Hosted desktops are becoming more popular in the work-from-home age. Also known as Hosted-desktops-as-a-Service and managed desktops, they are virtual desktops hosted virtually or in the cloud. The server stores the operating system, email, files, and applications in vendor data centers, which you can access from anywhere, on any device.
On the user end, a managed desktop looks like a regular desktop. The main difference is that data and apps are stored elsewhere. With a traditional desktop, you store apps and data on the desktop. With a managed desktop, you keep everything at a secure data center. The hardware is just a terminal for using the hosted desktop, which is far more secure than storage on your desktop, which is susceptible to many potential issues, including user error and cyberattacks.
Is Hosted-desktops-as-a-Service an option for you? Read on to find out.
The Approach - Setting up Managed Desktops
There is more than one way you can set up managed desktops. Some companies create their proprietary infrastructure and manage it themselves. However, most businesses do not have the resources to work a custom-managed desktop system. For most companies, the option is partnering with a Hosted-desktops-as-a-Service provider. This is a viable option if you want a standardized, more secure solution for internal and remote working.
Hosted desktops vs. remote desktops
Hosted and remote desktops are similar, but there are some notable differences regarding use and security.
With a hosted desktop, there is much flexibility. In contrast, a remote desktop is at risk for the same issues you could potentially face if your desktop were in the office. An office problem such as a power outage would prevent all remote desktops from working. Even a simple error such as someone turning off the wrong terminal could prevent your teams from working until it gets turned back on.
A hosted desktop works by hosting files and applications remotely to ensure data center safety and accessing this through any device with a network connection. Further, with the nature of how clouds work, data is not dependent on any particular device. Fortunately, if one machine fails, you can use any other device at your disposal to pick up where you left off in an instant.
Data movement and storage
You do not have to store data on the local computer with a hosted desktop. Thankfully, this allows the ability to regulate controls on each PC. For instance, you can disable the print screen function to prevent data from being printed or saved off-site. In addition, you can disable USB and other storage transfer methods to protect the data. Further, you can even implement enhanced security measures for email, for example, limiting file sizes and types, blocking keywords, and other measures to facilitate approvals before such emails go through.
Specific industries and businesses have several locations, high turnover of staff, or are part of a heavily regulated industry. Companies in these situations greatly benefit from Hosted-desktops-as-a-Service and cloud computing solutions thanks to superior security with data.
For example, industries like construction, law, finance, recruitment, and medicine greatly benefit from cloud-based managed desktops, with options such as remote work options, ability to scale, and unique security systems such as those provided by SSI.
What about business size?
Businesses with 50-1000 employees mainly benefit from managed desktops thanks to cost efficiency for such companies. Even businesses with less than 50 employees may see a benefit to having a managed desktop, primarily regarding increased security and other functions.
A scalable solution
With managed desktop solutions, staff can work from any location and any device. Thankfully, with hosted desktops, this means buying less equipment for staff. Accordingly, if your business and staff are rapidly expanding, then a cloud-based solution may be the perfect solution for saving money on developing hardware costs, especially for a remote team.
Remote work is here to stay
Working from home has been shown to have more benefits than drawbacks. Companies like Google, Nationwide Insurance, and the NFL are citing increased productivity as a primary reason for their support for continuing remote work.
With a remote work option, employees can work from anywhere in the world they choose. Now, there is less need for sprawling office space, complicated networks, IT infrastructure, commute issues, and even gas reimbursement and laundry services for some employees. These costs add up for a business. Allowing remote work increases the company's bottom line.
Remote work is here to stay
Another benefit of remote work is that it removes location-based hiring barriers. In addition, for companies who do hire from out of the area, there is no longer a need to manage moving costs and other issues. Employees can live in the communities they prefer. As a result, this makes employees happier, which boosts productivity. Also, employees can reduce housing costs without living in metro areas, helping employees reduce expenses.
As organizations continue to return to normal work levels, many are considering a hybrid approach. Now, employees who have moved since the pandemic or had other life changes will have the option to continue to work remotely or a hybrid work option. Even with offices reopening, a permanent flexible work from home option is beneficial to everyone. Now, offices can even reconfigure traditional office spaces filled with cubicles into more open, communal areas if they choose.
