Private clouds for advisory firms usually have a silver lining. Other times, however, they don’t let the sunshine in and can hinder your firm.
Private clouds are nothing new. A private cloud is very often based on old “terminal services” technology that has been around for over a decade. This allows you to put desktop applications on a Web server and use it securely. So instead of keeping a server in your office, you might put it in a hosting facility.
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When using this type of private cloud, you can derive some important benefits. Your apps are accessible from the Web and employees can access them securely from any Web connection. Plus your servers are safer in a hosting facility than in your office.
However, this type of private cloud is not the latest and best technology and has some big disadvantages versus other options for moving to the cloud.
A newer technology for creating private clouds uses “virtualization” to emulate a desktop experience in the cloud. This newer technology allows each user to have his own unique desktop, while the older type of private cloud set up means that all your users see the same desktop. The new private cloud technology makes it easier to manage printers and other peripherals and can offer better security.
But both types of private clouds offer disadvantages when compared with Web applications. Web applications are the most modern ecosystem and will almost always offer the best software and user experience. Software companies are not putting resources into improving desktop apps because Web apps offer much better economies of scale. They don’t need to be hosted in a private cloud and their features are much more easily updated and offer better security.
A4A is going to be offering a series of webinars beginning today to help advisors understand the benefits of private clouds, their drawbacks, and the different kinds of private clouds. The series will be tapping the expertise of IT consulting firms from around the country that focus on serving financial advisors.
We’re going to make this very confusing area of technology understandable and we’re going to tell you how much it costs to do these things right. We’ll explore the limitations of private clouds being offered to advisors by software vendors and explain how Microsoft Office and Exchange fit in with private clouds.
The second session on private clouds is scheduled for Friday, May 14 and will explains the different versins of Microsoft Office and the different ways to integrate Office with an RIA's cloud IT strategy.