Managing corporate networks from a central location with ease used to only be feasible for larger companies able to license expensive management software (such as Microsoft System Center). However, times are changing and there now are a wide array of options geared towards small and midsized companies.
One such solution, which fits the needs of small businesses while providing a solid set of services, is GFI Cloud. GFI Cloud is a service developed by GFI, which allows IT administrators and business owners to view the status of workstations and servers within their networks all from a centralized location.The application works as a simple installer which can be deployed across your workplace network. GFI Cloud simplifies IT management in a matter of only five steps. After a simple install process, the computers on the network will appear within the GFI web console. By using a “cloud” approach, GFI allows administrators to access their workspaces from any internet connected computer right out of the box. Within the console, administrators simply enable the services they want on specific systems with the click of a mouse.
GFI offers a couple of key services within its cloud suite which are crucial for virtually every business. The first service is allowing administrators to view the complete status of all connected computers via a central control panel. From ensuring security tools are running (i.e. anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls); administrating patches, updates and system services; and also viewing a full inventory of the hardware within the systems (which is vital for asset tracking purposes), GFI Cloud provides enterprise grade monitoring at a price palatable for small businesses. Within the monitoring, administrators are able to receive alerts for systems which are not updated or which have critical services disabled, and they are able to make any necessary changes remotely. Most notably, GFI Cloud can also be installed on corporate servers, allowing companies to further simplify their overall IT overhead costs.
Another key service of GFI is that it provides anti-virus within the cloud interface. This differs from your typical locally installed suites because updates are administered in real-time which helps prevent infections from new threats, and it also allows for simplified management regardless of the computers location.
GFI Cloud is priced at only $12/year per system making it an affordable option for many small businesses. One caveat however is that the package has a 10 system minimum and that all subscriptions purchased must expire at the same time. Regardless, GFI Cloud is priced at a reasonable level considering the benefits it provides, especially for small business where having a full-time IT staff is not feasible.
For companies with less than ten computers, another solution similar to GFI Cloud is Soluto. Soluto is similar to GFI in that it allows designated users to: remove applications from startup to speed up bootups, troubleshoot applications which are triggering system crashes, install crucial applications to help enhance productivity, spot when hardware repairs are needed, and also upgrade applications without interfering on the end users workflow.
Soluto is free for up to five computers and is well suited for very small businesses and even non-commercial users.