

As deployment methods continued to change, I found that accessing the software online using Software as a Service (SaaS) for accessibility made reviewing software a much easier process, as I could access the product at any time, as long as I had Internet connectivity.

Today, business owners and employees alike use a variety of methods to access software, including iOS and Android smartphones. IT staff has been pared down or eliminated as the need to install and maintain multiple software products on a local desktop or application server has slowly begun to disappear.

Of course, the option to install and maintain software on local servers still exists, and many business owners have faithfully stuck to this model, not comfortable with having confidential documents stored on the cloud, rather in their office.

But with state of the art security, solid product support options, and the ability to eliminate the tedious process of installing and configuring software, even small business owners are turning to application hosting as a viable solution for their software needs.

There are tremendous benefits of employing an application hosting provider, including the following:

  • Reduced expenses. A significant reduction in hardware and related IT expenses. Chances are that your current IT people can be much more effectively deployed in your office. As a bonus, the amount of money spent on hardware peripherals will drop tremendously as the need for powerful machines with powerful price tags attached disappears.
  • Instant gratification. Imagine having immediate access to your applications, rather than spending time installing and configuring the product.
  • Convenient access. I still work with businesses and organizations that do not offer remote access to their applications. While this may not be an issue for some smaller businesses, even the smallest business may need to access their files from a location other than their office. This issue is immediately eliminated with application hosting.
  • Reliability. For those that need to have access to their software at all times, application hosting can offer the perfect solution. Most application hosting software vendors offer a guaranteed uptime for their product to ensure that the product is accessible at all times.
  • Your data is secure. Data is guaranteed secure, using bank-level security and encryption to ensure that data is safe whether in transit or simply residing on the server.
  • Automatic updates and robust support options are available. No longer do you have to worry about whether you have the most up to date version of the software. All updates are provided automatically. And you’ll no longer have to hunt around for the telephone number for support. All support inquiries are handled from a single location.
  • Easy product integration. No longer will you have to worry about the intricacies of managing multiple software products. With all products hosted on a single server, users can concentrate on their work, rather than keeping the software products running smoothly.
  • Scalability. One of the biggest risks business owners make is purchasing the software that they need today with the knowledge that depending on the growth or expansion of the business, the software may be relatively useless in five years. This issue is also eliminated with the use of application hosting, as users can add applications when necessary.

In this issue, we took a look at six application hosting products. The products range from simple QuickBooks hosting, to the ability for business owners to create a custom server with the applications they need. The products include:

Our included chart displays the common features found in each of these products, making it easier to find the application hosting solution that would work best for the needs of your firm, or your client’s business. Whether you’re interested in having a single application hosted, or a dozen, the application hosting providers here can be a good starting point for your search.


See inside October 2017

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