What is Virtualization and Why are Small Businesses Missing Out?
Posted by Resource Nation on December 23, 2013 in Business Technology [ 1 Comment ]
Virtualization, the technical practice of creating a virtual system, like a storage device, is no longer a technology solely popular among large organizations, according to a recent Cisco FlexPod Express Study.
Research shows 77 percent of small to medium-sized businesses have implemented some sort of virtualization, and with success. For example, the Aledo Independent School District recently virtualized upwards of three-fourths of their machines, successfully simplifying its own IT management and streamlining online test administration. The decision, Brooks Moore, AISD’s manager of technology services, said in a VMWare case study, has lead to more savings than the school’s most enthusiastic expectations. Not only is Aledo cutting costs where it expected to, such as power consumption, but the efficiencies afforded by the new streamlined system have saved the school district in gas for vehicles and labor costs.
Small businesses may be wary of signing up, as the trend is traditionally popular with larger organizations, but there are a number of ways they can still benefit.
Say Goodbye to Old Machines
An old adage for reaching success in business is “find a niche market and dominate it,” which is what many small to medium-sized companies are striving for today. However, being in such specific markets, businesses are regularly finding themselves dependent upon one or two pieces of software unique to the industry. If the developer goes out of business or the software becomes unsupported, an organization could be looking at exceedingly expensive solutions.
To avoid the complications, both technical and financial, that come from finding, purchasing and installing new systems, businesses can virtualize their machines. Virtualization will allow companies to continue without having to go through the hassle of replacing costly software. Of course, running unsupported software is not an ideal situation, running unsupported software. But when the alternative is outside of an business’ realistic budget, it’s the best and, often, only solution.
Related: Need to update your phone system?
Beef Up Safeguards
Despite the high profile cyber attacks that seem to pepper the headlines, digital intrusions are not limited to large, multinational corporations. In fact, small businesses, because of how susceptible they can often be, are enticing targets for hopeful hackers. Keeping a sturdy line of defense against such attacks should be a priority for any company that regularly requires or even allows employees Internet access.
While comprehensive cyber security programs can be overly expensive, virtualization serves as a more affordable means to combat online criminals. With virtualization, companies can limit Web activity to the virtual environment. If an intrusion happens, the user would then only have to restart the machine to erase any malicious software the culprit may have left.
Work On the Go
While the work day may end at 5 p.m., running an effective business requires an around-the-clock effort. Before such diligent work might have required hour-long phone calls and frequent trips to meet with clients, but advancement in mobile technologies has made operating a successful organization a bit more convenient. Unfortunately, even as we have made surfing the Internet at 20,000 feet as easy as a poke from a finger, some applications still siloed, requiring a desktop PC.
Virtual environments work to circumvent those barriers, allowing employees to use remote desktop protocols for iOS, Android and Windows RT. What’s more, applications can be bundled and dispersed within the environment, making sharing between machines quick and simple.
Related: How to Build a Robust BYOD Policy
Share With Ease
Establishing a company-wide virtual environment opens a lot of doors in terms of enhancing communication. Sharing a connected work space, albeit virtual, allows employees to seamlessly share ideas and information. It’s especially effective for companies who want to create their own wiki. Employees can house relevant data on the internal platform, and if the idea really starts to grow, businesses can later move the wiki to a dedicated server.