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Desktop as a Service (DaaS): Security, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness

Desktops as a service (DaaS) can help businesses provide their employees with virtual workspaces that are secure, relatively inexpensive, and easy to set up

40% of organization expect more than half of their workforce to operate remotely at least twice a week Updating software and operating systems on countless PCs can be a resource drain on IT departments DaaS deployments require a certain minimum network speed and reliability

According to the 2021 Digital Readiness Survey, 96% of organizations will continue to support remote workers for the next two years.  

Currently, most organizations allow users to access the corporate network from a dedicated work laptop, or a personal device, through VPN. In some cases, they also use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to allow users to connect to virtual machines from any device.

In both cases, the organization usually has to maintain, monitor, and manage hardware and this can prove to be cumbersome and expensive for some organizations.

DaaS, on the other hand, offers organizations all the benefits of VDI without the need to maintain the server hardware themselves.

Remote work issues

A new report by Teradici identified security challenges uncovered as companies moved to remote work and how they’re planning to increase security as hybrid work matures.

Virtually all respondents (99%) reported their companies will have a hybrid workforce, and nearly 40% expect more than half of their workforce to operate remotely at least twice a week post-pandemic.

Only 10% of employees are predominantly using corporate-owned devices at home, while the rest are using a mix of bring your own device (BYOD) and corporate devices (42%), or predominantly BYOD (48%). 74% of respondents report they expect the use of BYOD to increase in the near term.

As a result, endpoint security is keeping IT leaders up at night. 94% indicated their companies are concerned about the security of corporate data exposed via home-based devices, and 98% are concerned about security and/or data integrity as a result of employees commuting with endpoint devices.

Relying on VPNs has been a challenge for many during the shift to hybrid work, and companies are turning to remote access and zero trust. Other respondents are currently using remote desktop technology or desktop-as-a-service (DaaS 55%) rather than VPNs (41%) as their primary method of mitigating corporate data exposure.

Cost benefits of DaaS  

Desktops as a service (DaaS) can help businesses provide their employees with virtual workspaces that are secure, relatively inexpensive, and easy to set up.  

Here are the top cost-related use cases that make DaaS an appealing solution for organizations:

Reduces Hardware Costs:

A company’s infrastructure is likely already built on a combination of an on-premises data center and the cloud. With DaaS, organizations can optimize the resources they already have and harness even more of the cloud to build up the organization’s digital infrastructure, potentially reducing hardware capital expenditure by 56% annually.

Streamlines Software Updates:

Updating software and operating systems on countless PCs can be a resource drain on IT departments, and it can also be extremely costly. With DaaS, a cloud service provider handles all updates and maintenance, saving organizations time and IT resources.

Improves employee efficiency: Inaccessible information and issues with end-user devices hinder employees from timely completion of work. A reliable DaaS connection gives employees constant access to the information and tools they need to get work done, increasing employee efficiency by about 5%.

Improves IT efficiency: DaaS helps significantly reduce IT costs, increasing IT efficiency by around 10. It takes about eight hours to set up a PC and software for new employees. DaaS provides pooled software resources in one location, simplifying set up so that it is not nearly as time intensive. Also, DaaS reliability and ease of use reduces help-desk calls by about 33%, and cuts remaining call times in half.

Enhances security: DaaS services ensure that data is secure and accessible to authorized users. Additionally, a DaaS service provider ensures all security patches are constantly kept up to date.

Top DaaS providers

Here are 3 of the best DaaS providers on the market, based on services, security, scalability, and cost. 

1- Amazon WorkSpaces

Amazon WorkSpaces is an industry leader in DaaS, with great features and pricing options for small businesses. It makes use of a PCoIP protocol for compression and encryption of data transfers, and WorkSpaces also uses Amazon’s SDX protocol. 

Customers can provision Linux and Windows virtual machines, while AWS runs on Windows, macOS, Chromebook, iPad, Amazon and Android tablets, Chrome and Firefox. Both operating systems come bundled with default software like Internet Explorer, while Microsoft Office and others can be added for a monthly fee.

Highly flexible pricing with payments by the hour +Scale CPU, GPU, and storage as needed+Hourly pricing: pay what you use+24/7 phone/chat/email customer support+Includes AWS Security Hub and Application Manager

One of the biggest advantages with Amazon WorkSpaces is the flexible pricing. Businesses that are interested in trying out the services can take advantage of a free tier with two workspaces, for up to 40 hours per month. There are several payment options based on disk size, number of CPUs, memory, and whether you bring your own licenses (BYOL).

2- Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Citrix is another big name in DaaS, and the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops platform has great hosted desktop services that are particularly well suited to a mobile workforce. Users can connect from Android, Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and iOS/iPadOS and seamlessly switch between devices while maintaining workflow. 

A Standalone version, deployed as a cloud service, includes Windows and Linux provisions, while the Workspace Premium Plus solution adds open support for any public cloud or hypervisor and is marketed as a comprehensive digital platform for managing Windows, Linux, web, SaaS, and mobile apps.

3- Azure Virtual Desktop

Azure Virtual Desktop enables businesses to provision Windows 7 or 10 virtual machines, complete with support for Office 365 and many third-party applications. WVD has excellent device support as well: Windows, iOS/iPadOS, MacOS, Chrome OS, Android, and all major browsers. 

Pricing depends on region, operating system, virtual machine (CPU, GPU, and memory), and usage (in hours, days, or months) and is thus flexible.   

With Azure, customers benefit from great backup and recovery features, making this one of the best providers for data security.  

Challenges with DaaS

DaaS deployments require a certain minimum network speed and reliability. High network latency could lead to a frustrating experience for the end-users. Then there’s the question of security and compliance.

Data stored on the cloud might have certain special security considerations that don’t apply to data stored locally. Then there’s the plethora of data privacy and security mandates organizations need to take care of when cloud storage is involved.