TL; DR: Your Office Anywhere (YOA), part of the Cardium Group, specializes in hosted desktop solutions fit for the times. The technology allows employees to work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, accessing apps, documents, and data in the same manner as in-office workers. Best of all, YOA’s UK team takes care of server support, including antivirus software, Windows updates, backups, and resource monitoring.
It may have happened more than a decade ago, but I clearly remember the first time I got my work email successfully synced up with my iPhone. Sure, the technology seems unremarkable now. Back then, it was incredible, breaking down barriers to communication as we knew it.
Today, employees everywhere are experiencing that same sense of triumph as hosted desktop solutions allow them to access applications, documents, and data from almost any device. With Your Office Anywhere, for example, users can complete everyday business tasks — like checking customer information in a CRM or running a core business application — from any location.
Your Office Anywhere (YOA) allows organizations to eliminate local onsite servers and their associated costs. The cloud-based solution is billed per account via pay-as-you-go plans that permit users to increase or decrease user accounts based on demand. All accounts come backed by full server support, including security, resource monitoring, backups, and software updates.
“It’s a completely managed service,” said Ian Sutherland, Business Development Manager at Your Office Anywhere. “Most of our customers aren’t IT people. They need a provider like us who will look after everything technical for them. All they have to do is pay a bill each month.”
Ian told us that YOA offers a unique selling proposition in that all customers are treated with the same high-quality care, whether they’ve signed up with one account or 100. Engineers are available 24/7 to assist with the company’s dedicated remote desktop servers, which are safely housed within secure UK-based datacenters.
From Consultancy to Managed Hosted Applications
YOA’s origins as an IT consultancy company helped shape its current hosted desktop approach, in which every customer is treated as unique, and every solution is tailor-made.
“We started as an enterprise IT consultancy working with large corporations like Heinz,” Ian said. “Around 2006, we started offering hosted Microsoft Exchange, allowing businesses to get rid of their Microsoft Small Business Servers.”
It wasn’t long until customers wanted to offload other servers, such as the ones they used to run accounting or CRM software.
“We started offering what we call hosted desktops, but the solution evolved into so much more than that,” Ian said. “It’s a hosted server for people to run their desktop applications on. We started offering the service in a small-scale way in the mid-2000s, refining the process over time.”
Ultimately, the product evolved into a fully managed service that freed small-business owners from the shackles of infrastructure maintenance. Rather than focusing on the hosting infrastructure behind their accounting software, entrepreneurs could concentrate on their passions.
Over the years, the company began to serve niche markets by offering cloud hosting for software such as Microsoft Access, Microsoft Office, and Sage Accounts.
“A lot of developers were looking for some way to host databases because you can’t really host them as web services — they need to be at a desktop application,” Ian said. “The remote desktop platform that we had was perfect for Microsoft Access. Today, people from literally all over the world use YOA to host Access databases.”
Eliminate the Hidden Costs of Server Management
The YOA team welcomed scores of new customers in 2020 as pandemic-affected businesses searched for remotely accessible business solutions. The company’s goal was to help new and existing companies adopt new working environments while saving time and money.
“If you do the math, there’s a high cost to buying a server, Windows licenses, and software, and employing IT administrators to look after that server and fix things when they go wrong,” Ian told us. “At some point, that server’s going to get old, the operating system will become outdated, and you’re going to have to do it all over again.”
Scalability is another consideration when choosing between self-hosted and cloud solutions. Ian said that, even though the initial cost of a server may be cheaper than hosting, the flexibility of a hosted solution allows businesses to grow without significant infrastructure changes.
“If you buy a server, do you buy an expensive one that you might not need but will work if your business grows, or do you buy one that will work for now and replace it later? Those sort of issues disappear with hosted services because you can scale in minutes.”
Businesses must also factor in security and compliance when calculating the cost of ownership. To that end, all information is housed in ISO 27001-certified datacenters in compliance with GDPR. All data sent over the internet is first encrypted, the team performs regular backups, and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) technology is available for added security.
“Your typical business might have one lock on the front door,” Ian said. “How secure is the data on their servers? On the disaster side of things, if that server gets encrypted by ransomware, what are you going to do? These are the hidden costs of server ownership.”
Differentiation Through Top-Notch Support
Though the underlying technology is essentially the same, all of YOA’s services are individually tailored to suit the needs of users in various industries.
“We present our services in different ways based on the needs of customers in various industries,” Ian said. “The commonality is that we’re providing a Windows remote desktop server that has the customers’ desired applications on it so they can log on to access those applications while backed by an entire managed solution.”
Customers can choose from an arrangement of recommended hosted options intended for developers, accountants, financial service providers, charities, healthcare workers, retailers, and manufacturers, among others. A software developer, for example, might need a SQL server hosting service, while a retailer might turn to YOA because it offers a consistent operations experience between branches.
“A lot of our business does come from companies that write traditional desktop software and are looking for a platform for running applications in the cloud,” Ian said. “They don’t want to have to go and recode everything to run as a web application, so they just come to us.”
YOA also provides value-added services for MSPs that help them attract and retain clients. “IT providers come to help their customers move toward the client in many cases,” Ian said. “We offer a path for them to increase their portfolios by becoming resellers.”
Investments to Support Users Working from Home
YOA anticipates increased demand as business leaders realize that working from home spares them massive real estate costs. The company recently invested in a new, SSD-based storage system and upgraded to 10 Gigabit internal switches.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into enhancing the performance of the platform recently,” Ian said.
The company also plans to expand its offerings in terms of licenses and subscriptions. For example, customers can purchase monthly or lifetime Sage licenses through YOA at up to 40% less than Sage’s retail price.
“We’re licenses and subscriptions, which is good because it’s another side to our business — one more channel for making customers’ lives easier.”