The term “cloud” has come to be synonymous with the internet. Cloud services often mean having a server either at your own or a distant location that can serve as a host to provide software and data anywhere and anytime via mobile devices such as wireless notebooks, tablets and smartphones.
Some of the many benefits touted for this approach are these:
If using a company that specializes in providing web-hosting, you are sharing their resources with many others and therefore paying less in the near term than investing in your own servers and security systems.
Updates to your software can be provided automatically by the developers or publisher rather than you having to be concerned with this task.
Backups of your data can be automatically performed on schedule.
With authorization, users can access information wherever internet services are available.
If you choose to have your own servers provide web-hosting, you are essentially creating a private cloud in which you retain control but still receive all the other benefits of this approach.
There are many organizations, however, that feel that security and privacy of information are still major concerns that need to be rectified before they will move wholeheartedly into the cloud. Indeed, if you tune in to the press in computer-related journals, the majority of topics are concerned with security. Major companies with tremendous resources such as Sony have had their cloud-based offerings hacked. One of the major providers of internet-based data backup has been found to be selling information on their customers. Sometimes internet-based operations are out of service for days on end.
A lot of the cloud services are applications that are not mission critical — if one piece goes down, it's not going to cause massive damage to your business. The truly mission critical applications that are the core of your business need to be as secure and controlled as possible.
Nearly a quarter of businesses said they do not trust any of their data to the cloud, or an outsourced data center, and manage their own computing equipment, whether the center is within their own building or at a co-location center.
A greater percentage of businesses are maintaining their own control of their core business applications and information, but judiciously providing internet access where there will be benefit to their services. Some examples are allowing customers to enter an order, then to track its fulfillment and shipping progress, providing schedules and rates for viewing and selection, links to partner programs, opportunity to give comments and feedback
Worthwhile Ways to Use the Internet
Both QuickBooks and DentaLab for QuickBooks (DQB) offer a number of worthwhile ways to use the Internet:
QuickBooks invoices, statements and reports can be emailed to customers.
Credit/debit card and other payment solutions can post directly into your QuickBooks customer accounts.
DQB email notifications provide reports to the dental offices on cases received and shipped.
Through the DentalRx supplement, online prescriptions, preferences, pickup requests and other memos from the dental office communicate directly with your DQB database. This can be linked directly from your website.
Graphics sent electronically by dental offices, scanned images or any other file such as digital impressions can become part of each case’s record for quick lookups, communications in DQB.
Remote access from an authorized computer can use your lab system for entry, viewing, analysis, and support of both QuickBooks and DQB.
Tablet apps for mobile devices such as Apple’s IPad, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 8 to track case assignments and progress, timings, workloads and schedules.
With QuickBooks Pro Plus, you can use a mobile device to view/update customer information, create/view/email invoices, estimates and sales receipts.
To those labs needing remote access on a regular basis, we highly recommend Remote Desktop Services (RDS), which is a technology offered by Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and above. Some of the benefits of RDS are:
1. Multiple users can access applications, databases and virtual desktops tied to a central server. The users can be local or at a remote location.
2. Administration and security measures are simplified because software needs to be installed only on the server rather than on each client station.
3. Application programs can be accessed remotely via a web page, an icon or an access point in the Start Menu of the remote station.
4. This technology can provide significant long-range savings in time and money that easily recoup the licensing and installation cost.
The Continuing Role of the Desktop
Although there has been much focus on the increasing use of mobile devices such as the tablets and smartphones, the desktop computers continue to play a central role in maintaining the information base. These continue to offer many advantages:
· They are more secure.
· They last a longer time.
· You do not need to be concerned with battery life,
· They are cheaper and more powerful.
· You can plug-in a variety of peripherals.
· They provide larger screens.
· You can have multiple monitors to multi-task
· Fixing is easy, replacement parts are readily available and easily installed.
If you have further questions…
You can contact the support team at Mainstreet Systems at: