Which is more secure: Onsite or offsite servers?

As your company grows, you will eventually reach a point when you must decide whether you want to use onsite or offsite servers. From a cybersecurity perspective, both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Before you make your decision, get more informed about the pros and cons of onsite servers and offsite servers.

The security benefits of onsite servers

Some companies prefer onsite servers because they want full control of their data. They may worry that storing information on offsite servers gives criminals easier access to sensitive data.

As long as you’re willing to spend money on the right equipment and personnel, your business could benefit from onsite servers capable of giving your employees access to cloud solutions.

Security problems with onsite servers

There are a few security issues to consider before you choose onsite servers. Few SMBs can afford to hire IT professionals who focus on server security. Without the right personnel monitoring your system, the network could get infected by malware.

Choosing a reliable network monitoring tool lowers the threat of infection. Monitoring your network, however, isn’t the same thing as adding security that prevents hackers from attacking you. What will you do if you discover a new piece of malware on your network?

There aren’t many IT professionals working for SMBs that can eradicate every trace of malware, especially when the malware has been released recently and an antidote isn’t obvious.

Security benefits of choosing offsite servers

Over the last few years, more companies have started using hosted virtual servers. According to one study, 67 percent of organizations in 2014 relied, at least partially, on hosted systems.

There are several security reasons for companies to choose offsite servers. By choosing an offsite server, you get monitoring and protection from trained professionals. Placing your data in an offsite server also helps protect your business from disasters. If your office suffered a fire, flood, or other disaster, you could lose all of the information on your server. With offsite servers, though, you get added protection for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Keeping data on an offsite server only protects your business when you choose a reliable partner. Make sure you choose a company that takes security and uptime seriously. Otherwise, you won’t get the benefits that you expect.offsite servers

Problems with using offsite servers

While there are numerous benefits to choosing offsite servers, there are also some disadvantages.

Depending on how your partner structures its servers, your network could get infected by malware because of another company that uses the same servers. Without strict walls between accounts, another business’s poor security could hurt you.

You can improve the chance of choosing a reliable partner by asking companies about their rack space, cabinet space, and cage space. You should also ask about the company’s uptime, service level agreement, and data backup redundancy.

A hybrid approach to server security

Since there are pros and cons to both options, it makes sense to consider using a hybrid solution that combines the best qualities of onsite servers with the security advantages of offsite servers.

A hybrid cloud solution can give your business stronger security, automatic data backup, uncompromising performance, and the ability to scale quickly as your organization evolves.

You don’t have to choose between onsite and offsite servers. A hybrid approach might match your company’s needs better than those options.

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DCI Explores ISG's Virtualization and Cloud Services

Industry: Financial

DCI provides full-service bank technology and processing solutions to the financial industry. Headquartered in Hutchinson, Kansas, DCI’s advanced banking solutions include the iCore® bank processing and management system, imaging, Internet banking, networking, teller automation, ATM/card services network, and backroom services. In 2008, iCore won the BankNews Innovative Solutions award for the Best Management Software Solution.


Hundreds of community bank clients count on DCI for core information processing services. With virtually all of their financial transactions reliant on the DCI system, bank clients require around-the-clock application services in conjunction with comprehensive information protection. Bankers also look to DCI for innovation and continued cost efficiencies to help maintain competitiveness in cautious financial markets. But managing critical systems for a demanding and growing client based posed mounting challenges, according to Robert Ross, VP of Network & Technical Services at DCI. “It became increasingly time consuming and labor intensive to protect rapidly expanding volumes of mission-critical financial data and continue to satisfy the time and efficiency needs of modern banks.”

A growing client base, increasing systems complexity, and demands for higher levels of Business Continuity and DR caused DCI to re-evaluate its approach to providing services to its clients.


Virtualize servers on VMware®, deploy multiple NetApp® storage arrays, and automate Disaster Recovery.


John Jones, CEO of DCI, had high praise for the ISG solution. “Moving to the VMware on NetApp environment allows us to deliver near real-time business resumption service to our clients. Whether it’s empowering remote employees with virtual desktops, delivering the processing services clients need to support mobile banking, or providing complete IT services via a private cloud, we have the technology in place to be agile, innovative, and competitive.”
Robert Ross summarized, “By providing full IT services to de novo banks, for example, we can nearly eliminate their initial IT capital investments and staffing requirements. We also help reduce risk. In an age of increasing regulation, offloading compliance and other processing and data management complexities can be a huge advantage for client banks. We now see tremendous opportunity to expand our value to a broad spectrum of bank clients.”

The Bama Companies See Value In Virtualized Desktops

Industry: Hospitality

Founded in 1927,  The  Bama Companies,  Inc., is an innovator of wholesome bakery products, such as hand-held pies, biscuits, buns, pie shells, and pizza crust. Bama serves the Quick Service Restaurants, Fast Casual, Casual Dining, and Broadline Channels of the Foodservice Industry for the largest, most well-known restaurant chains on the planet.

Click to read the case study


Bama had aging PC’s spread across their environment; they were experiencing high support costs, and needed an efficient and cost-effective plan to refresh their PC fleet.

In addition, they wanted to enhance the performance of their user associates Windows desktop environment.

They were also looking for ways to improve process management and deliver secure desktops to their manufacturers and outside the company to employees around the world. Finally, Bama hoped to provide users the same environment across various remote devices.


