The key benefits of hosted desktops to construction companies are that they allow construction company employees to access 3D modeling software and its associated files from anywhere with any device; provide a single online workspace for all of their employees’ applications and files; and increase the security of their data.
Lower Cost, Anywhere-Accessible 3D Modeling Software
Most construction companies use 3D modeling software rather than old-fashioned paper to draw up the blueprints for their construction projects these days. To be useful, these resource-intensive applications usually need to be installed on especially powerful computers with advanced graphics hardware.
If you install or host your 3D modeling software onsite, you will have to purchase expensive, high-end PCs or servers yourself (the graphics-centric Mac Pro workstation, for example, starts at $3,000). In addition, if you install the software onto a PC, you won’t be able to access the software from any other devices.
If you install 3D modeling software on a hosted desktop, in contrast, your costs will be lower (instead of having to purchase the entire physical server, you only have to rent a portion of it for your hosted desktop, and you’ll share all of the hosting provider’s other costs with your fellow customers), and you’ll be able to access the software from anywhere with any device.
The anywhere-accessibility of hosted desktops lets construction company employees access their 3D modeling software, and all of their electronic blueprints, from the construction site itself.
In addition, many construction companies have several offices, each one in a different location. These companies can provide employees in all of its locations with access to 3D modeling software and all of its associated data with a single deployment of hosted desktops, instead of having to deploy the software at each location.
Hosted desktops can also be used to provide non-employees with temporary access to the construction company’s 3D modeling software and its electronic blueprints, which can be helpful for ones that involve external contractors or partners in their projects.
All Your Applications and Files in a Single Online Workspace
Most construction companies need their employees to be able to access applications besides 3D modeling software, of course. These applications include construction-related software such as construction project management software like Sage 300/Timberline (which includes scheduling, task management, cost estimation, document management, personnel management, and bid management features) and generic project management software like Microsoft SharePoint; and non-construction-related software like Microsoft Exchange (email); Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access; and accounting software like QuickBooks or Sage 50.
With hosted desktops, construction employees will be able to access all of these applications and files in a single online workspace. They won’t have to log in separately to multiple different hosted solutions or worry about transferring files from one hosted solution to another, as they would if they signed up for standalone hosted applications or SaaS.
Increased IT Security
Hosted desktops don’t store any of their data on the hard drives of their users’ devices; instead, their data remains on the hosting provider’s servers at all times. In addition, because hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere with any device, there’s no reason for users to transfer the data on their hosted desktops to the hard drives of their devices or to an online storage service to make the data more accessible.
Keeping your data on the hosting provider’s servers at all times increases the security of your data, since the hosting provider’s servers are better protected than users’ devices, and users’ devices are more likely to be lost or stolen. It also prevents data loss, since most hosting providers automatically back up all of the data on their clients’ hosted desktops on a regular basis.
Though construction companies may not have to worry about protecting sensitive customer data such as payment card data and health records, as companies in the financial services, retail, and healthcare industries do, they still have to worry about preventing their data from being stolen, misplaced, or accidentally or purposely deleted, which could result in delayed or canceled projects, regulatory violations, and your inability to produce evidence when defending yourself from lawsuits.
There are also some cases where construction companies do have to worry about protecting their data from unauthorized access, such as when the data is associated with a sensitive asset such as a power plant, dam, or military installation.