Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, a lot of people were working from home (and the number was increasing). Now, as more and more people are forced to work from home, new solutions are needed to guarantee stability and security across many platforms. In this article, we will explore one of these solutions: Virtual desktops.
What Is A Virtual Desktop?
To understand this, you first need to understand virtualization. This is simply the act of simulating a computer system with a virtual machine. In many cases, people use this sort of software to gain more options. For instance, those who like old computer games might simulate Windows 95/98 on a virtual machine. When they do this, they are creating a system within a system, and that has several advantages that go well beyond nostalgic retro gaming.
When this concept is applied to a desktop, what you get is a simulated desktop that can be accessed from anywhere. There are also several security advantages, and we will cover all that later. For now, you just need to know that a virtual desktop exists only within a simulated machine.
Persistent Vs. Non-Persistent Desktops
Before you start using virtual desktops, you should learn the difference between persistent and non-persistent desktops. The big difference is that one of them will be reset with every use, while the other will retain changes made by the user. There are good arguments for the use of both, so consider whether security or convenience is more important for you.
Persistent desktops offer more convenience for your employees, as they allow the user to make lasting changes to the system. Obviously, you can put limits on these changes (like not allowing the virtual desktop to access the internet or simply disallowing social media sites). You definitely want to make sure that your employees cannot download unauthorized programs to the virtual desktop.
Non-persistent desktops will be exactly the same at the start of every session so that previously made changes are not saved. In many cases, you can make this into a more convenient setup by allowing the user to choose from one of several pre-designed desktops. These can be tailored to different purposes, giving the user some customization options. At the same time, security is much tighter on a non-persistent desktop.
Benefits Of Virtual Desktops For Businesses
There are several reasons that companies opt for this kind of desktop setup. Perhaps the most important of these is the one to which we referred in the introduction. When you have a large number of remote workers, it makes a lot more sense to have them working on virtual desktops (as compared to physical ones).
The number one reason is the ease of access that comes with a remote desktop. No matter which device they are using, or where they are located, the home-based employee can access the same familiar desktop environment. They will not have to take the time to adjust to a new setup, because theirs will follow them everywhere.
From a security perspective, a virtual desktop is much safer for the company. First of all, you aren’t giving out access to a real machine, which reduces the insider threat. The amount of information that each person has access to will be strictly limited. Each user will, in effect, be confined to a “sandbox” in which only the information they need is available.
Not only that, but it’s also much easier to revoke access to a virtual machine. If a serious compromise has occurred, it isn’t a big loss to delete a single virtual machine. Another one can be created in minutes, and so the company can burn that bridge with no fear of data loss.
Virtual desktops can also save money by replacing the need for more computers. Instead of buying 100 computers for 100 employees, you can buy 20-30 computers for the company and institute a BYOD policy for most employees. Basically, it comes down to this: A virtual computer is a lot cheaper than a real one. In fact, this kind of thing can sometimes be done for free.
Do Virtual Desktops Work Well With The Cloud?
Yes, a virtual desktop solution can work well with a cloud computing setup. There are many virtual desktop platforms available, but a well-known one is Windows Virtual Desktop. It’s a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service running on the cloud, through Microsoft Azure. It offers simplified management with many features specific to the platform. Windows Virtual Desktop allows you to deploy a more secure and productive experience and has built-in security and compliance features.
Virtualization requires large amounts of a computer’s resources, even when done on a small scale. Once you start talking about hundreds or even thousands of users, the problems can get pretty big. Thankfully, there are a lot of intelligent people working on this problem. If this scientific study is to be believed, they are already making rapid progress.
Why Would You Want More Remote Workers?
Some people might answer by saying something about the recent viral outbreak, but we don’t even need to talk about that. Even without a pandemic raging, you might choose to expand your home-based workforce. Some studies have shown that remote workers tend to be more productive, like this one. These researchers found that when a person is able to follow their chosen schedule, they tend to work more hours and produce more wealth. Incidentally, this isn’t the only study to have confirmed this advantage.
Some people are saying that virtual desktops are the future for businesses. If more and more people continue to work from home, that could very well be true. The use of virtualization technology can sometimes be a little bit slower, but it offers quite a few benefits to make up the difference. If you have found this article to be helpful, and if you would like to read more of our work, please fill out the contact form.