Eric Spille, Manager of Technical Services for Bama, turned to ISG Technology for assistance with this company-wide project. ISG worked out a program to move the company to Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise so that desktops could be delivered virtually to associates.

ISG conducted an initial pilot with 25 users to provide a proof-of-concept. Based on that success, Spille decided to expand the XenDesktop solution out to all users.

With ISG’s expertise, Bama installed redundant Citrix NetScaler controllers as access brokers to enhance the XenDesktop delivery and significantly improve the user interface.  Additionally, Bama’s Exchange environment is secured by the NetScalers, which handle the security and access processes now. The Netscalers keep their data safe.


Bama replaced old desktops with thin clients for an immediate cost savings and a reduction of their total cost of ownership. Refresh cycles were extended from four to eight years, which doubled the lifespan of their hardware—at half the cost.

“What made everything easier for us was the impressive level of Citrix expertise at ISG,” said Spille. “ISG knows Citrix really well. We felt very fortunate to have access to someone of that caliber. I don’t think anyone in this area even comes close.”

User experience was improved. “We can provide our employees with a Windows desktop with 12 seconds of login,” said Spille. “That’s impressive.”

Bama also experienced several incremental benefits.  “While our main goal was to put a thin client at everyone’s desk, we always struggled with patches in the past,” said Spille. “This new upgrade allowed us to provide over 300 users with a single image. That’s a huge savings and process improvement for us.”

Thanks to the Netscalers, Bama also experienced an increase in data security. Executives and sales associates who access Bama’s network remotely—regardless of device—are only viewing the data they need, without having data reside on the local device itself. Company data remains safely in the data center.

Bama was impressed with ISG’s commitment to the project. “Having a single point of contact really helped the project run smoothly. Hal Davey was truly an advocate for us. ISG asked the right questions,” said Spille. “This allowed us to proactively avoid issues, and get it right the first time.”

More companies starting to see benefits of desktop virtualization

One of the hardest IT assets for organizations to shop for are those that control employee access to software and other network applications. There are so many new technologies emerging all the time that it can be hard for enterprise IT decision-makers to pick which ones are ideal for their business. When choosing the solution that is best for a company, it's important to look at a few key factors: price, functionality and security being chief among them. No matter how fancy and new a technology may be, if it's too expensive, doesn't work the way it needs to all the time and doesn't keep information secure, there's no reason to invest in it. Luckily, the search is over, as desktop virtualization solutions offer businesses all of the access they need with the management and security options necessary to keep critical information protected.

Desktop virtualization solutions are technologies that separate traditional desktop environments from the application software associated with them from the physical device that is used to access them. For companies looking to centralize control over critical information and offer central access to desktop applications for employees working remotely or on the road, hosted desktops or desktops-as-a-service are the most reliable solution. When it comes to the deciding criteria of price, functionality and security, desktop virtualization meets all three.

Desktop virtualization is a cost-effective solution for businesses in two different ways. First, using a virtual desktop infrastructure can save organizations money if they deploy thin client devices in place of desktops. Thin clients usually cost between $200 and $300, whereas fully equipped PCs can cost thousands of dollars.

"VDI technology could save companies more than $150 per desktop every year."

The other way desktop virtualization saves enterprises money is by reducing administrative and maintenance costs. Utilizing VDI technology can reduce costs between 30 and 50 percent for IT administrators by decreasing the need to manage, patch, upgrade and support employees' PCs in a traditional client/server environment. Some vendors have estimated that VDI technology could save companies more than $150 per desktop every year, Forbes reported.

"DaaS is continuing to grow steadily, primarily in the SMB space," observed Kevin Rhone, senior partnering consultant in the Channel Acceleration Practice of Enterprise Strategy Group. "It's all about a lower [total cost of ownership] and the view that managing desktops is not core; it's a 'relatively' low-value task [that] they can and should outsource."

Virtual desktops offer businesses the functionality and security they need at a good price.Virtual desktops offer businesses the functionality and security they need at a good price.

One of the main reasons many business turn to desktop virtualization is to provide improved access for employees that work outside of the office. VDI technology allows staff members to easily use the same programs and applications they would in the office from their personal devices while IT administrators are still able to manage and secure network activity from these remote locations. Utilizing DaaS allow companies to have their PC experience delivered and maintained by a third-party cloud provider. In such a scenario, cloud service providers are in charge of installing the necessary back-end infrastructure to support VDI technology as well as the maintenance and management that goes along with it.

"Another key advantage of DaaS solutions is their ability to provide a very fast desktop experience without the maintenance and cost of an on-site data center — these efficiencies comes through the availability of more reliable — and faster — network connections," said Matthew Hopkins, a research associate with VDC Research, in an interview with TechTarget.

Desktop virtualization and DaaS solutions offer companies greater security by allowing employees a way to access critical enterprise information that can be managed and monitored by IT administrators. Where businesses once had to deal with the consequences of shadow IT that cropped up when impatient staff members wanted to access programs, hosted desktops enable workers to use the same applications and software remotely as they would in the office, cutting down dramatically on the number of unauthorized programs being used and the likelihood that a data breach will occur.

When businesses are looking to adopt new technology such as desktop virtualization, partnering with a trusted third-party service provider is one of the most reliable ways to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Organizations like ISG Technology offer decades of industry experience that allows them to create customized programs that will work for each individual business. ISG​'s knowledgeable staff enables companies to access the support necessary for a successful deployment.