If you’re like many organizations today, you may be exploring Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platform solutions for your business. According to Gartner, “by 2024, 80% of all virtual desktops served to remote users will be DaaS up from fewer than 30% today.” The COVID-19 global pandemic has accelerated the trend toward remote working environments, and governance and security issues continue to top the priority list for IT departments around the country. DaaS offers an affordable and viable solution for both situations.
DaaS platforms provide companies with a subscription-based virtual desktop system that is housed in the cloud. Operating systems, software, and applications are securely and centrally located, which means updates and cybersecurity are easier to manage and burdens are lessened for the IT departments of customer organizations.
Employees, contractors, or others who need access to your company’s infrastructure can easily and securely access it from any location, workstation, or device. Once you’ve made the decision to move to a desktop as a service solution, the next obvious question is how to choose among the many options available today. Below are some key considerations.
Understand Your Needs
The first step is to understand your information technology infrastructure, including operating systems, software, and applications. You’ll also want to appreciate how your employees interact with your systems and data to determine what features you will need in your DaaS platform. Work styles, workflows, and technology needs will all play an important role in your decision.
Take a look at the features offered by DaaS vendors to see if they match your current needs. That can help narrow down the playing field, which will allow you to evaluate costs.
Although one of the main cost savings of employing a DaaS solution is the reduced demand on your IT department, you’ll need to factor in ongoing costs that include not only your monthly subscription price but also things like networking and potential usage based items like storage if that’s not included in your DaaS’ vendor’s pricing package. Review the fine print for things like fees for minimum terms or numbers of seats. The best solution allows you to pay as you need to scale up.
In addition, if you’re already operating a virtual desktop interface (VDI) in your own data center, you may want to consider sunk costs like software licenses and other investments you’ve already made internally.
Be sure that the Desktop as a Service vendor you select offers a modern, cloud-based platform as well as focus and expertise on end-user experience. Take the time to research the potential partner’s reputation and talk with other customers to see how satisfied they have been. Consider how much experience each vendor has had with scaling, patching, automation, and governance.
Remember that you’re paying for your DaaS partner to stay on top of the trends in technology, security, and storage to be able to pass along that expertise to you. Meet the professionals who will be working with your system to be sure you’re comfortable with the level of experience they will bring to your team.
Staying on top of cybersecurity may be one of the most appealing parts of using a DaaS platform. If that is the case, be sure you check your potential partner’s security track record. They should offer a wide array of protections, firewalls, authentication tools, and encryption to ensure that your network and data stay secure. In addition, talk with them about backup and recovery protocols should a breach take place and how quickly your organization could be back up and running. Ask to see documentation of any third-party certifications or compliancies that they support.
Check to see if the providers offer different levels of security at various price points or if you need to clarify a division of security responsibilities between your DaaS partner and your organization.
Regulations, Compliance, and Audits
If your business operates in a highly regulated industry, you’ll want to ensure that your DaaS solution can help you meet all compliance requirements. On a similar note, any internal and external audit requirements should be able to be met by your DaaS solution as well.
In the new world economy, the geographic location of your DaaS provider may not seem important at first glance. However, if your company needs to provide access to employees, contractors, or customers around the world, latency may be a significant issue. A DaaS provider’s physical location as well as its reach may need to be considered.
There’s nothing more frustrating to a remote employee or customer who is trying to access your system from an off-site device only to find systems or data inaccessible or slow. Be sure that virtual connection points, whether they be home-based desktops, mobile phones from airports, or laptops at customer locations, can provide the systems and information that your team needs to remain productive and efficient. This is particularly important if you have some team members who need access to demanding applications with accelerated graphics requirements.
Implementation, Deployment, and Scalability
Talk with your potential DaaS providers about the stages of implementation and what it will take to deploy their solutions. If your organization is switching DaaS providers or moving from an internally run VDI solution to a new vendor, find out if migration will disrupt current users, and if so, for how long. Users should not be required to do things like install software or download plugins.
A DaaS platform is often an excellent choice for those companies that need to quickly scale up or down due to seasonal or peak demands. By partnering with a DaaS provider, it can be easier to add virtual connectivity quickly as well as take devices off the system once the peak period has passed. Be sure your potential partners have extensive automation capabilities to help you scale quickly.
Simplicity, Elasticity, and Integration
Be sure whichever DaaS solution you select is simple. One key advantage of a fully managed DaaS platform is that you don’t need to worry about the system, applications, or user interfaces. You’ll want an intuitive, easy-to-use interface for employees, customers, and anyone else accessing your system. Since it’s likely that the number of users will vary by day and time, find out if you have elasticity in your agreement so you won’t have to pay for resources that aren’t being used.
Although off-site management is a key benefit of DaaS, your IT team will still need to be able to integrate cloud monitoring with existing platforms. Check to see if your potential partner can enable your organization to integrate alerts and data, which allows IT teams to obtain comprehensive visibility.
Documentation and Support
Finally, be sure a DaaS partner provides documentation that clearly explains what services they provide and what your organization must manage, including licensing agreements. Talk with them about service level agreements and typical responsiveness if your organization runs into problems.
By taking these considerations into account before making your final DaaS provider selection, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your organization in choosing your DaaS solution.