Over the past few years, businesses have worked to take advantage of virtual desktops by leveraging thin clients for many compelling reasons. Some of the benefits of this sort of client/server configuration include:
- Reduced desk-side support requirements, centralized application and operating system management
- Risk mitigation and increased security with tighter controls
- Affordable hardware refreshes, longer system service life
- Improved control over file storage and retention
- Reduced power consumption
Let’s take a deeper look at these five cost containment benefits.
1. Support and Application Management Consolidation
There are many accounting firms which are eliminating desktop software applications and moving to cloud and online versions of their apps. Network administration is often moved to systems which can manage operating systems centrally (to the extent which the operating systems exist on thin clients).
IT management can be entirely outsourced to third party consultants or require less maintenance in general. Reduced need for maintenance and end user support has a direct impact on your IT budget.
2. Security and Reliability Controls
Taking the onus away from end users to update their anti-virus and govern their application downloading privileges can ensure your network is available, safe, and won’t facilitate data loss. Thin clients ensure users save accounting documents and other files to the central document repository and enforce document privileges over editing, version control, and deletion.
With fewer components to fail in a thin client, user productivity has a lower chance of taking a hit due to the dreaded “blue screen of death”. Repair costs are extremely low on thin client devices, as it is often less costly to replace a faulty unit as opposed to trying to repair it.
3. Longer Lasting, Affordable Device Replacement
Shifting the bulk of the heavy lifting of computing to central server hardware means less wear and tear on client machines. Without the need for hard drive replacement, memory upgrades, or swap outs of components, hardware costs go down, and user productivity is optimized.
Thin clients, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) often simplifies application licensing into subscriptions, streamlining maintenance contracts as well.
4. Centralized File Management
Has your accounting firm ever misplaced a client file or had one corrupted or deleted erroneously? How can you be sure you are working with the latest set of financial data from a client if there have been multiple edits to a P&L statement or balance sheet? Centralized file management, which prevents users from storing documents locally, can ensure your firm is consistently working with an authoritative document.
5. Reduced Power Management
Not only do thin clients leave more room on your desk for your coffee cup and pictures of your kids, they also require less power and produce less heat.
Some thin client devices can have their memory expanded or have other upgrades. Some claim that VDI devices can be proprietary to certain vendors, creating lock-in.
Have you had experience with thin client hardware or the browser-based applications which are optimized for them? What cost savings benefits have you realized? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, 12 Ways for CPA Firms in LA to Utilize Technology More Efficiently.