Virtual Desktops for Increased Security and Lower Costs
Twitter and Square’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, is tackling the issue of how businesses do business in the time of unprecedented economic and health upheaval. He instituted a new policy, along this remote working line, that is allowing employees to work from home “forever.” One of the tools being utilized utilized to help employees and businesses succeed outside the home is Virtual Desktops. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the value and necessity of working remotely. In this stressful time of Sheltering-in-Place orders and Self-Isolation, companies must look to new ways to keep the drive of their businesses not just running but doing so smoothly. Many companies are finding that most work, thought only to be done in offices, can be done at home.
Virtual Desktops allow businesses ease of remote employee management, reduced IT costs, centralized desktop management, and an easier means to patch and upgrade software with just a few clicks of a button.
What are Virtual Desktops?
Employees having the ability to access all their familiar programs and applications on their personal desktops from work securely at home draws companies to virtual desktops. Getting the work done wherever you are is the main virtue of virtualization. By having a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) in place, a business is not only ready to accommodate the dedicated and occasional remote employee but is also able to flourish as a robust remote workforce in times of uncertainty; shifting business as usual from brick and mortar structures to more flexible, adaptable environments.
The success of any IT project is tied to The User Experience (UX). If the experience is poor, then performance issues will occur. Drops in productivity, efficiency, and overall satisfaction, by and large, can be linked to increases in IT help being needed that IT Departments do not necessarily have the bandwidth to solve; leaving them scrambling to put out fires. Virtual Desktops have virtualization that is familiar and intuitive to employees seeking to accomplish their job functions. The UX of virtual desktops is the appearance of the normal interface of their work computer. Employees would be able to access all their familiar programs and applications because the VDI behaves as a traditional desktop. They would be able to pick up at home where they left off at work without the daunting and unsecure means of personal/familiar devices.
How Do Virtual Desktops work?
VDI’s are housed on servers within a data center. These systems are called hypervisors—remote servers used to simulate the user desktop and enable multi use (instances) of the same operating system. This is great for sharing work in projects between multiple devices or employees who are working in various locations. Hypervisors can then be used to create virtual servers as needed. Inside the server is installed DaaS (Desktop as a Service) software. Within the DaaS software a Desktop Virtual Machine is created. This Desktop Virtual Machine acts as original copy of the virtual machine (VM) that employee’s access from their computers in varied locations. Multiple computers accessing one VM is called a Session Hosted Environment. This is allowing users who use nearly the same computing power to work from one virtual location: ideal for certain departments, projects, and groups. And those who use more computing power, like engineers or employees who use a lot of photoshop, can be put on a VM all their own in Dedicated Hosted Environments. This gives every employee the opportunity to do their work in a space just for them.
Are Virtual Desktops Safe?
Just the thought of employees taking company material home gives many businesses anxiety. Virtual Desktops provide multi-layered security:
- Corporate Resources hosted in one location
Having multiple copies of data on individual computers, saved on portable drives, and/or the taking of sensitive data home to be worked on is a security nightmare. Through a Virtual Desktop information can be accessed but none of the company’s sensitive information ever leaves the data center. Through physical disaster—earthquake, hurricane, fire—or intrusion the data stays safe.
- Layers of security
As company data is hosted outside the physical business environment and within a data center various tools are in place to keep various data smugglers— “hacktivists” and the criminal—from accessing company material. The use of badges, usernames and passwords, firewalls, encryption, and physical separation from the actual business create a multi-layered security apparatus that is difficult for malicious individuals or organizations to penetrate.
Who Uses Virtual Desktops?
Healthcare, Educational, Shift Working, and other industries are looking to desktop virtualization to help adapt to changing workforces. Companies are keen to look at avenues to make a successful business by creating an infrastructure that creates greater freedom for employees. VDI’s encourage freedom by being able to exhibit flexibility with various devices and differing locations. Because of the movements of the workforce, businesses that do not stifle employee freedom of movement are able to maximize employee performance and business security. Many different industries are turning to virtual desktops to find this freedom while being secure with sensitive information:
Healthcare is a fast-moving environment where no day is the same. So, flexibility and adaptability are essential to getting the job done when dealing with patients. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff want to provide a wellness experience by reducing wait times and the hassle of paperwork. Virtual desktops provide secure ways to guard patient data, and increase access speed, through reduced login times for doctors and nurses, that helps create greater trusted connections with patients leading to a better diagnosis. VDI is providing quick, simplified solutions that are easy to maintain and deploy making it easier for those on the frontlines of medical emergencies to collaborate through use of multiple devices making patience care collaborative.
Educators in school districts across the country are using their school systems’ Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to help keep teachers and students connected.
Through virtual desktops remote students can still get a quality education at home using educational tools on familiar devices. And by using virtual desktops it helps to alleviate the “digital divide” students sometimes experience because of the coolness, or capability, of their home devices as the desktop is the same for everyone.
And teachers can devise a creative curriculum leveraging all the internet has to provide from virtual museum tours to visiting professors/guest speakers on video conferencing software extending.
For administrators, this new way of reaching students has cut the cost of hardware provided in school and, in some cases, teaching material costs along with the hiring of IT workers for individual schools. Now, school IT departments can have a centralized location within the system to address the difficulties of the whole system at one.
- Shift workers
Working in the current climate and beyond can be tricky as most “essential workers” are shift workers. But usage of virtual desktops can allow for companies with shift workers an advantage with an easier time managing the day to day of labor. Virtual desktops can be used as a less physical on-site means of communication by allowing shift workers to access essentials from the company from home or sending out group communications to smart phones or tablets. Virtual Desktops are the perfect way to create paperless services or streamline management to employee processes by highlighting essential information through the virtual desktop e.g. employee manuals, paystubs, vacation requests, direct company communication in the form of email and newsletters, and other relevant information. And, in the case of some companies, training for new hires or additional training for current employees that could be done from the comfort of home securely on familiar devices.
Healthcare, Education, and Shift-Working is just a small sample of where virtual desktops can lend service. These multi session environments create for easier usage of company resources and allows for easier management of remote employees. This allows for employees and others the opportunity to be more productive and efficient members of their teams.
What is the cost?
Companies spend millions of dollars in IT infrastructure costs—buying servers and employee computers, maintenance, upgrades and patches, and IT salaries.
IT departments can run more efficiently as Virtual Desktops reduce the need to fix individual problems with employee computers. They are also able to administer updates and patches quicker with a few clicks on their computer to a VM which employees share. This decreases the number of people working in IT departments but increases the reaction time of IT to solve problems.
Are Virtual Desktops right for you?
A medium to large company will spend considerable amounts of money on security, manpower, and new tools supporting their workforce. Virtual Desktops increase security controls while also increasing flexibility for machine use and providing opportunities for significant cost savings.
Call or contact RadiusBridge today to learn more about whether VDI’s are right for your business. We have a host of services to help. Visit our website for more information on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.