How are organisations meeting the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce? In a digital world, users may be able to work from any location at any time, but they need much more than a laptop or tablet to be productive. They have to be able to access corporate documents and applications securely whenever they need them, from whichever endpoint device they’re using. (That includes legacy applications, not just documents.) They expect self-service and self help – they don’t want to have to call up IT Support for every small query or problem, or when they forget their password. And all of this has to be totally reliable and available at any time.
In-house VDI was once the solution of choice for mobile working, but it came at a significant cost in terms of administration. So we’re currently seeing increased interest in cloud-based desktop as a service (DaaS), perhaps driven by the recent launch of Azure virtual desktop.
By using DaaS to provide managed end user devices to each employee, users get the benefits of a ‘desktop’ on their chosen endpoint device whilst their organisation no longer requires extensive in-house infrastructure. Costs are further reduced a subscription model for applications, rather than a per user licencing model. One of the key advantages of DaaS is the ability to scale up and down quickly to suit changing numbers of users, so you only pay for the capacity you need. Centralised management makes it easier to add and remove users.
What’s less frequently discussed about DaaS are its security benefits. With DaaS, data is held on the cloud server and backed up centrally instead of being held on the endpoint device. Users can log in whenever and from wherever they want, and if a device is lost, no data stored on it. DaaS is particularly helpful when establishing a ‘Zero Trust’ environment, which my colleague Neville discussed in a previous blog. Centrally managed desktops can be easily patched and updated to keep them secure. And all applications are “sandboxed”, so if there’s a security problem on one device, there’s a much smaller risk of the problem spreading.
The key question organisations need to ask themselves is how best to deliver DaaS. Do they want to use their in-house IT team to handle support, patching etc., or could this be handled more effectively by an external specialist, freeing up in-house staff to spend more time on digital initiatives rather than managing infrastructure?
We’ve been providing managed DaaS for several years to organisations ranging from engineering consortium BFK to Bristol Community Health, so we’ve had plenty of experience in tailoring it to the needs of very different organisations. We also offer 24x7x365 UK Service Support, so users working outside core business hours can get support when they need it most. We also have extensive desktop experience, so we can help you compare the pros and cons of each approach to work out what’s best for your particular needs.