The rise of the virtual desktop
The many benefits offered by virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) means this is the ideal answer to the challenge enterprises face in enabling remote workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the way we do business, forcing many organisations to shift their business online and enable their employees to work from home. As a result, enterprises have had to quickly adjust and scale up their infrastructure.
Naturally, since companies were unprepared, they rushed out solutions for work-from-home employees, even while knowing that there were security risks involved, potential impacts on productivity and unknown network issues.
As these companies find themselves working through addressing the shortcomings of this approach, now is an ideal time to consider virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other digital workspace technologies that can deliver a secure and productive experience for remote workers. Pedro Maia, MD of Intdev, says the benefits of VDI include improved security, reduced operational expense and increased employee productivity gains, all of which businesses really need right now.
“For one thing, in a virtual environment, it is easy to ring-fence machines, since VDI is essentially just a dumb terminal, being a browser-based desktop in the cloud. This means all the important stuff sits behind the corporate security, where it will remain safe,” he says.
“Another benefit of the virtual approach is that one can deploy machines on the fly. This means that instead of potentially waiting for days for a new machine, IT can deploy a fully functional machine, from the cloud and protected within the enterprise’s own network and security, within seconds.”
VDI, says Maia, is empowering remote employees and, more importantly, the role of VDI and digital workspaces is receiving the kind of exposure that means it will continue to grow in strength in the post-virus world.
“From a management perspective, VDI allows you to have central management of all your desktops and really control what is being installed and used on these machines. In the same way, centralised management provides greater levels of security control, because it means that you can lock down the image from external devices or prevent the copying of data from the image to your local machine.”
“Remote users or road warriors also benefit, as it means that sensitive data is stored on the server in the enterprise’s own data centre, as opposed to being kept on the device itself. This means that if the end-user's device is stolen, all the critical corporate information that they may have been working on does not go along with it.”
Maia adds that when it comes to an issue like an operating system migration, VDI again comes in handy, as it means the central management can simply push out an image of the latest version to the users. In addition, he says, the business can create a library of VDI images, enabling the central management to meet a wide range of company requirements in this manner.
“As for the benefits to the users themselves, firstly, it means they are able to go green since a thin client VDI session certainly uses less electricity than a desktop computer, which has the additional benefit of saving the company money in respect of power costs. The second benefit is independence, since with VDI, it does not really matter what end-user device is utilised.”
“I think VDI has a great future ahead of it, and its evolution has been accelerated by the global crisis. Ultimately, its ability to improve security while also saving the business money – both in terms of reduced power and by eliminating the need for high-end desktops – coupled with the fact that it reduces employees’ carbon footprints, thereby helping them to save the planet, means uptake will only go from strength to strength,” he concludes.