The case for cloud-hosted virtual desktops

Cloud-Hosted Virtual Desktops are part of a cutting-edge technology approach that presents companies with many advantages in terms of cost, speed, sustainability, and more — but particularly in the critical area of cybersecurity.

But first, what is a Cloud-Hosted Virtual Desktop? Also known more simply as a Virtual Desktop, it’s an IT model whereby users access their computer on a simple device — no significant resources needed — while all software and data are stored on a distant, secure server. It’s part of a modern IT approach called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet.

All one needs is a generic terminal of some kind — anything ranging from an iPad to a desktop computer to a smart phone — with a monitor and keypad. The user employs the keypad to input commands and content as usual, but the local device is only used to send those commands to a server where they are processed in real time and rendered on the local screen. The user experience is unchanged from the traditional method of using devices like desktops or laptops, but the benefits are vast.

This arrangement vastly decreases the emphasis on the local device with which a user is interacting, while elevating the power and advantages of a secure server. In IT lingo, it’s the creation of a computer environment as a service, rather than a capital expenditure based on hardware.

There are two main types of Virtual Desktops:

  • Remote Desktop

The more traditional type available, widely used since the 1990s, is a fully-loaded computer used to remotely access a session on someone else’s hardware. Users send keystrokes, and in return, the Remote Desktop renders information on the user’s screen. While this solution did untether the user experience by geography, it didn’t create the savings in cost, setup time, and security inherent in the more recently developed Virtual Desktop.

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

This more modern method involves the hosting of desktop environments on a central server. The endpoint the user operates can be a tablet or thin client terminal. Citrix is a well-known provider of this style of Virtual Desktop.

VDI is a solution Concertium provides for many clients. The benefits are substantial:

  • Security

The most important reason to consider a VDI model is that it is exponentially more secure than the traditional version. No data resides on the vessel that connects with the distant server. The user is only sending mouse clicks — all software and data is stored on the server. From a corporate security standpoint, all security measures can now be housed in one central location — the main server.

  • Software & Virus Security Updates

All software — including critical virus security — is stored on the central server, so updates don’t require individual user compliance, but may be implemented in a quicker and more coordinated way, in one central location.

  • More Green/Sustainable

VDI leverages existing equipment better than the older methods. It also works well with a system of generic, centralized loaner computers, or a floating workstation system. This creates less need to dispose of terminals as quickly as is often the case in the traditional office model.

  • Lower Cost

Since each terminal doesn’t need a hard drive or RAM, each terminal is much cheaper to purchase or replace.

  • Fewer Supply Chain Issues

It’s easier to supply employees around an office — or even around the world — because VDI allows for the use of so many different types of client terminals.

  • Speed to Market

The VDI model is more quickly scalable than the traditional desktop/laptop model. For instance, in the traditional IT model, to supply 300 laptops for employees would involve a lot of time and expense by the IT team to set up each laptop with all software; VDI doesn’t require that. The lack of a practical ceiling in terms of users that can be rolled out can be very attractive for organizations needing to pivot or scale quickly.

  • Variable Work Schedules

For firms operating across time zones, VDI permits the use of central resources judiciously, just when a user needs them, instead of paying for computing power that sits dormant most of each day.

  • Continuum of Work

The VDI model allows work to be continued seamlessly from any device, a great complement for remote and mobile work.

  • Contractor-Friendly

No need to purchase and set up a temporary — and expensive — traditional desktop or laptop for a contractor; with VDI, all that’s needed is a terminal with internet connection and the right authentication.

  • No Access by Terminated Employees

With nothing stored on the virtual terminal, it’s easier to ensure that a terminated employee doesn’t have continued access to files; turning off their access can be done instantly and remotely.

Ultimately, VDI is a solution that provides peace of mind by centralizing the efforts of a managed security service provider (MSSP) to provide value for the client. Contact Concertium using the link below to learn more.