Whether your organization is small or large, there are many tasks your IT staff needs to have a handle on to effectively manage a fleet of physical desktops and laptops.
- Selecting an end-point with the right amount of resources and that you can easy support
- Which disk encryption to use on your endpoints
- How to backup the data from the endpoint
- W@H and/or BYOD policies
- Which VPN solution for remote connectivity
Luckily for IT teams, adopting virtual desktops via desktop as a service (DaaS) can significantly streamline many of these tasks, from big ticket items down to everyday tasks. An outsourced DaaS provider can help get IT budgets on a more predictable model while freeing up IT staff to focus on business-critical and forward thinking tasks. Selecting the right DaaS solution – one that is fully managed – allows IT teams to offload much of the heavy lifting in these key areas.
In a physical desktop deployment model, many organizations have a big question to answer: What infrastructure will you need to deploy and maintain your desktop environment?
- Use the pre-loaded OEM OS, loaded on the endpoint, and manage each machine manually.
- Deploy a desktop imaging software suite to clone machines from a base image and manage them manually after the initial clone.
- Spend a lot of money and resources on a system like Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to automate the deployment and maintenance of the desktops. This of course is the most complex and expensive option of the three listed here.
Looking at a DaaS provider to offload these tasks can take a large burden off of your already over taxed IT staff. With a DaaS infrastructure, you get all the advanced features like SSCM, without having to provide all the skills to run a system to this magnitude.
Solution providers that specialized in DaaS have highly seasoned engineers to custom build each customer to the exact specs required for each unique use case. Companies can rest assured that their infrastructure components (like all of the networking gear, firewalls, hyper-visors, anti-virus signatures and storage arrays) are updated and tuned optimally to support your workloads.
Outsourcing the infrastructure component also reduces future demands on budget and resources as any maintenance and updates are the responsibility of the solution provider.
2. Desktop Provisioning
After you decide how you’re going to build out your infrastructure and which components you needed to configure to implement your desktop environment, you now are tasked with provisioning your desktops. The infrastructure method you decide on can drastically change the amount of work on your IT staff. Depending on how spread out your organization is, this part can be challenging; you might have IT resources at all sites supporting the physical desktops or need costly systems to cache images while relying on the WAN for synchronizing updates to keep these images updated.
In a DaaS model, organizations are not required to keep large amounts of support staff in remote offices to manage the provisioning of desktops. Companies that chose the more automated route no longer have to worry about provisioning desktops across their often-latent WAN connections, or spend lots of money duplicating their imaging servers in other sites. DaaS helps you centralize your desktop footprint, while giving your IT team full control over which software is distributed to the individual users groups. As your business grows and new business units come online, your IT department can keep up with the new demands by shortening the procurement and provisioning process when you partner with a DaaS provider.
3. Maintaining Desktop Patching
Traditional desktop deployment models are most often plagued with ensuring that desktops receive the latest vulnerability patches. We all are well aware of the uptick in Ransomware attacks the last few years. Organizations that need to patch machines for zero-day threats are at a big disadvantage if you are not centralizing your machines in your datacenter. If are you using WSUS or any other third-party application, you have to go on a witch-hunt to track down your endpoints and make sure all of them are fully patched. In the non-virtual desktop model, organizations that allow data to leave their datacenter are most vulnerable when these types of attacks strike.
DaaS vendors have a unique play in this space when it comes to ensuring desktops are fully patched and can provide a greater level of confidence and security. You no longer have to track down all the machines you need to patch. With all machines residing in your datacenter you now have full control over all machines that have access to your corporate data. DaaS vendors that offer post-implementation support can also lend another set of eyes to further protect your organization from any of the latest zero-day threats. A fully managed service will proactively contact your organization to patch these security vulnerabilities as soon as it makes sense for your business. (Note: This type of support isn’t a blanket offering with all DaaS solutions. For this type of support, make sure you find a DaaS provider that will be a true partner, not just sell you a solution.)
With that said, we all know that no matter how diligent you are by keeping your systems up to date, you are never 100% secure. For those organizations that have special compliance requirements like HIPAA and PCI, selecting the right DaaS provider can help make compliance management and maintenance easier. There are verified compliant DaaS providers that offer compliant virtual desktop solutions. These special services wrap many other technologies around your virtual desktops. For instance, with Dizzion’s PCI and HIPAA compliant services, technologies like LMS, FIM, WAF and IDS/IPS all roll up to our SIEM for constant monitoring, 24/7/365. As hackers and Nation-State cyber wars continue, how are you going to combat these highly sophisticated attacks?
4. Monitoring & Capacity Management
Companies that have work from home employees often have difficulties with troubleshooting their end users. When your end users call up seeking help what toolsets are you going to use to ensure you can get their issues resolved in a timely manner? Are you going to be able to securely shadow or look into their session to see what they are doing or do you have to fly blind and try to audibly hear what they are struggling with? Are you going to allow these users to surf the Internet locally with corporate data potentially present? There are many questions one might find themselves trying to solve when more and more organizations push their employees to their home offices.
DaaS environments may provide a significant upper hand when it comes to monitoring the virtual desktop environment (over in-house build solutions) because of complementary management portals. Dizzion’s portal offers interactive dashboards with reporting, all from a single pane of glass. You will be able to see detailed processes running on each individual virtual desktop, whereas your IT staff can proactively reach out to your end users rather than them having to report their issues. DaaS monitoring tools also include the ability to shadow a user or simply put a mirror of what the end user is seeing to expedite incident resolution. DaaS providers have unique abilities to bundle these tools and enable your support staff to proactively keep your users up and running while limiting the amount of downtime and revenue loss. If this type of monitoring is important to you, be sure to ask about capabilities when researching and vetting providers.
Focus Where It Matters
Organizations considering whether to build their own virtual desktop environments or turning to a provider to help automate the process and provide a wide range of tools to deploy, patch and monitor have a number of things consider. When you elect to partner with an expertise in desktop delivery, you can rest assure that your organization can keep a direct focus on your business drivers and goals, rather than on a device or technology that isn’t going to make you money.
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