Why a cloud-based virtual desktop is good for your small business

A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) gives you and your team a flexible way to access your workstation operating systems and applications

The term virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can easily confuse inexperienced businesspeople – especially as what manufacturers call ‘infrastructure’ is often complex and expensive. However, there is a risk of overcomplicating the definition of VDI

It certainly isn’t helpful for novice entrepreneurs that VDI can come into play as a label for a large range of technological elements, including remote terminal sessions and browser and cloud-based software.

However, VDI can be simply described as technology that detaches application processing from the physical computer to which the user has direct access.

With VDI, workstation operating systems and applications are hosted on a server, while these ‘virtualised’ operating systems and applications can be accessed from devices ranging from thin clients and terminals to smartphones and tablets. VDI can have various favourable implications for your company’s computing routines; here are a few examples of such implications:

Your IT resources can be accessed through various devices

Your company’s workforce might currently use a patchwork of different operating systems – including not only traditional desktop platforms like Windows and Linux but also such mobile options as Android and iOS. This situation can make optimising a workstation routine tricky.

However, with VDI, it doesn’t have to matter if your employees use a range of devices. Your personnel can still access the company’s VDI-based operating systems and software, provided that their devices are capable of connecting to the host server. This is because those resources are virtualised; thus, you don’t need to download these resources to any of the devices’ local storage.

Your employees can more easily work using personal devices

Running a start-up, you may find that finances are tight and so, at least for the time being, it would be more desirable to let your employees work using their own, personal devices, rather than using devices in which your firm might invest strictly for corporate use.

A bring-your-own-device strategy can be easier when your company has a VDI solution in place. VDI client software is available for devices running the majority of operating systems, including Windows and macOS. While iPads run the relatively locked-down iOS operating system, these devices can also be used for VDI as long as you download the VDI client app.

Software can be patched more quickly and easily

Regularly patching and updating software can be vital for your start-up. It would, for example, allow your workers to utilise the latest features and so enhance operational efficiency. Perhaps even more crucially, it would also help secure the company’s computer system.

However, attempting to manage patching is a common nightmare for IT departments. While it would be possible for you to configure the likes of Windows and antivirus software to automatically download updates as they become available, you would still need to manually download and install certain pieces of software – Java being one good example.

Providing patches can be much more straightforward for your IT staff when they are handling a VDI solution, as all of your firm’s machines would be hosted on a single server. This can be a particularly strong boon for security, as the arrangement would enable your staff to keep security settings standardised across all virtualised workstations. Clearly, this can banish the possibility of malware springing a shock on someone using software with inadvertently neglected security.

You can more firmly secure sensitive data

Your sensitive data will be safer when part of a VDI solution as the data will be hosted on servers or hosted data centres. While your staff can make and work with sensitive data on numerous computing devices, that data will never be saved to the actual device.

For this reason, your company will not need to fret about such data coming to public light if any of the organisation’s devices – laptops, smartphones or tablets included – are lost or stolen.

Your business can establish more seamless remote connections

It isn’t too early for your business to consider how it might expand in the future. For example, do you anticipate your company one day buying another firm in a different part of the country? If you indeed follow through with this strategy, it could take weeks for you to transition that remote office.

However, one exception could be if your company is using VDI at the time of the new acquisition. In this situation, the staff at the new office could quickly start using the same services and applications to which the other employees have long been accustomed. Therefore, your company can save considerable time and money in its effort to integrate new staff with the existing workforce.

You can easily improve and scale up a VDI solution

While you might now have realised many merits of VDI, keep in mind that many of your competitors may have done so, too. In fact, the world’s VDI market is anticipated to see 11.31% growth by 2020. Fortunately, enhancing a VDI solution to help keep your business competitive is not arduous. You could, for example, transition a VDI estate to the cloud.

Doing so can unlock fresh and exciting possibilities for how your firm manages its desktop. For your company’s benefit, RedPixie can implement a Citrix VDI estate hosted in the Azure cloud. With this solution, you can speedily expand or reduce memory and storage to make rightsizing your VDI estate easier. This, in turn, can help maximise that estate’s performance.

Moving to this cloud solution can also free up resources on your premises – and, as a result, let you more readily accommodate such initiatives as Windows 10 desktop transformation. RedPixie’s VDI calculator shows how you could save 36% by moving a Citrix VDI estate to Azure.