The idea of desktop virtualization has long been promising businesses an opportunity to empower end users regardless of the device they use. The idea has been simple enough - host the apps, services and data involved in a user's desktop experience in the data center and deliver it out to a virtualized partition on an end-user device. This solves plenty of problems in the modern enterprise. Want users to leverage personal devices without too much risk? Create a virtual desktop. Want to extend the life of end user computers? Enable your workforce to access critical information regardless of where they might be working?
The problem with all of this promise is that it is incredibly difficult to deliver in practice. IT teams have long used terminal servers or virtualized desktops to provide this kind of flexibility, but both solutions come with considerable management overhead. In the case of desktop virtualization systems, companies must roll out configurations of virtualized servers and robust network systems to get data out to users, and often face high costs and incredible complexity. This leaves organizations facing a difficult decision - sacrifice the ability to fully support the business and streamline end-user operations or pay heavily and deal with extensive management overhead. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions are changing this dynamic by providing the end-user functionality of desktop virtualization, but through a subscription program that keeps costs and complexity under control.
How does DaaS deliver
A DaaS solution establishes all of the underlying infrastructure and platform functions of a virtual desktop system within a hosted cloud environment. This means that the vendor is deploying and managing all of the systems spread throughout their data center. Subscribing organizations are only paying a subscription fee based on the number of users accessing the system. This creates a situation in which the end-user benefits of desktop virtualization become available without the costs of infrastructure commitments that come with an in-house virtual desktop setup.
With the technical barriers to desktop virtualization out of the way, DaaS makes it easier for IT teams to support business needs. Three of the most noteworthy benefits of a DaaS system include:
1. Improve disaster recovery and business continuity
Something as simple as a snowstorm can prevent workers from getting into the office, derail productivity and limit your company's ability to support clients. With a DaaS solution in place, workers can get the job done on any device as long as they have an internet connection. If the internet goes down at your office, employees can hop over to a cafe or head home and work there. If they can't get to work one a day, they can still be available to respond to client demands. Disaster recovery and business continuity strategies are critical components of any business, and DaaS solutions simplify planning by making users less dependent on any one device or network location.
"Desktop virtualization has the potential to disrupt how people work."
2. Flexibility for the end user
With smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers all still playing a role in many people's lives, the ability to easily hop between devices based on which is available and best for a task is critical. However, varied functionality for apps and services across devices can limit a user's ability to work flexibly. Furthermore, work must synchronize across disparate devices in order to fully empower users to move between devices. Desktop virtualization eliminates these technical hurdles by hosting apps and services in a common underlying environment, ensuring that a worker can start a task in one place, get called away somewhere else, login to the virtual desktop and pick right up again.
3. Improve Intellectual Property protection
While it is difficult to imagine a colleague stealing from your business, insider threats are a major problem that organizations must be prepared to deal with. Protecting intellectual property can be difficult when users have relatively easy access to data and the ability to move that information and control it. A DaaS solution keeps all of the information stored in the secure corporate managed cloud environment, not the end-user device. Because of this, users cannot readily take data from the device and steal IP. That isn't to say it is entirely impossible for individuals to perform IP theft, but DaaS makes it much more difficult and more noticeable.
Desktop virtualization has the potential to revolutionize how people work for the better, and DaaS solutions are making the technology accessible. The key is to find the right vendor for your needs, and technology consultants with market knowledge can help businesses identify DaaS vendors that can meet their specific demands. Finding the right cloud doesn't have to be overwhelming.