Most IT leaders (75%) predict that desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) — a modern spinoff of virtual desktop infrastructure — will become a key enabler of secure workplace services. Even though traditional on premise VDI promised greater user mobility, better IT management and more security, the technology was slow to catch on because it had its own set of challenges; it was costly, complex, needed a dedicated team and was difficult to deploy and manage. Now Gartner forecasts that cloud based VDI solutions (or DaaS) spending will more than double by 2024. So why has DaaS suddenly become so attractive to the enterprise? Four reasons explain this trend:
- The Rise of Hybrid Work
Whether one should work remotely or operate in-person is no longer binary since workers want the best of both worlds. This hybrid model creates a major security challenge because the corporate perimeter has become irrelevant. VPNs probably made sense when a fraction of workers operated remotely, however VPNs became unattractive because it is difficult to scale it across the entire workforce. With DaaS as the core foundation, enterprises can easily allow work from anywhere to anyone (remote workers, third parties, contingent workers etc.) without worrying about the perimeter or putting corporate resources at risk. The reason being, DaaS is a centralized technology and users are basically accessing everything from the cloud and storing everything back on the cloud enabling scalability and flexibility without compromising on security.
- Evolving User Preference and Expectations
By 2025, nearly a third (27%) of the workforce will be Gen Z. Research shows that Gen Z is a mobile-first workforce who want personalization as part of the user experience. Organizations are therefore increasingly having to support multiple devices, multiple operating systems and a more complex infrastructure from an apps perspective. Securing and supporting applications for two different platforms is a challenge — redeveloping them, retesting them, recertifying them –causing the IT application budget to double. DaaS solves this flexibility and preferences issue because DaaS is both device and platform independent. IT teams no longer have to worry about multiple devices or end point management, DaaS technologies simplify creation of a personalization layer to provide persistent desktop experience.
- The Cloud and 5G Make DaaS More Viable
Network latency too has a large role to play in the overall user experience in VDI environments, users send keystrokes and mouse movements to a remote machine through the network and virtual desktop performance is highly dependent on quality if network connectivity between end point and VDI. Even though VDI did evolve to run faster, traditional VDI didn’t go mainstream because it was reputed to be slow due to underlying network issues. The emergence of 5G connectivity will kill network latency issues and this will create a seamless user experience for employees that are operating on virtual machines.
- Security Is a High Business Priority
Cyber risks are a top business concern globally. With employees working from home and using their own tools, devices and software, organizations are increasingly vulnerable to cyber- attacks. Even if digital infrastructure is watertight, physical security might still be vulnerable. Imagine a laptop in a backpack getting lost or stolen in transit. There’s also a looming threat from malicious insiders wanting to steal data such as research, product design, or intellectual property. Further, the average laptop has 8-10 security tools running (VPNs, endpoint security software, data encryption, backup, etc.) significantly reducing available CPU cycles and affecting user experience.
DaaS can help overcome most of these security and performance issues because everything is processed and stored on the cloud. Organizations have better control over access privileges and can layer additional security controls. For instance, a combination of multi-factor (or biometric) authentication and advanced traffic analyzer systems can be created on top of DaaS’s inherent security capabilities to detect any virtual instance, user or device that exhibits suspicious behavior. DaaS platforms can also be enabled to record sessions and can also be configured to separate VDI’s into different VLANs or network segments to segregate users from different business units and service functions, enabling access of applications and data only to those who need to access.
The shift from physical desktops to virtual has already begun. The VDI market is poised for growth at a 20% rate, crossing $55 billion by 2028. Solution providers like Citrix, Microsoft, and Google are uniquely positioned to deliver best-in-class user experience, functionality, speed, security and ecosystem management for customers looking to enhance workplace infrastructure and augment workspace intelligence. Studies show that DaaS delivers more ROI than traditional VDI, is more stable and is no longer limited to specific use-cases or specific verticals. With global trends like remote work, cloud computing, 5G connectivity and cybersecurity concerns gathering pace, it’s only a matter of time until DaaS is accepted as a de facto standard for the future of work.
About the Author
Seshu Venkata is General Manager and Global Head for Wipro cloud and infrastructure services. Founded in 1945 in Bangalore, Wipro is a $10 billion global IT, consulting and business process services company with 250,000+ employees serving clients across all continents.Profile on Linkedin.