In today’s ever-changing world, it’s important for businesses to be reactive to the needs of their employees. Remote working is one trend that’s set to continue growing in popularity.
One piece of tech to help with this virtual transition is the virtual desktop. Virtual desktops, such as Windows Virtual Desktop from Microsoft, enable businesses to have their employees access their desktops and the applications they’re familiar with on other devices.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop?
Windows Virtual Desktop is what is known as a ‘desktop and app virtualisation service’. This means it separates out your operating system, data and applications from the local hardware they usually reside on and runs them on a remote server instead. All of this can then be accessed securely on any other device – whether Windows, Mac, Android or iOS.
Windows Virtual Desktop hosts this virtual desktop via Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. This can be seen as a logical next step in digital transformation – if you’ve already migrated your data and applications to the cloud, why not host your desktops there too? This also enables businesses to benefit from the security and scalability of Azure.
Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop
Collaborative work from anywhere
Employees are able to log-in to a virtual version of their desktop from any device, anywhere in the world – providing they have an internet connection, of course. This has the added benefit of being familiar in terms of look and feel to their traditional PC setup at their desk.Virtual desktops make working from home, flexible working schemes and bring your own device (BYOD) policies more feasible. As an extra bonus, better talent can be attracted and retained when you open up your hiring pool outside of geographically-convenient areas.
Enhanced security across all devices
There are fewer security risks associated with virtual desktops than their local counterparts as information is stored on a VPN which only grants access to the employee it belongs to.
With Microsoft Virtual Desktop, all company and employee data is also stored in Azure rather than locally. Azure has multiple compliance certifications and offers a highly secure cloud foundation with multi-layered, end-to-end security built in – Azure Firewall, Security Centre and Microsoft Defender ATP being among its numerous security offerings.
This also means that sensitive business data is never out of your control. Your data simply transfers between Azure cloud instances rather than between company devices and personal devices where it could be out of your control, and more at risk of loss or theft.
More control over security
Microsoft Virtual Desktop gives you more control over access and security for all workers, including those working remotely. You can use conditional access protocols such as multi-factor authentication to manage risks before granting users access to their virtual desktop environment for a secure login every time, by every employee. This all contributes to building a level of trust around remote working and keeping your information safe.
Reactive in the case of disaster recovery
Windows Virtual Desktop gives businesses the ability to stay up and running even when disaster strikes with new, remote solutions. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses towards digital transformation faster than ever before. Having something like virtual desktops to use offer flexibility and faster recovery from these interruptions.
Reduced IT hardware costs
A virtual desktop can be accessed from any device. This opens up the opportunity to reduce the number of company devices you purchase and maintain, as employees could use their personal devices to work on with no additional security concerns.
Simplified IT management
Microsoft Virtual Desktop is something that can scale as your business does. As it is managed via the Azure Portal, you can add or remove desktop instances to meet business needs as they change. Virtual CPU, RAM and hard drive storage can all be managed by an IT admin from one simple dashboard.
Reduced licensing and infrastructure costs
If you already subscribe to Microsoft 365 or an enterprise version of Windows, you’re in luck. You will be able to create virtual desktops for each user free of charge with your existing user licenses. At no extra cost, you can have your employees access a virtual version of a Windows desktop from any device, at any time, from anywhere.If you don’t already have a Microsoft 365 subscription or enterprise account, you can pay a subscription fee to use the virtual desktop features. This fee will be determined by the specifications of the virtual desktops you require and for how many instances you need.
Considerations to make with Windows Virtual Desktop
While Windows Virtual Desktop provides many benefits, there are considerations businesses must make before rolling out any technology in the virtual desktop space. Consider:
- Do your staff have the infrastructure needed to make the most of Virtual Desktops?
- Do they have the training needed to be able to connect to the virtual network?
- Who will provide the training and support so that all employees can use it effectively?
Setting up procedures to handle the management and maintenance of virtual desktops before deployment can help your business and your team reap the rewards from day one.
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