When employees do not need assigned stations, you can arrange offices in a format similar to a college campus, with open tables and larger meeting areas for collaboration, including large screens for employees to join remotely. In addition, companies can add auditoriums, libraries, and rest areas with the newly open space.
However, most industry experts also say that more remote work means more cyber threats. According to cyber insurance and risk engineering company Zurich, businesses in government agencies at every level, healthcare, and finance that deal with sensitive data can be impacted by having remote work conditions.
How managed desktops improve data monitoring and visibility
People, processes, and technology are the trifecta for the foundation of a solid security plan. While this commonly stated truism is more than necessary, it is still not sufficient enough for success. Suppose you are looking for true success in the world of IT security.
In that case, you need to focus on the decision-making abilities that these people, processes, and technology bring to the table. In other words, you need to ask yourself what the current state of your organization is, how does the company stand when facing genuine threats in day-to-day operations, and what actions are necessary to meet these threats safely?
Maintaining visibility across your organization allows the organization to access the accurate data it needs to make better, more informed decisions. Having informed access to just one segment of a network, or only each endpoint or even a complete snapshot of one point in time, is not enough. Doing this created limited, poor decision-making.
A modern organization needs to maintain visibility across the entire network to all endpoints (Whether these endpoints be desktop, server, mobile or other) at all times and translate this into practical intelligence. In addition, the organization needs to monitor this continually. Doing so creates a more in-depth analysis of data points over a longer time, leading to more effective decision-making.
Managed desktops allow access to data over the entire internet and stores data on the cloud rather than on a single hard drive. Cloud computing uses email, Dropbox, and viewing web pages, all examples of cloud computing at the consumer level.
In many ways, using the cloud for business is very similar. Companies today make use of Hosted-desktops-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options to make use of business applications, renting server space, and hosting managed desktop services to host proprietary applications and security when providing services to customers.
Deploying managed desktops with cloud monitoring tools to seek out issues that can prevent or harm the ability of businesses to better serve their customers ensures you can access data on customer behavior, performance issues, and receive better security.
Invariably, a robust cyber security plan is necessary for keeping networks safe from cyber attacks. Managed, dedicated cyber security partners can use their systems to detect vulnerabilities and breaches early and address the vulnerability quickly before more issues arise, saving time, money, and resources.
Organizations can detect errors quickly by working with a vendor who tests security regularly, allowing them to solve problems fast, mitigating any potential loss to functionality and performance. Working with a trusted hosted desktops partner, in turn, builds trust, which boosts the customer experience. Happy customers help boost sales and improve customer retention.
Speed is another primary driver of customer satisfaction, just like user experience and functionality. Monitoring speed metrics and generating the correct related data helps businesses optimize their applications and websites. As such, managed desktops can monitor data early and often. Also, you can use the data to troubleshoot problems and implement solutions promptly, preventing larger issues from permeating your systems.
Another benefit is that you can deploy more desktops as your business grows. This versatility means it becomes easier to scale. As your business activity increases, the proper monitoring tools can be implemented on the cloud seamlessly.
Further, managing a subscription-based solution is a way of keeping costs down. There is less investment in hardware, software, and other infrastructure to purchase and maintain as the cost of the service is spread between all subscribers. Also, because many resources are not part of users' workstations, work can continue if an issue disrupts the office, such as a natural disaster.
Several tools are available to users on all sorts of devices, whether desktop, laptop, or even phones and tablets. Knowing this, businesses can monitor their services and data from any location as long as they have Internet access.
When is the right time to adopt hosted desktops?
While there is never really a perfect time to invest in managed desktops, but trends indicate a distinct rise in cloud-based investments. According to Forbes, cloud-based IT resources reached "60% of all IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending” in 2020.
Undoubtedly, IT infrastructure investment is increasing every year. Gartner Research has found that roughly one-third of critical enterprise IT spending will be cloud-based by 2022. While it may not seem like migrating your current system to a cloud-based system is necessary now, it will be mandatory to succeed in the future. When your current systems can no longer meet the demands of the ever-evolving market, you will likely, at some point, need to consider it seriously.
Interested in learning more about our hosted cloud workspaces and desktop-as-a-service, request a managed IT services proposal here!