How to Scale Secure Remote Access with VDI in the Cloud

For organizations responding to the global health crisis, remote work is a direct and immediate requirement for business continuity.

In these last few weeks, IT departments have been striving toward this goal.

But for end users, lack of access to work applications may be impeding their return to full productivity after the shift to working from home full-time.

Deploying virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in the cloud provides organizations with the means to scale remote access capabilities and address a sudden spike in the number of remote workers.

Below, we’ll look at five main ways deploying VDI in the cloud provides you with a fast and secure way to succeed with remote work.

How VDI Helps Enable Remote Access

Because virtual desktops run on virtual machines in the cloud or on-premise data center environments and end users access these desktops through PC remoting technology, VDI makes it easier to provide access on-premise corporate and SaaS applications from anywhere on any device.

From a user perspective, performance is often as good as or better than on a local device, because the virtual desktop is adjacent to back-end resources, such as storage. Meanwhile, VDI technology optimizes network traffic to mimic the responsiveness a user might experience on a local desktop.

In addition, VDI makes day-to-day IT tasks like deploying and managing new desktops and supporting distributed workers much less labor-intensive. IT also maintains tight control over movement of data in and out of the business. Because this data isn’t stored on the local device, the risk of data loss if a device is lost or stolen is also much lower.

How VDI in the Cloud Can Help

Provisioning devices and remote access at scale can be complex and time-consuming in a physical data center – especially when IT departments may be required to operate with reduced staff. VDI in the cloud allows IT departments to streamline deployment and administration, improve security and offset the higher cost and complexity associated with on-premise lifecycle management.

Cost Efficiency

VDI in the cloud outsources the physical infrastructure components involved to a cloud service provider, exchanging an upfront CAPEX investment to a more controllable OPEX model. Here, IT departments also avoid the three-to-four-year deprecation cycle associated with on-premise infrastructure.

The result is a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) achieved at the outset of a cloud-hosted deployment, where an on-premise solution might yield a positive ROI after 18 to 24 months. Furthermore, IDC pegs the average cost per user of cloud hosted VDI at 55% lower than that of virtual desktops hosted on-premises [1].

This benefit becomes even more important as organizations look to cut costs in anticipation of economic uncertainty.

Scale Up or Down

In the cloud, the process of adding or removing virtual desktops and applications takes is simple and almost instant. This means an IT department could scale up a remote desktop environment to accommodate a dramatic spike, such as the current scenario, with minimal effort.

In some scenarios, deploying in the cloud also allows organizations to extend their existing on-premises infrastructure for additional scale while using a single pane of glass for management.

Ease of Deployment, Management & Support

Cloud hosted VDI also minimize the technical expertise required to deploy and administer virtual desktops. In fact, IDC estimates IT departments realize an average efficiency in staff time of 57% compared with VDI deployed in an on-premise data center [2].

Because desktops are delivered by a cloud service provider over a secure network and supported by a Service Level Agreement (SLA), end users can also expect higher availability than with physical PCs, which often require a desk-side visit when things go wrong.

By removing the need to maintain physical infrastructure or access devices directly for repair, cloud-hosted virtual desktops offset some of the inherent end-user support challenges in an all-remote scenario.

Improved Security

As with on-premise deployments, VDI in the cloud improves security by storing data with the cloud provider, rather than the individual device. However, organizations can also benefit from the cloud provider’s efforts to update and continuously improve their security measures, alleviating some of the need for in-house cybersecurity skills.

At the same time, by isolating the device OS from corporate applications and data, cloud hosted VDI prevents the spread of malware throughout the network. As malicious actors look to exploit the confusion around COVID-19 and remote work, this added protection is a key benefit.

Global Reach

All the leading cloud service providers operate in geographically dispersed locations, eliminating performance challenges around user proximity to the data center. As such, cloud-hosted desktops can be deployed and allow user access from anywhere. This advantage can be critical for organizations needing to support users working remotely far from the core office location.

Despite its advantages, deploying virtual desktops in the cloud may not be the best way forward in every scenario. For example, because VDI is limited by WAN performance and latency, performance varies depending on the user’s proximity to a cloud or on-premise data center.

In situations where end users are widely dispersed or live a great distance from a cloud provider data center, the resulting performance degradation could create a frustrating end-user experience.

Where to Go Next

Enabling employees to stay productive and secure while working from home full-time is a high priority for many IT departments responding to the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Nonetheless, investments made now out of necessity today also have the potential to lay the groundwork for a more agile workforce in the future.

Whatever stage of crisis response and business continuity you find your organization in today, our team of experts is ready to help you enable your employees.

 

Register for our April 21 Webinar – Virtual Desktop Solutions to Enable Your Remote Workforce

Explore Softchoice Business Continuity and Rapid Response Services.

 

 

 

[1] “Assessing the Business Value of VDI in the Public Cloud,” IDC, March 2018.

[2] “Assessing the Business Value of VDI in the Public Cloud,” IDC, March 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Productivity Tips for Working from Home

Events like COVID-19 could make remote work necessary for everyone. For those who prefer the office, we’ve compiled these tips to help you keep to your usual, productive routine wherever possible.

 1. It’s Business as Usual…

  • Follow the same routine you would as if you were going into the office.
  • Structure your day around your natural flow of motivation and productivity (for example, are you more productive in the morning or after lunch?)

2. Have a Dedicated Workspace

  • If possible, the workspace should be separate from areas of the home where there may be distractions or that you associate with relaxation.

3. Mirror Your Office Setup

  • Create a home working environment like the one you have at work. If possible, try to recreate the physical setup, including monitor(s), keyboard, mouse and other peripherals you use daily.

4. Stay Connected Through Technology

  • Make sure your home internet service can handle your typical workflows, for example, cloud-based collaboration, data-intensive workloads or large file transfers.
  • Install your organization’s collaboration software and have easy access to training, support materials and contacts for your IT service desk.
  • Use instant messaging and video calling to stay responsive and maintain real, person-to-person communication.

5. Structure your Day Like You’re in the Office

  • Set a schedule and stick to it.
  • Stay off personal social media. Make it harder for yourself to access personal social accounts and sign out if necessary.
  • If you have the option, take advantage of tools like Microsoft Office 365’s MyAnalytics and Focus Time features to book automated “do not disturb” time.

6. Set Realistic Daily Goals

  • Work with your manager or team to set and prioritize daily tasks. Don’t underestimate the time it will take to accomplish a task.
  • Communicate your daily and weekly goals with your manager or team. Sharing these goals helps keep you accountable.

7. Don’t Forget about Snacks, Lunch and Breaks

  • It’s easy to lose track of time. Make sure you include time for regular breaks.

8. Set Clear Boundaries with Family Members

  • Set clear boundaries with family members or others who may be at home during the workday. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you’re available.
  • Establish signals (such as headphones on or closed door) that indicate you are not to be disturbed.

9. Remove Distractions

  • Do your best to remove distractions like the TV, household chores like laundry or anything that threatens to take your mind off work-related tasks.

 10. Set Regular Hours and a Finish Time

  • Set clear start and end times for your workday – and respect them. It’s important to separate work and personal life to avoid burnout.
  • If you are a people leader, consider setting the example for your team by “signing off” for the day.

Don’t let the unpredictable impact your comfort or productivity. Our team of experts and product specialists are on hand to help you select, deploy adopt, secure and manage an end-to-end solution to support your users in any event.

Connect with an expert.