Advantages of a Terminal Server 

When implementing the INTERAC Accounting System, particularly in a multi-user setting, the advantages of a Terminal Server (Remote Desktop Services) will become readily apparent.

Ease of Access
It is the same Windows desktop interface you are used to using, but because the applications run on the server, it can be accessed using a variety of network devices including a traditional PC, tablet, or thin-client. Not only can your office staff benefit, field personnel and remote staff can easily log in and run their business applications on demand. It is easy to create an icon on your desktop to access or log into the Terminal Server. When logged in, each user gets their own customizable server desktop with their applications and user configuration settings. It is even possible to utilize their own local printers and scanners.

For organizations with multiple locations, this is an easy way to provide access to the INTERAC suite of applications. It can be done with a simple internet connection, or through more secure virtual private network connections. Either way, the data never leaves the server. Only the keystrokes and display information are being transmitted between the server and end user.

It is equally easy for mobile/field users to log into the server and run their applications. The only requirement is an internet connection.

Data Security
Having individual silos of data on each PC can create all kinds of issues with keeping data secure, backed up, and in sync. Because hard drives are one of the most frequent failures on a PC, it is much better to have your files on a server with more robust storage and backup options.

Simply moving data to a file server is better than on the PC because servers typically have higher grade disk drives. Servers also utilize RAID drive configurations to further protect data from drive failures. It is also much easier to run automated backup software on a server, assuring that there are consistent backups done for disaster recovery.

With the Terminal Server you bring the data storage under the control of the server. This allows for much better data security and makes it much easier to assure that important data is properly backed up. This is particularly important with sensitive accounting data. Utilizing proper security protocols, you are able to prevent unauthorized access to your data. In addition to the Windows server security options, INTERAC security controls what portions of the INTERAC suite each user has access to. Because these security settings are centralized to the server, it is very easy to maintain and update security settings when necessary.

System Performance
While it is certainly feasible to utilize a file server for data storage, it can consume significant network resources when opening and saving files. This is likely to create performance issues that can easily be avoided by utilizing a Terminal Server. A file server configuration may be acceptable for small work groups, but we recommend a Terminal Server for workgroups of five or more users.

System Maintenance and Software Updates
Instead of installing the software on each individual PC, there is one master installation on the server, which is shared by all the users. You only have to install and configure the software one time, on one machine. This also means that when updates come, only one installation needs to be updated, making ongoing updates much easier to manage. Running the update on the server takes care of all the users at one time. That is much easier than trying to manage separate installations for an entire workgroup.

Instead of routinely upgrading a whole group of personal computers, you can focus the resources on a single server solution which will better utilize the processing power. With the important business applications hosted on the server, the requirements for the user PC or thin-client are minimal, allowing you to extend the useful life of existing computers. Having the key applications hosted on the server also give you the option of using low cost thin client terminals instead of personal computers.

Remote Desktop (Terminal Server) Technology is built in
The Microsoft Windows Server 2003/2008/2012 operating systems include these capabilities. It is simply a matter of enabling these features and providing the user licenses. Likewise, the desktop operating systems are also capable of running the Remote Desktop client software to connect to the server.

Here are some other resources that might be of interest:

10 reasons why Windows Terminal Services is becoming more popular 
Wikipedia – Remote Desktop Services  
Microsoft TechNet – How Terminal Services Works
Microsoft TechNet – Remote Desktop Services Overview

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