Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is becoming increasingly popular in a wide variety of mid-market and enterprise businesses today. Companies are seeking solutions that are secure, reliable, and efficient, especially in an environment where cyber threats are greater than ever. DaaS solutions also offer protection from natural disasters or other risks to physical equipment since cloud-based data centers provide more consistent access to users regardless of their location. Furthermore, DaaS helps IT manage and govern hundreds or thousands of scattered devices around the globe. In a world where a remote workforce is now the norm, DaaS is fast becoming the go-to solution to improve both productivity and security.
Understanding DaaS Options
As the virtual desktop space has grown, many solutions have flooded the market. Matching available DaaS solutions with a company’s existing virtual desktop needs is key to a successful implementation. Here is a primer exploring popular examples of DaaS:
Some DaaS solutions are designed to serve multiple tenants on the same system while providing the security and privacy each company needs. Platform engineers of such DaaS systems manage the portions common to all customers, while each customer has its own virtual LAN for individual requirements, including the ability to comply with industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA. Both Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop and VMware Horizon DaaS offer multi-tenant solutions.
Public Cloud Offerings
Azure Virtual Desktops and Amazon Workspaces are considered public cloud offerings. Although Azure Virtual Desktops is a relatively recent release, the platform has received widespread positive reviews and is a solid choice for teams that are already using Windows and Microsoft apps. Plus, users can take advantage of Azure’s vast ecosystem of software solutions to further customize their program. Amazon Workspaces is a proven solution for some. Both are a good fit for organizations that want to build and manage their own customizations and ancillary components of their larger virtual desktop system.
Evolve IP’s virtual desktop solution meets the needs of those companies that do not require every employee to have full virtual desktop access. With many businesses running roughly half of their applications through various software-as-a-service solutions, many employees no longer need full DaaS access. That said, companies are then faced with security and control issues as well as difficulties managing legacy and server-based technologies in a seamless manner. Finding flexible yet secure options, such as Evolve IP’s virtual desktop solution that leverages multi-session configuration to support adaptability, will be required in these use cases.
Since desktops and laptops are compatible with all the examples of DaaS technologies being discussed, many cost-conscious organizations may want to simply stick with current technologies as long as possible.
On the other hand, businesses that are looking to replace clients or invest in new technology may want to consider thin clients, which is a stripped-down operating system and browser platform. Thin clients work well with VMware’s DaaS, Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and Evolve IP’s virtual desktop solutions.
Zero clients, on the other hand, have no operating system at all. The devices boot directly to the login prompt of the virtual desktop provider. This one-size-fits-all approach allows locking devices down to only a virtual desktop. The potential downfall is that zero clients may not support peripherals like check scanners, printers, and other USB devices. Companies going the zero client route should take special care to ensure that their IT is certified for the chosen DaaS solution and explore whether the selected service can support the desired desktop experience.
Before choosing a DaaS solution for your organization, you’ll want to address a few other considerations as well:
Legacy Application Management
Just over a decade ago, the majority of applications used by businesses resided on internally managed servers, which required desktop computers to access legacy-based tools. As servers moved to the cloud, employees required virtual desktops in order to access these legacy applications. At the same time, companies moved rapidly to SaaS applications, reducing the number of legacy applications down to only a few. Today, DaaS solutions allow companies to publish legacy applications to the user, making the experience similar to a SaaS experience without the virtual desktop middleman.
A question of how a DaaS partner manages security is an important one for all companies to consider. Cyberattacks and ransomware are major problems today, threatening the very existence of unprepared companies. Using DaaS solutions alone can reduce a business’ risk because end-user devices cannot transmit infections and ransomware back into the data center infrastructure. Be sure that your DaaS solution does not allow users to login directly to SaaS applications, which can increase vulnerabilities. Instead, a centralized, secure method for entry into only the necessary applications per user should be created.
One common disadvantage to using an external DaaS provider compared with managing a virtual desktop solution internally is the potential loss of control. This can become apparent in provisioning protocols, which can be time-consuming and manually based. For businesses working with DaaS solution providers, this may result in a long-time lag to onboard new employees or remove employees leaving the organization, affecting productivity and security.
With Evolve IP’s virtual desktop solutions, however, adding or removing virtual workstations is a simple process. For example, if your company needs to scale up rapidly for peak or seasonal demand, new or temporary employees can be given secure access to the portions of your IT system needed to begin their work immediately. At the same time, unneeded access is blocked, keeping your overall system more secure and compliant. Once that peak season ends and you no longer need those contract employees, privileges can be immediately revoked, which means no unauthorized access and fewer vulnerabilities to your cloud-based infrastructure exists.
Total Cost of Ownership
The majority of DaaS solution providers require that customers purchase a certain number of seats. Ancillary parts and services such as remote monitoring and management, anti-virus software, operating system, patching services, and technical support, are then added to the per seat cost. This amounts to an average of about $90 per DaaS seat. Businesses that choose a more flexible system, as offered by Evolve IP, can reduce their total cost of ownership by purchasing only the services each user requires, not necessarily an entire DaaS seat for every employee, which has the potential to drastically reduce overall cost.
Ready to Learn More?
DaaS is an excellent solution for today’s modern workplace, facilitating remote work environments with optimal governance and security. By taking into consideration the strengths of the different examples of DaaS solutions discussed above, your organization can ensure that you are purchasing the right system for your company’s specific needs.
To learn more about how Evolve IP’s virtual desktop solutions make the future of work better for everyone, contact us today for a free consultation.