Over the course of the last few years and as technology continues to advance, we have seen more and more organisations shift parts of their business online. 2020, however, saw that gradual growth accelerate at an unprecedented level. Entire workforces, were forced to move all of their operations online with barely a moment’s notice.
In order to avoid interruptions to workflow and productivity, fast-thinking companies identified Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) built on Microsoft cloud computing platform, Azure, as the solution to their needs.
- What is Azure Virtual Desktop?
- Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop
- Support for Remote Workers
- Improved Business Continuity
What is Azure Virtual Desktop?
Azure Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a service provided by Microsoft that allows employees to access business applications remotely. It delivers a desktop experience and remote apps to any device regardless of location. WVD can run as a standalone service or integrate with existing IT infrastructure using a hybrid cloud model. And, WVD is the only Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), delivering simplified management, multi-session Windows 10 optimisations for Office 365, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments.
What are the Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop?
1. User Experience
For employees, WVD allows them to carry on as if they were in the office and provides them with a familiar office environment experience. So whether they are permanently working from home or perhaps they unexpectedly can’t come into work one day, they will still have the ability to access their desktop and everything they may need from wherever they are using any device they have.
2. Easily Manage Online Business Operations
For employers and businesses, WVD is easy to implement and scale, simple to manage and with its built-in security features, it takes the headache out of how to keep data secure and protect against cyber-attacks. Windows desktop, macOS, iOS, Android, web, and Microsoft Store Client all support Azure Virtual Desktop and so even if an employee is using a personal device at home, productivity and workflow does not have to be interrupted.
3. Cost Effective
Not only does WVD increase efficiency but it can actually reduce costs. If you already have a Windows licence you can access WVD at no extra cost. And, by pooling multi-session resources available, therefore greatly reducing the number of virtual machines required and operating system overheads, businesses will be making huge savings.
4. Advanced Security
Microsoft has strict policies when it comes to data protection and cyber security and Azure has more compliance certifications than any other cloud service. This can provide companies with peace of mind knowing that their data is secure and protected by a large number of built in security features and protocols.
Use Cases for Azure Virtual Desktop
So now you know what WVD is and some of its key features, how exactly does this translate into a real world working scenario? Well, here are some practical use cases of how organisations are making virtual desktops work for them.
Support for Remote Workers
As a result of the pandemic, an estimated 50% of organisations are still operating remotely. Remote working brings with it the added risk of security threats as many employees may be using unsecure networks and in many cases will be working from personal devices. With the decentralisation of employees, organisations need to figure out ways to address and manage IT related tasks such as security and control for employees and devices, compatibility of applications, and administration of software updates.
Azure Virtual Desktop helps to centralise an entire enterprise by providing cloud infrastructure. This keeps all aspects of desktop management in-house, regardless of the employees’ locations. It also enables IT personnel to provide support and to be able to perform any updates or application installations and patches that may be required, all while keeping data available and backed up 24/7.
Secure Third-Party Integrations
Third-party contractors play a vital role in today’s business as organisations can scale, according to their needs, and bring in additional expertise using third-party services. However, this can present major security risks to companies if not managed properly as third-party integrations can open companies up to further security threats and increase the risk of attacks. In fact, a recent Gartner report found that 44% of companies suffered a significant data breach through a third-party vendor.
Azure Virtual Desktop greatly reduces this risk due to third-party integrations. With the right controls in place and with data stored on the cloud instead of a local server or external drive. It limits the data access to third party contractors and the risk of cyber-attacks.
Improved Business Continuity
Business does not have to stop just because you are not at your desk. In a Pandemic world, we have learned the importance of flexibility.
Whether your workforce can’t get into the office because of another lockdown or flood, for example. Or perhaps there has been a gas leak in your building and it has been evacuated. Whatever the reason, it is crucial that your employees can pick up where they left off.
Having all files and applications accessible regardless of PC access or location is, in this day and age, imperative. Work processes and business operations can be maintained and managed no matter what is going on around us so there is no excuse for missing that deadline anymore.
Whatever way you look at it, 2020 was a massive wakeup call for all businesses. Whether or not remote working and exploring the world of online business was something in the pipeline, like it or not, it is now an absolute necessity.
Ensuring flexibility and accessibility of business operations is key to success. And those businesses who choose not to adapt and prepare, for any eventuality, will be the unfortunate ones that get left behind.