Are you ready to introduce virtual computing to your business? We’re not just talking about cloud backups or security measures. Increasingly organizations of all sizes are leveraging virtual desktop services to improve and streamline their operations
The use of virtual desktops has exploded in recent years, and is expected to grow almost 30 percent by 2020. That’s significant, considering that in 2017, 42 percent of businesses were already using at least a virtually hosted apps. Full-service virtualization is the next natural step.
Just this fall, Microsoft announced the addition of a virtual desktop component to its Azure suite of cloud products. The introduction of another major player into the marketplace should only continue to increase usage among all types of organizations. Are you ready to leverage its benefits?
To answer that question, you have to understand what the advantages actually are. Let’s begin with an exact definition of this type of feature, before diving deeper into the 8 benefits of virtual desktop hosting.
What is Virtual Desktop Hosting?
Webopedia describes desktop virtualization as
Technology used to separate a computer desktop environment from the physical computer. Desktop virtualization is considered a type of client-server computing model because the “virtualized” desktop is stored on a centralized, or remote, server and not the physical machine being virtualized.
This succinct definition brings it to a point. If you implement a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), you can build the software components (from operating system to individual apps) on a central server. Users with access to the infrastructure can now access the desktop regardless of device, and without needing to have the applications installed on their devices.
8 Benefits of Virtual Desktop Hosting for Your Business
The definition alone highlights some significant benefits of this concept. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the platform, uncovering just how organizations are benefiting from implementation and maintenance of VDI today.
1) Workplace Flexibility
It might be the most obvious advantage. If your desktops are hosted virtually, employees and members of your team will be able to access them regardless of their location, situation, or device. The result, generally speaking, is significantly increased flexibility within the workplace.
Imagine a remote workforce that can suddenly leverage the same technology without expensive installs. Meanwhile, the Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD) trend is taking off, with 87 percent of organizations now relying on their employees to use personal devices for at least one application.
In each case, flexibility is essential, by hosting your desktops and applications in the cloud, you can achieve accessibility even in these situations.
2) Significant Cost Savings
VDI’s typically come with relatively minimal cost if the server setup already exists. In exchange, you can get potentially significant savings down the road. In other words, desktop virtualization is much more than just an initial cost. It’s a positive investment that has the potential to bring a significant return.
First, you can rely less on expensive desktop computers with the exact right software and license needed. But even upgrades and maintenance, which can take significant IT time when performed on many different machines, are reduced to a minimum as they can be accomplished in a much more centralized manner.
These benefits are not just hypothetical. Citrix, a major provider of VDI’s, estimates that virtual apps can reduce desktop costs by up to $1.7 million for large organizations.
3) Dynamic Updating
As your organization gets larger, computer choices become more diverse. Creative professionals look to Apple screens, while IT experts prefer PC’s. Managers expect laptops that increase portability, but tablets and even phones become invaluable while on the go. Here’s the rub: all of these devices might be running different operating systems and app versions.
Updating these various devices with both regular maintenance and major upgrades can quickly become difficult. The same software may not work equally well depending on the browser, OS, and age of the machine. A virtual desktop becomes a solution, centralizing the updating process to make it more dynamic.
You won’t need each employee to log in just to make sure they have the newest OS version. Instead, you can perform the upgrade once, benefiting everyone in the organization.
4) Decreased Security Risks
Especially as organizations grow, digital security becomes an increasingly essential concern. After all, a single cyber attack can cost the average business upwards of $2 million in damages. Preventative measures are not optional, but absolutely essential to ensure long-term business survival and success.
A virtual environment for your business will play a significant part in making your business more secure. The data is now stored in a central system, which you can protect more strongly than you would be able on your employees’ devices. Everything is centrally managed, allowing you to set the rules and keep your data in the right hands.
Most data breaches happen by accident. You can prevent both these accidents and intentional attacks simply by keeping better track of your data, and how it is accessed.
5) Better Disaster Recovery
Like cybersecurity, disaster recovery has become an essential part of IT management. Almost 50 percent of businesses who experience a disaster without a recovery plan in place never recover from it. How can you make sure that your organization doesn’t become another part of that depressing statistic?
Virtualization certainly isn’t the only step, but it becomes a crucial help. You no longer rely on the stationary computers that might be lost or damaged in the disaster. Instead, the data is stored in a centralized location, safe and backed up regularly. Even as recovery efforts begin, you can already access that data to minimize downtime and potential damages.
You hope it never happens. But when it does, you need to be prepared. With a VDI in place, you can be.
Azure has long been a leader in geo-replication, the process of creating a parallel database in various regions of the globe. This replication alone provides further help against data loss. The above already describes disaster recovery, and the role a VDI can play in that. Geo-replication extends that security for cases when the central data storage unit might be endangered.
Given that Azure recently extended this feature to all of its service tier, it’s natural to expect that it will be available within its virtualization suite as well. As a result, you can leverage a natural form of backups that carries the added benefit geographic separation to multiply the security factor.
7) Centralized Troubleshooting
What happens when one of your employees experiences a software problem? In most traditionally set-up organizations, the answer is linear. A service ticket leads to an IT call, and a local solution. The best-case scenario might include an analysis of whether that same problem exists on a more global scale, with individual fixes put in place to address a potential solution.
Imagine the work required to stem this type of workload. Now, add in the fact that a global solution might not be easily possible or immediately sought, leading to duplication of efforts for each ticket. In a virtual desktop environment, the same troubleshooting happens once, globally solving the problem for all constituents.
Modern IT departments constantly need to look for leaner operations that require less time and budget. What better way to do that than solving one of the most annoying issues service desks solve on a daily basis?
8) Increased Productivity
Finally, and on an overarching level, moving to a virtual desktop interface will almost certainly improve your organization’s productivity. It operations become more lean and agile, while employee abilities and efforts become more flexible. Productivity can be maintained even in the face of disaster, and in a more secure environment thanks to better protection against data breaches. Finally, the long-term cost savings can be invested into the business for better operations down the road.
This type of improved productivity becomes invaluable over time. Let’s face it: any IT solution that benefits both sides of the equation has to deserve a closer look. Even large companies like Samsung are touting the benefits on both sides of the aisle, making the move intriguing for all areas of the business.
Are You Ready for the Switch to a Virtual Desktop Solution?
These benefits make it clear: moving to a VDI environment is highly beneficial, for almost every organization. That explains why so many businesses are making the switch, with more than 50 percent of organizations across industries expected to leverage at least part of the technology.
Our recommendation: make the holistic switch. A complete virtual environment that unlocks the above advantages is significant, especially if it interplays with your other cloud applications. Azure’s introduction of such an environment make it an intriguing option initially, and a potential must-implement once we know its performance.
In the process, you might need a partner. Switching to virtual environment is a major change, both for your employees and your digital infrastructure. As Azure experts, we’re here to help. Contact us to start the conversation of what you can gain from moving to a VDI, and how you can prepare for the move.