If you are one of the vast majority of businesses today that’s running a hybrid or remote workforce, you know the myriad of IT challenges that can follow. Many of these challenges arose during the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when companies rapidly shifted to a work-at-home model, and employees started using personal computers to access work-related systems. The IT department was suddenly thrust into managing unfamiliar desktops and laptops as well as losing control over governance and security issues. As a result, DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) grew quickly in popularity.
DaaS providers can deliver cloud-based platforms with complete governance and security for subscribing companies who can then grant visibility access to any number of authorized users. These providers also offer data storage, maintenance, updates, backup, desktop applications, and security to all subscribing customers.
How to Select the Right DaaS Provider
If you’re ready to find a DaaS (Desktop as a Service) provider for your organization, you’ll want to begin by evaluating vendors to find the right partner. Be sure to take into account the following considerations:
- Expertise: When you engage a DaaS partner, you’re paying for their expertise. Evaluate their management team as well as the organization’s experience with other companies in your industry. Be sure they will be able to scale, automate, patch, and govern at the levels you require. Look at how they innovate.
- Employee Interface: In this case, your immediate customer is your employee. Be sure that your DaaS provider can offer a positive user experience for employees, giving them easy access to the tools, information, and resources they need to complete their daily tasks.
- Security: Although cloud-based solutions are quite secure, you’ll want to make sure that your DaaS provider offers a secure infrastructure to keep all your company data and systems as safe as possible from cybercrime and ransomware. Be sure they offer redundancy and talk with them about recovery protocols.
- Compliance: Whether you have internal compliance expectations or need to meet certain government regulations in managing your data, be sure that your DaaS partner can ensure that compliance.
- Implementation Ease: Talk with your potential DaaS partner about the deployment process, especially if you’ll be facing significant migration issues. You’ll want to allow your employees to have access to company systems during the implementation process.
- Costs: Remember that there are many costs to consider when evaluating DaaS, especially compared with internal data center systems. Many hidden costs exist for an internal centralized system, including ongoing maintenance and existing software licenses. DaaS solutions are usually subscription-based per user. Consider your time horizon and weigh costs against benefits and value.
- Real–Time Audio & Video – if you plan to leverage the DaaS environment for real-time collaboration, make sure your provider has experience provisioning your colloboration tool of choice. For example, Microsoft Teams, Webex or Zoom.
- Public Cloud Support – be sure to ask where your DaaS deployment is hosted. Some providers assume private deployment, others default to public cloud. Some DaaS deployments may require rapid provisioning, rapid teardown, global availability or even a mix of specialized workloads such as GPU support.
How to Work with Your DaaS (Desktop as a Service) Provider
Now that you’ve selected a DaaS provider, how do you get the relationship off on the right foot? Like most partnerships, setting measurable goals and establishing reliable communication channels will be important.
You’ll want to meet with your DaaS partner and lay out your goals as well as share networking requirements. Decide whether you’ll want to move everything to the cloud immediately or operate a hybrid system that manages some aspects on-premises with migrating other portions to the cloud. Your provider should be able to optimize the performance of your system regardless of the cloud and on-premises combination.
Be sure to communicate any special requirements of your particular industry, especially in terms of compliance and regulations. For example, a healthcare organization will need to keep HIPAA requirements in mind as it migrates data to a DaaS.
It’s likely that one of your biggest concerns will be how your employees see and interact with the new DaaS offering. Talk with your DaaS partner about optimizing images for the cloud versus simply duplicating on-premises images, as that tends to negatively affect performance. In addition, it’s important to understand the benefits of keeping images as simple as possible because that will improve performance and ease management concerns for your team.
You’ll want to discuss whether you prefer personal persistent or pooled non-persistent desktops or some combination of the two. Persistent Personal desktops allow users to experience the same virtual desktops regardless of when or where they log in. It’s a much more consistent experience, mimicking what they might be more used to on a personal computer or laptop. On the other hand, non-persistentpooled desktops essentially host multiple user sessions at the same time, offering a more rigid experience useful in many businesses. eliminate everything from each log-in session, saving nothing. The advantage of the latter is that fewer images must be managed, resulting in long-term cost savings, and potentially greater security.
Finally, you’ll want to discuss support expectations. Ideally, this conversation occurs before you select your DaaS partner. Some organizations may offer day-to-day problem resolution while others may only focus on delivering operations and value-added services. Ideally, you’ll want a partner that can help you maximize the value and capabilities of the solution so your employees can remain productive and successful.