When it comes to cloud computing, users face a huge variety of concepts. While many people are more or less familiar with SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, they are just discovering another highly useful tool – DaaS.
DaaS stands for Desktop as a Service. It creates virtual workspaces on the cloud. With DaaS, your entire team can access office workspace at any time and from anywhere. The tool eliminated the need for a big collection of hardware within a company, taking BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to a new level.
DaaS comes with a variety of benefits for an organization and its employees. It allows the company to take full advantage of the opportunity cloud computing has to offer. By keeping workspaces in the virtual realm, a company can boost security, simplify remote operation, and improve employee experience.
As cloud computing begins to come into its own, companies are starting to see the benefits of moving from an in-house data hosting environment to an online one. For those working in or considering a virtual data infrastructure (VDI), there's a host of reasons why you'd want to consider desktop as a service (DaaS) instead.
Advantages and Disadvantages of DaaS
Using desktop as a service comes with certain pros and cons.
Benefits of DaaS
Let’s start with benefits of DaaS solutions for companies of different sizes.
- Flexibility – DaaS offers you a remarkable opportunity to start as many virtual desktops as you need. So when you hire new employees or make plans for scaling the company, you don’t need to think about new hardware or software. The DaaS service provider can take care of your growing or decreasing needs.
- Remote operation – with DaaS, companies can make sure that employees have access to their virtual desktops anytime and anywhere. All they need is a device, a web browser, and a strong internet connection. This benefit is especially important in the era of the pandemic when more and more companies are switching to remote operations.
- Consistent budgeting – you know exactly how much each new desktop costs you company. Accordingly, you can plan your budget without looking back at additional hardware expenses. Thanks to the subscription model, when you plan to hire new people, you’ll know how much the desktop will cost you.
- Security – companies that offer BYOD policies risk losing their data when employees’ devices are lost or stolen. By using this cloud service, you put your data on remote servers, making sure that it can’t be accessed by an unauthorized user. Keeping sensitive data in the cloud environment keeps the risks of downloading data to personal devices to a minimum.
- Cutting costs – the cost of setting up your own VDI can be high. Many SMBs (small and midsize businesses) simply don’t have the time and budget for it. By taking advantage of a DaaS solution, it’s possible to get all the benefits of this cost effective option without developing a cloud based desktop infrastructure for your business.
Overall, a DaaS solution can be highly beneficial for a company that requires a flexible virtual desktops option without the costs of developing it.
Disadvantages of DaaS
While desktop as a service solution may seem highly appealing, they come with certain challenges.
- Requirements – while DaaS provides amazing services, it requires a high-speed network connection to do it. So if your employees aren’t near a good internet source, they may not be able to take advantage of this technology.
- Learning curve – while DaaS is easy to manage, it has a certain learning curve. Your employees will need to take some time to get used to remote desktops and take full advantage of the services it offers.
- Selection – you may not always know the details of the resources your team requires. How many vCPUs do they need? How much memory works for them? This can make it hard to select the right DaaS plan from the start.
- Licensing – if you’ve already purchased licenses for operating systems and other software, you can’t use them when working with a DaaS provider. However, it’s possible to find a DaaS platform, that is willing to let you work with existing licenses.
- Trust issues – while DaaS solutions are secure, some companies still have trust issues with cloud based software. After all, keeping your data on a third-party server may not seem secure. However, you can eliminate this problem by working with a trustworthy DaaS provider.
All the above-mentioned disadvantages can be counteracted by the numerous advantages of virtual desktops. As long as your company can benefit from a flexible option, you should consider desktop virtualization.
DaaS vs. VDI: What Is the Difference?
So what's the difference between VDI and DaaS? Both involve the use of virtual desktops, but the main difference lies in how the data is stored and accessed. Generally speaking, VDI environments tend to involve the use of a company's own servers, while DaaS outsources this to online providers. A virtual desktop infrastructure involves hosting desktop environments on an in-house server. DaaS is a form of VDI, which is hosted on a cloud. When your organization has an in-house VDI, it runs virtual desktops from a data center located on its premises. The IT department is responsible for deploying, running, managing, and maintaining the infrastructure. The key word in virtual data infrastructure here is "infrastructure" since you'd have to not only have all the necessary servers in place to house it, but the IT resources to manage it as well.
