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IRIS for multiple offices or working from home

How do others handle multiple locations accessing the same live IRIS data

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In light of staff working from home & with us looking into opening a second office. How do others access live data on IRIS from more than one location?
As I understand it, the IRIS programme & data can't be held in the cloud. It needs to be on a physical machine at a location.
IRIS are working on a cloud solutions "IRIS Elements" which the estimate will be ready in 3-5.....years!

Currently, we have been using Teamviewer while working from home.
This is ok and allows us to work on our machines which are in the office & so gives access to IRIS like normal.
The lag & lack of multiple screens isn't something that we could use permanently at a second office.

Speaking with IRIS, they do offer a solution (at a sizeable cost, shock) which basically moves the IRIS programme to a machine they have control of. However, all users must then remote into the IRIS programme & data on that machine. So we wouldn't just be paying £60/m for the remote users, we'd be paying the monthly fee for all users.
It's basically the same as teamviewer, but much more expensive.

Our IT guy has suggested that the only options are to either use teamviewer (or similar) as we have done through lockdown, or to take an extract of the data, send it over to the external site, work on it as normal. Then when we're finished, take another extract, send it back to the main site & update the data there.

Is there a better solution we're missing (other than to not use IRIS)?
What do other practicioners do who have multiple offices?

Thanks in advance,
Stay safe & sane.

Replies (9)

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By jon_griffey
12th Nov 2020 12:57

We moved a few years back to Iris hosting. It was one of the best things we ever did and has been an absolute godsend with the lockdown. This does not come cheap but at a stroke our IT worries disappeared overnight. No more worrying about backups, paying for IT support etc and it makes opening a second office or moving premises seamless. If you can get your PC's to access the internet then that's pretty much all the IT knowledge you need.

Don't tool about with extracting/replacing data.

Thanks (1)
By chrisjbrown
12th Nov 2020 13:57

We had this exact same issue when we first went into lockdown. We had been with IRIS for 8 years. They had no solution for us that was cost effective.

We have since moved to TaxCalc and couldn't be happier. It's a better product and much cheaper (we have saved £000's). The software sits on a local PC but the data is in the cloud (similar to Brightpay), so everyone can access. The TaxCalc team migrated the standing data (names, addresses etc), so we just have to import a TB from IRIS.

We didn't use half the features in IRIS anyway, so it was a no brainer. No more tedious software updates and crashing!

The alternative would be to have the IRIS data sat on a server and remote access in via VPN, but you might be limited to one user at a time.

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By SteveHa
12th Nov 2020 14:30

Remote desktop. Everyone logs in to a RD whether they are working in the office or at home via a VPN.

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By paul.k2
17th Nov 2020 20:21


IRIS will run over Terminal / Remote Desktop Server.

It's not as fast as a local install, but it works.

With TS, there were / are some considerations in terms of MS Office licencing, but an MS licencing specialist can advise you on that.

In simple cash terms, running TS is probably less expensive than IRIS hosting, but you need to make sure you are considering all costs. Going hosted still means some sort of local IT and associated services.

I hope that helps.


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Ivor Windybottom
By Ivor Windybottom
17th Nov 2020 21:39

Remote Desktop Connection to your server works. No need to give Iris (more!) money for hosting. Iris works fine, but the client search function seems slow and may occasionally crash out. Otherwise seems very workable.

RDC allows you to access everything else on your office server too, so is more flexible.

What have you said in your disaster recovery plan? Surely that would have addressed the unavailability of the office, such as for fire, floods, virus, etc.??!!

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Elliott Chandler Picture
By elliottchandler
18th Nov 2020 01:15

Moving to a cloud desktop is certainly the next trend. It removes the worry about backup and Disaster Recovery. We use Microsoft Azure to host all the services and then local PCs can be very basic. Yes it is a revenue costs but tie that in with Microsoft 365 and it is very simple.

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By Steven Dring
18th Nov 2020 09:02

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.
Much appreciated!

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By paul.k2
25th Mar 2021 13:48

Iris have just released a very glossy video telling us about an 'Elements' event in May.

We are about to make a decision on new servers etc. and this could have a significant effect on what we do.

Does anyone know what it is they are announcing and more importantly when it will be available


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Replying to paul.k2:
Elliott Chandler Picture
By elliottchandler
25th Mar 2021 23:43

Why wait for another company who might or might not release a product that might or might not provide a software solution. Decide on your requirements, work with your technology partner (if you have one) or CTO and make a plan yourself.

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