Working from home has become more popular over the last 10 years, something the author can vouch for as an IT professional who has been working from home for more than 6 years. However, in 2020 and 2021 the number of people needing to work from home during lockdowns has grown exponentially. Many small businesses especially are now realising that actually, this business model is one that really works. Why pay thousands for office premises when you don’t need to.
What has caught many small businesses out is having to find ways of running their line of business desktop applications from remote locations when trying to connect and run an application over a VPN isn’t tenable. It’s just too slow. The saviour for many firms is adopting Desktop-as-a-Service, running the corporate desktop applications on cloud hosted servers and connecting over the internet, enabling employees to work from anywhere.
Here are just 5 of the many ways Desktop as a Service (DaaS) can help businesses work from home:
How DaaS helps business continuity
Many companies in 2020 and 2021 suddenly found themselves in the situation where they had to ask all employees who could work from home to do so. If they already had a Desktop as a Service solution then it would have been very easy. For those not so lucky here’s the benefits for business continuity:
- A cloud hosted virtual desktop can be accessed from anywhere over the internet, and doesn’t require a particularly fast internet connection 2mbps is more than adequate, even slower connections will be more than usable.
- Employees can work on their own devices. DaaS can be accessed from Windows, Macs, iOS, Chromebooks, and Android devices
- Employees working from home and those in the office have identical virtual workspaces, all have the tools they need to do their job.
- Once lockdown has eased and people start working from the office a bit more the technology is still in place ready for any other disaster, fire, flood, power outage to name a few.
Desktop as a Service reduces IT support overheads
When using DaaS there is usually nothing to install, certainly as far as Windows PCs are concerned. On other devices there is just one free app to download and about 5 minutes to set it up. There is no need for local IT support to build new PCs, install loads of applications or set up user accounts.
As the virtual desktops are all supported and maintained by the service provider they look after everything from managed Windows updates, managing anti-virus, backing up the data, and most importantly fixing things if they go wrong. There may be some overlap with the software vendor who will support the applications, but updates to applications just need to be done once and everyone gets the new version.
If remote workers do need support then this can all be done remotely by the DaaS or software providers using modern remote-control software.
DaaS helps protect business data
It may sound counter intuitive that data stored in the cloud is safer than on-premise, especially when you hear news reports about data breaches from big name companies; but consider what security measures you have for your current, on-premise infrastructure. Do you have locked perimeter fencing, 24-hour security guards, key card access to the server room, keycodes for server racks before you even get to the operating system security. Do you have state of the art, enterprise grade firewalls, monitoring and alerting for possible attacks, or trained IT teams who specialise in keeping data secure? If someone wanted to steal your data how easy would it be do you think?
It’s a sad fact that most data breaches are a result of employees doing something wrong rather than any fault of the cloud service provider. Phishing emails where users are tricked into entering their credentials into a bogus website are still quite prevalent. DaaS providers will often have the ability to implement two factor authentication so that even if an employee unwittingly gives up their passwords, the attackers still need the users mobile phone in order to get in.
Many businesses have been caught out by ransomware because they are still running Windows operating systems that have gone end-of-life and are no longer receiving critical security patches.
Of course, the biggest factor in securing data is that with DaaS solutions there is no data stored on individual users’ PCs or laptops. If the devices are stolen then no data is lost.
Desktop as a Service helps productivity and employee retention
There have been various studies around remote working and the evidence points to the fact that not only are home workers more productive, they are also generally happier in their role and less likely to look for other jobs. Not having to commute for hours every day massively improves job satisfaction, and home working can also be more flexible, allowing employees to work around their family commitments (the school run etc.).
Home workers also have fewer sick days, there is no reason to stay away from work to stop spreading the germs if employees work remotely.
Desktop as a Service helps business agility
DaaS solutions are infinitely scalable, new users can be added in minutes with no waiting for the IT guy to get around to installing software.
Flexibility is built into the platform with the ability to increase or decrease user numbers, storage requirements, and system resources in minutes.
Users can also benefit from having the latest versions of applications, and generally less disruption when upgrading. A classic example of this is a local customer of ours with an on-premise server running Sage 200, and SQL Server. They need to upgrade Sage, but the new version won’t run on their old server operating system, and they also need to upgrade SQL Server at the same time, so requiring new hardware, new licences, and an expensive upgrade project lasting weeks. If they were on a DaaS platform they could have a new server in hours or at most days, and as everything is on subscription they wouldn’t pay any additional capex or opex costs.
The commercial/financial benefits of Desktop As a Service
DaaS is a subscription service so you only pay for what you need. Consider a business starting out with a rapid growth ambition but limited capital. If they went for an on-premise server do they splash out on the biggest/fastest they can afford so it will accommodate their rapid growth, which then becomes a white elephant if growth isn’t as rapid as they hoped. Or do they buy one that’s “OK for now” but then have to replace it sooner than expected if they do achieve the growth they were expecting. The money wasted would be considerable.
With DaaS there is little or no upfront investment, everything is from Opex budgets.
DaaS providers can also significantly reduce software licence costs for customers as they can invest in data centre licences which although very expensive, the cost is shared by all the customers so they are achieving great economies of scale.
You may also find remote workers willing to use their own computers, i.e. Bring Your Own Device policy, which can also offer cost savings. If the company is providing the PCs they can be entry level, low spec machines as all the processing power is on the cloud hosted virtual workspaces.
How can desktop as a service help your specific business?
Speak to a technical sales consultant at Your Office Anywhere who can discuss your specific remote working requirements and help architect the ideal solution so your team can work from anywhere. Simply call 01282 500318 or complete the form below.