The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to embrace work-from-home (WFH) programs. But how to go about it? Some have favored a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Others found the wiser course was to adopt a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) approach, where virtualized desktops with user profiles, applications, and data follow users them regardless of the device.
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) in particular made it easy to switch to virtual desktops. After all, the limited IT resources present in most organizations were already working overtime to manage the change from the cubicle to the living room. The last thing they needed on their plates was having to procure more hardware and software, along with supporting the deployment and management of remote technology.
“For IT organizations with the right experience, strong security knowledge, and sufficient time, the implementation of DaaS might not be a major challenge,” said Chris Pierdominici, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Cox Business Cloud Solutions. “Otherwise, an experienced MSP can make the task less daunting.”
DaaS made everything simple – sign up with a provider and let them manage the underlying infrastructure and even the support. But with restrictions ended in some states and being phased out in others, will DaaS go away? Not according to a Gartner survey. It found that 74% of CFOs expect telecommuting and remote work to continue long after COVID-19 has faded away like a bad dream.
Choosing the Right DaaS Flavor
Desktop-as-a-Service works whether the company is using BYOD or has employees working with corporate laptops. It eliminates the need to beef up the IT department with people possessing the requisite skills to cope with the demands of remote desktop management and support. Additionally, it enables mobility at a scale that most organizations find hard to match. Delivered over the cloud, CAPEX spend is changed to OPEX. Cloud-hosted desktops are easier to move, secure, patch, upgrade, and restore in the case of failure.
There are a number of DaaS flavors out there depending on the needs of the organization. These includes Citrix, Amazon, Microsoft, VMware, Cox Business Solutions, and many others. Those with the IT resource bandwidth may prefer to only acquire the basics. They get the desktop software delivered to users with the provider managing the back end.
“DaaS offerings increasingly include a host of services that allow organizations to equip employees with their devices and apps of choice on day one,” said Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at Forrester Research.
For those needing a greater level of support, or that need to tailor the desktop environment to specific needs, full-service DaaS offerings are recommended. The providers offering these services take care of the underlying architecture, desktop customization, implementation, provisioning, load balancing, networking, and support.
Support is available in a number of tiers. These range from basic working hours call center staffing to 24/7 expert support. As the differences between desktop environments are becoming relatively minor as time goes on, it is the support aspect that often differentiates providers. Those operating in an AWS or Azure environment, for example, would be best served by those specific vendors, or a partner skilled in those platforms.
Industry vertical also plays a part. Those requiring telephony services, for example, would find an advantage in obtaining DaaS services from a telephony provider who can often bundle multiple complementary services together. The key is experience in DaaS rollouts in your industry and platform.
Background Reading: Cloud Spending Expected to Grow 23% through 2021.