Where people work is becoming less important than enabling them to be productive regardless of location. Time was, everyone had a desk in a company office, and their phone and computer needs could be serviced at that location. Local PC’s and hardwired phones are quickly giving way to mobile computing needs, even within a company’s office locations. Group collaboration, meetings and a globally dispersed workforce are increasing demand for all the comforts of the office to be available anywhere and everywhere.

What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has long provided Information Technology departments a consistent centralized method to manage Windows desktop images for Enterprise users and to push a user’s image to any PC or thin client on the company LAN. This has been a productivity benefit for the end user enabling them to work in any conference room or any location, but also from an IT perspective it simplifies the back-end management of desktop PCs, including backup, security patching and upgrades. The addition of WAN access into VDI environments has enabled a whole new level of freedom of location as long as the user has the appropriate hardware to access the environment.

What is Desktop as a Service?

A more recent solution that has come on the scene is Desktop as a Service which is in many ways similar to VDI but delivered from the Cloud instead of premise VDI servers. Some of the similarities include all of the centralized management benefits such as control and security of sensitive data, backups, recoveries, security patching and upgrades of software and operating system. Where Desktop as a Service deviates from a traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure deployment is that you simply rent the environment from your cloud provider as contrasted with having to deploy and manage the VDI servers and infrastructure.

An additional benefit of Desktop as a Service is that it can be configured to be hardware agnostic enabling users to access their desktop even through a web browser. This can be useful to provide access even if users hardware is limited to a tablet or smartphone. Consider circumstances where users may not have access to reliable or secure high speed internet, or cases where network access may block use of a VPN into your LAN. While access via a web browser on your smartphone may not be ideal for a full day of heads-down coding or spreadsheet manipulation, it could provide the necessary access for getting some time-sensitive work completed or making use of otherwise wasted time while travelling.

There are other solutions available such as using a local laptop PC that synchronizes with the Desktop as a Service when reliable network connectivity becomes available, but that reintroduces its own set of complications that are otherwise avoided in a Desktop as a Service solution. Such as all the requirements for managing a remote laptop and the potential that a lost or stolen laptop could result in lost or stolen sensitive data.

Similar but different – where do I go from here?

As with all Cloud-based services, your best opportunity for success comes when you work with a skilled Cloud service provider. An organization such as Norwell Technology Group has the expertise and resources to help you evaluate various options and help guide you in the selection of the solution is right for your business. While there are a number of Cloud computing providers with Desktop as a Service offerings, it is important that you have a consulting partner who has the capacity, skills and drive to understand your business and help you achieve the best solution for your needs.

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