Business continuity with Windows Virtual Desktop
After the recent disruption to the workforce caused by COVID-19, I have seen business continuity become a top priority for many companies.
That’s where Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) comes in.
If you are not familiar with WVD, we recommend that you read one of our previous blogs to learn the basics of the platform before diving into this blog.
Windows Virtual Desktop means business continuity
With WVD, desktops are hosted in a virtual environment, powered by Azure. You can access your full Windows operating system through Azure from any PC or mobile device. Virtually hosting your desktop offers you increased protection, due to the high level of security. It also gives you numerous benefits for business continuity, such as:
1. Full Desktop Virtualisation without Gateway Servers
With an Azure subscription, your users can gain access to a virtual desktop without the use of gateway servers. By eliminating additional servers, you reduce your overall virtual app and desktop running costs.
2. Access from any device
Users can connect to their Windows Virtual Desktops through a variety of devices. They can access their workspace at any time, and from the device of their choice, which boosts productivity.
Keeping your files on a physical device increases security concerns because your digital assets exist on several computers. If someone steals or hacks your computers, or they crash, you risk significant data loss. However, with WVD, your data is secure in your Azure virtual environment. So, even if your computer does get stolen or suffers significant damage, your data is still safe.
4. Quick Deployment of new Desktops
You can quickly deploy WVD to new team members. With physical devices, you would have to go through the effort of ‘cleaning’ the computer of a former employee. However, with WVD, this is not necessary as your employee automatically receives a new desktop environment with all of the apps they require. You can save WVD configurations for each department in your organisation. These configurations have all the suitable applications needed for each department. So, if there is a new user, all you need to do is deploy that specific configuration for them.
5. Reduce Hardware Costs
With traditional computers, you need to ensure they have the correct configuration, memory, and storage space. However, with virtual desktops, it does not matter if your computer has low-level specifications because you can still access the virtual environment as long as you have an internet connection.
6. Business Continuity
Overall, the benefits of WVD add to business continuity as cloud environments make your company immune to most disasters, and users are always operational regardless of their location.
Windows Virtual Desktop and COVID-19, and beyond
If users have to work remotely all of a sudden, you may have an issue with computers not being mobile, or a user having little knowledge on how to install and configure VPN software. Even if they can install the VPN software, they could overwhelm the VPN concentrator.
It is evident from an operational standpoint that remote workers can encounter numerous issues, which is why you need to prepare with a response plan.
WVD can be beneficial to your response plan because it removes the constraints of hardware and location. Bandwidth to and from the workplace is not a concern as connectivity stems from the Microsoft Azure data centre.
Remote working with Windows Virtual Desktop
WVD is quickly becoming the preferred tool for remote work due to the following reasons:
1. Fast and cost-effective deployments — you can deliver apps and desktops from the cloud quickly and only pay for the storage and virtual machines you use. Infrastructure changes are simplified, and your ROI is optimised regardless if you are onboarding new team members or preparing for a merger or acquisition. With the Windows 10 Edge Browser, you can also enable online services. These services support modern web standards like improved HTML5, CSS support and frequent updates.
2. Simplicity — you do not need to use multiple log-ins or a VPN to leverage the entire 0365 workloads. To enable a more Windows-like experience, you can replace your older Remote Desktop Services (RDS) based solution with WVD.
3. Managed Services — you can grant remote or temporary employees the ability to use a desktop for as long as needed and close it down when it is no longer in use. Additionally, your IT department has more time to work on critical tasks as you can centralise and simplify application delivery with a single interface.
4. High Performance — high-definition user experience regardless of whether they are in the office, on the go, or at home. Users have the benefit of using a single solution and logon to gain access to resource-intensive apps and graphics where they always have access to the right desktops for their lines of work.
5. Security — you can scale desktop on-demand up or down without additional capital expense, ensuring business continuity. You can also separate corporate and personal data through WVD and Windows 10’s Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) feature.
6. Compliance — with secure, cloud-based data storage, you stay in line with the GDPR, NBD and CPS234 privacy regulations. You can also run specialised workloads, including those requiring higher security and compliance measures, which helps you meet increasingly complex business and security requirements within your company.
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