When it comes to DaaS you get the benefits of a virtual desktop environment without having to have any physical server infrastructure in place - it's all handled in the cloud. The DaaS provider handles management, maintenance, and deployment.
5 Ways to Know If You Need DaaS
How do you know if your business needs DaaS? Well, let's take a look at some of the indicators that will let you know if desktop as a service is right for you.
You're Looking To Cut Costs
There's no question that computer hardware acquisition and management represents a large capital investment. Not only are there physical client desktop machines for users to acquire, but back-end servers as well to host and parse the operating system, software, and data.
Additionally, computer equipment only has a finite lifespan. It's estimated that most hardware has a useful life of five years due to constant upgrade requirements to support software. This means that a capital investment would be required on average twice per decade.
So DaaS saves you money in two main ways. By taking away the need for a server farm, your total capital investment will be less. And by offering a virtual desktop environment, you can forgo many hardware upgrades and get more years out of your equipment.
You Have Limited IT Resources
Hosting your own network brings with it a wide array of challenges requiring dedicated IT personnel to oversee and manage. Not only is there the physical management of hardware to consider, but software applications, licenses, data load management and a host of other factors as well.
DaaS helps to reduce your IT staffing requirements by shunting many of these responsibilities onto the online service provider. You'll no longer need as many personnel to perform vital functions, letting your technology personnel shift their focus to other areas.
Desktop as a service, therefore, allows your IT department to operate more efficiently. It can help streamline operations since the task of managing patched together systems becomes non-existent. Merged companies can benefit from incoming IT staff not having to become familiarized with new hardware.
All in all, DaaS can help you do more with less when it comes to managing your company's technology.
You Need Application Flexibility
Deploying new software and operating systems can be a significant challenge for a company's IT department, especially when existing hardware has been sourced from different suppliers. With DaaS, there's no concern with system compatibility as all client desktop machines are capable of operating within the same virtual environment.
It also provides the ultimate flexibility when it comes to managing software applications. System and software updates are done by the DaaS provider, negating the need to do test runs to see if there are hardware conflicts.
Finally, its scalability is a major plus. With DaaS, you can add or remove users as needed, incrementally, without the need to add new physical servers that have the potential to be underused. The ability to properly manage resources is one of the main reasons why companies are moving toward cloud desktop environments.
From an IT flexibility standpoint, desktop as a service simplifies the process of managing and updating software, giving you unparalleled ability to quickly adapt and evolve with your company's needs.
Productivity Is Lacking
One of the great aspects of DaaS is the ability to incorporate the practice of bring your own device (BYOD) into your organization's network. Why is this beneficial? A survey of 1500 decision makers revealed that more than two-thirds of businesses found productivity boosts were the result of allowing employees to bring their own devices.
DaaS facilitates BYOD by allowing the employee's personal notebook computer to act as a virtual client for the company's desktop environment, regardless of hardware or operating system. This can help boost productivity in several ways.
By promoting the ability to work from remote locations, employees will frequently trade off physical location constraints for an increase in hours worked. As well, having employees provide their own equipment often means that IT resources are freed up to concentrate on other areas.
You're Looking For Increased Security
Desktop as a service can help boost security by centralizing sensitive data into one secure environment. This means that, due to the way a cloud desktop environment works, that data is never stored locally on a client device.
Considering that most data breaches are the result of a criminal or malicious act, minimizing the risk is essential to reducing the cost associated with a loss of data. DaaS mitigates this risk by taking the data away from the vulnerable client device and ensures it is not an access point for an unauthorized breach.
As we've seen, adopting a desktop as a service environment for your business can bring a variety of benefits. Contact DaaS vendors if you'd like to learn more about DaaS and what it can do for you.