Windows Virtual Desktop benefits for law firms
We’ve looked elsewhere at the concept of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) in general, outlining what it is, how it operates and, in particular, the innovations offered by the launch of Windows Virtual Desktop in 2019.
DaaS involves virtual desktops being hosted in the cloud, enabling an organisation’s users to access their applications, desktop and data from anywhere, at any time with any device – within reason.
Whilst making remote working an easily delivered reality, DaaS removes much of the responsibility from any in-house IT team, placing issues such as disaster recovery, data backup and managing software updates in the hands of the service provider.
The stars align
There are long term benefits of DaaS, but one selling point that has become more obvious thanks to the events of early 2020, is the role it’s likely to play in a large scale switch to remote working.
Statistics show almost 50% of UK people in employment worked from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown; a pattern repeated globally, with half having only done so since the onset of the pandemic.
A seismic shift of this nature requires a jump in technology to make it a practical reality, with many business leaders expressing surprise at how well it has worked.
Research company Valoir undertook a broad-ranging survey of people working from home and reported only a 1% drop in overall productivity, which is something of a minor miracle, bearing in mind two factors:
- The shift to working from home happened suddenly in each country, with little time to put the infrastructure in place or phase the switch in order to spread the impact of the change.
- Many people working from home are also juggling family commitments, like child care and homeschooling, since the lockdown in all countries also involved schools being closed.
Considering these factors, not to mention the general disruption to working life, it’s clear a more phased in, large scale switch to home working, something supported by 40% of workers, would in all probability lead to an increase in productivity.
Remote working will no longer be simply preferable or an attractive option used occasionally, DaaS is set to become the norm and that’s why it’s useful to understand the key benefits:
The workforce of today and more accurately, the workforce of the future, has grown up surrounded by technology which delivers exactly what they want exactly when they need it.
From streaming entertainment to ordering shopping, instant access to data and complete control have been at the heart of the digital transformation of everyday life, and all too often the workplace has lagged behind.
Rather than spending valuable time waiting for the IT department resolve a malfunctioning laptop or desktop PC, the next generation of employees will be able to access the apps and data they need from a range of devices and no matter where they happen to be.
The fact that DaaS is located in the cloud rather than on-premise has a huge impact on the cost. The subscription model of payment removes the need for a large initial capital outlay on items such as the actual hardware itself as well as the necessary licensing.
The computing power needed for the virtual desktop is taken care of in the data centre, which means the devices purchased for users do not have to be high-spec machines and are likely to have a longer life-cycle, offering another indirect cost saving.
As the name indicates DaaS is delivered as a service rather than a product, which means it is far easier to scale up when circumstances demand.
If your organisation is one prone to workload peaks and troughs, frequently requiring temporary teams to deliver specific projects, then DaaS is the ideal solution. It makes it easy to onboard and remove temporary employees from the system, without constantly needing to wipe, replace or reconfigure laptop or desktop computers.
Enabling employees to access your systems and data at any time, via any device offers great flexibility, but for some employers, it might seem a step too far in terms of overall control.
In reality, DaaS enhances control, because the data you wish to protect isn’t stored on an individual’s device but in the cloud-based data centre, allowing you to set your own individual levels of access and compliance.
If an issue with the way data is being used should arise, then access can be removed quickly and simply, leaving no valuable information behind in its wake.
The rise of remote working and ‘Bring Your Own Device’ culture has prompted a parallel rise in concerns around the access to and security of data, simultaneously housed on a number of different end-user devices.
DaaS deals with these concerns, however, because all of the data, while being accessible at all times, is held securely in a data centre. Even the perennial nightmare of a laptop or tablet being left on a train or bus needn’t be a problem since access from a missing device can quickly be withdrawn.
Without DaaS, your technically capable in-house IT team probably spends the bulk of its time working on a simple day to day operations and patching existing systems. By removing the pain of just keeping your IT infrastructure running smoothly, you’ll be liberating your IT team to play a full part in your strategic digital transformation journey.
Rather than being seen as mechanics, they become true engineers, able to work with the business to help introduce greater efficiencies, create and/or deliver new applications and services that deliver on the bottom line.
Daas is a force for change and reflects the current trend to remote working, which means work from anywhere, not just home, but more of that in our next blog.