Desktop-as-a-Service: all your questions answered
The digital working environment is the operational basis for all (office) employees. It is therefore important that it does what it’s supposed to do and is available at all times. A Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offers such a guarantee. Is DaaS something you’re organisation might need? What should you pay attention to? And how do you keep control? You can read all about it in this blog.
At Ctac we help many organizations with the design of their digital workplaces. For this blog, I have collected and processed all the questions that customers regularly ask about such a project. That will help you to know exactly what to expect if you choose a DaaS concept.
1. What exactly is Desktop-as-a-Service?
Desktop-as-a-Service is an online desktop that is purchased based on numbers and a fixed price. This means that you don’t buy and manage the basic functionalities such as Microsoft Office, email applications, data storage, backups, security, and upgrades yourself. But what you get is a guarantee of a good, fast, and safe workplace for all your staff who need it. A service provider ensures that everything is arranged so that end users can even use an old laptop to work with the latest applications.
2. How does it work?
With DaaS, the only thing that you’ll need are the devices and an internet connection. Employees can login to their own virtual environment and have access to all of the applications that they need to do their job. In general, the service provider ensures that all the basic functionalities are present. In addition, a link is made with and between all the different relevant business applications. These are role-based of course, so that nobody will be bothered with applications that they won’t ever use. In this way, you’ll immediately control the costs of the licenses you need.
3. What are the advantages of DaaS?
There are many advantages, but I’ll summarize the most important three:
Availability. Because the applications aren’t running on the devices themselves, but in the service provider’s secure data centre, everything is managed centrally. Has a device malfunctioned? Or did an employee forget to take their laptop to an appointment? This doesn’t have to affect the work, because the personal desktop and the applications, as well as data connected to it, will be always available everywhere.
Performance. The business applications are located on the service provider’s server, so there is only a minimal effect on the computing power of the devices. This means that you can be certain that your staff will be able to work effortlessly without being bothered by applications jamming or slow responding word processors or cursors. The same applies when they work with older devices. And because the servers are always up-to-date, everyone will automatically work with the latest versions of Windows and Microsoft Office.
Security. Employees only have to login once to get access to their applications, but that single sign-on will always be verified using Multi Factor Authentication. In addition, the virtual space is as safe as possible, partly because this is controlled and managed centrally. An additional advantage: if an employee’s laptop is stolen, no business-critical data is lost.
4. What sort of organizations is DaaS relevant for?
Basically any organisation with twenty or more end-users. There is no real maximum, because you can offer an own virtual workplace for thousands of employees. The investment quickly pays back the costs because, on the one hand IT management costs will go down, and, on the other hand, because the operational costs will also go down (thin clients are simply a lot cheaper than new PCs or laptops).
5. Will organizations be able to stay in control?
A fair question. With DaaS, the service provider will be responsible to organisations for ensuring that the digital workplace will always be available and will function correctly. This means that IT departments will no longer have to deal with the updating and patching of individual workplaces. However, this doesn’t mean that IT will lose its overview and control. Through a management portal like Citrix Director, you’ll always have real-time insight into the performance and response time of the desktops. You can easily see who is doing what, which applications are being used, and what their impact is on the performance. In addition, you can easily support employees through Citrix Director by having them share their screen.
6. What about the network bandwidth?
DaaS provides employees with access to their workspace wherever they are. However, that doesn’t mean that, by definition, they’ll have the same internet connection on a tropical island as within the walls of their own office. Most secured data centers of service providers are located in Europe or America so the network still has to bridge the distance from the (holiday) location to the data center.
7. Will DaaS work with all applications?
Not all applications will work as standard in a DaaS concept. That’s why it’s important that service providers work together closely with the various application suppliers to ensure the appropriate coordination so that applications will function smoothly in the DaaS environment. In addition, there will always be applications that will have to be installed locally, such as the most extensive version of Photoshop or AutoCAD for technical sketches. In that case, users can easily switch between their desktop in the cloud and their local application.
8. What about additional devices?
In most cases, the workplace will consist of more than just a desktop; certain professions are dependent on equipment that surrounds their laptop or PC. For example, lawyers often use dictation devices and designers often use a trackpad. This certainly doesn’t have to be an obstacle for DaaS environments (because most of the equipment will fit in seamlessly) but, in that case, you will have to check everything out and test it first.
9. How do I select a DaaS service provider?
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
Does the IT party have affinity and experience with workplace service delivery? It makes a difference whether a service provider is doing this as an ‘extra’ or whether it is part of their core business. With the latter, you’ll be certain that the knowledge, innovation, and the performance promises will be of good quality.
What technology does a service provider works with? For example, at Ctac we work with the latest technology from Microsoft and Citrix.
Is there full integration with Office365? For many organisations, it is very important that employees have the possibility to work in multiple mailboxes and calendars. And also that they can search as efficiently as possible with the aid of caching and indexing.
Does the service provider offer a management portal such as Citrix Director, one in which you can track the performance of your DaaS environment?
Are there any references? Make sure that you ask for them!
Is it possible to request a demo account so that you can test and ‘play’ for yourself on this environment?
Does the service provider work with application suppliers? And if so, which ones?
Would you like to know more about DaaS?
Then register now for the webinar ‘DaaS with Business Productivity’ on Thursday October 18th. Together with my colleague Ramsy Lowes (Senior Technical Specialist), I will show you what such an environment will look like and we will also be able to answer all of your questions.