Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions about 'Office Connect' but to find out how we can make IT work for you, please contact us.
How does 'Office Connect' work?
We take the software applications currently running on your computers and install them on servers in a data centre. Your local PC then simply acts as the screen and keyboard for these servers, connected by the internet. You use the applications just as you always have done, but now they are running on the servers. And because we can connect many PC's to the servers, everybody in your organisation can be using the same programs, the same data, at the same time, from wherever they are. This is technically know as Application Service Provision, or Application Hosting.
Can the applications I am currently using in my office be hosted using 'Office Connect'?
Just about any Windows-based software application can be hosted, including mainstream business applications such as Sage and any bespoke programs that you currently use. The hosted application looks and feels just as if it's running on your own PC.
How do I pay for the service?
The fees are based simply on the number of people using the system in any particular month, with payment being taken by direct debit three weeks after the month end. You only pay for what you use.
Are there any additional charges - do I also have to pay for 'support'?
Not for the standard service. We will make modest charges for some services such as restoring your data from backup should this be necessary because of an error on your part. Support for the application hosting is included in the fee. Specific application support, for example for Sage Accounts, should be arranged with the application supplier.
What happens if I want to add new users, or remove existing ones?
Simply inform us of any changes to your users by email, and we will implement them immediately. You only pay for the users accessing the system in any particular month.
Will I notice a difference in speed using my applications this way?
Not usually. Some programs actually run faster when the application is hosted rather than accessed over a local area network.
How secure is my data?
Very. Connections are encrypted to 128 bits; the servers are protected by firewalls; the data centre is physically secure; all access to your data is limited to your company and is password-protected for the users you specify. Our systems are less vulnerable to virus attack than office networks. In addition, your data is backed up daily to a different physical location to aid disaster recovery.
Should I still back up my data?
Although we back up all data daily, it is good business practice to make your own backups at appropriate times, for instance before and after payroll runs.
Can I really access my applications and data from anywhere?
Anywhere with internet access. From the office, from home, from hotels and airports - anywhere with wireless networking or where there is 3G mobile phone coverage.
How reliable is the service?
As the hosting is done in specialist data centres with sophisticated failsafe systems, uptime is significantly higher than for a typical office network, and broadband connections are extremely reliable.
What happens if I no longer wish to use your services?
You simply stop using them. There is no financial penalty, you just pay for the use you have had. We provide all our clients with an exit strategy so that, if they decide to leave us, they can continue working with their applications and data with the minimum of disruption.
What happens if Symetrics 'disappears' overnight?
All your data is backed up nightly to an independent global on-line backup company. You have unrestricted access to this data 24/7. If you need to go back to working totally on your own computers, for whatever reason, then you can simply download your data, restore it to you local computers, and continue working.
What hardware and software do I need in my office to access hosted applications?
As all the application processing is done on servers, the hardware required to access the applications can be very modest. Any PC capable of running Windows 95 or later should be fine. A web browser is required for the initial set up of the PC for accessing hosted applications, and the PC must have access to the internet. All printing is done locally using your normal office or home printer.
What happens if there are problems with my broadband connection?
Even though broadband connections are extremely reliable, there can still be occasional outages. Our application hosting technology also works over traditional dial-up internet connections, although this can mean a slowdown in speed. For business-critical tasks it would be prudent to have dial-up internet access available on at least one PC in your office.
Still have some questions? Then please contact us.