The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to redefine how they collaborate and work as a remote team. This post from Robert Sternberg explores how Cloud-Native Virtual Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings can help businesses quickly scale up to meet the pressing demands of their newly-remote teams while ensuring that scale doesn’t come at the expense of security, performance, or cost.
Organizations with highly-distributed field teams or dynamic contractor bases have long relied on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to provide access to data and applications in a secure and reliable manner. COVID-19-imposed social distancing and disruption to BAU styles of working has drastically increased the need for organizations to adopt VDI, especially for organizations with perimeter security restrictions and hardware reliant infrastructures, or those looking to support employees using their own devices (BYOD) from home-networks.
Top Challenges facing companies with no VDI in place
- Need to provision access without moving all-in to cloud or modernizing apps
- Need to put a scalable access mechanism in place without overloading existing core IT backbone (VPN)
- Don’t have the capability to procure/manage additional tools due to budget, time, or skill constraints
Because providing connectivity is a mandate for having a productive workforce and ensuring continuity of business operations, it’s become more important than ever that organizations take immediate action to connect their teams to applications in a secure, reliable manner. Remote working is going to be BAU for the foreseeable future, it is important to provide an environment as productive as being in the office. That’s where Cloud-Native VDI or ‘Desktop as a Service’ (DaaS) comes in.
DaaS makes it simple for administrators to provision the infrastructure needed to provide virtual desktops, or even virtual apps, to broad segments of their user base. Previously, the exercise of setting up a VDI environment has taken weeks or even months. Now, this can be reduced down to a couple of days or even hours.
Cloud virtual desktops can make use of the near-infinite capacity of the hyperscale cloud providers, removing the constraints of on-prem data centers or private clouds. Admins can quickly scale up/down resources without pre-purchasing or long-term commitments.
The hyperscale cloud providers offer low-latency, high bandwidth connectivity to applications on-prem. Users typically connect to their desktops using secure protocols via the internet, therefore reducing the strain on corporate networks and eliminating the need for VPN.
Bring your own Device (BYOD)
Through direct support for BYOD, DaaS makes it even easier to ensure users can remain productive while being remote. Remote workers can leverage their own laptops, computers or even iPads or Android devices.
Easy to Configure and Manage
The majority of the components are managed by the Cloud service providers, removing nearly all operations and configuration overhead on the infrastructure side. Management of the virtual desktops is drastically simplified by integrated management features as well as 3rd party tools. For example, Azure WVD integrates into Citrix Cloud, allowing existing Citrix users to manage both existing VDI environments on-prem and in the cloud as well as adding additional enterprise features to the service!
DaaS removes much of the security risk associated with managing any additional end-user or on-prem hardware, reducing the attack vector. With VDI/DaaS solutions your data never leaves the secure environment where it’s hosted, unlike VPN-based solutions that create risks in storing and managing data. DaaS solutions can easily be further configured to add additional security controls, such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), directly into the platform
Finally, by far one of the biggest benefits of DaaS is the native integrations with the existing enterprise environments. Both Workspaces and WVD come ready to integrate with Active Directories, Mail Servers, and many other core IT applications.
How can Cloudreach help?
Cloudreach is currently working with multiple enterprises that have been forced to adopt remote-working principles in recent weeks to quickly address some of their biggest challenges around keeping their employees safe and productive. Analyzing a recent engagement with a global retail and e-commerce company shows how quickly Cloudreach can help businesses get back up and running.
The client had a number of legacy applications behind the corporate firewall and was struggling to quickly scale its existing VDI solution to meet the new surge in remote access. This led to sluggish performance for remote users as well as introducing a number of new security risks for the organization to manage.
Knowing that the organization needed to get back to “BAU” as quickly as possible, Cloudreach built and deployed secure VPC and networking infrastructure in the cloud using Infrastructure-as-Code. After successful deployment, Cloudreach quickly built a dynamically scalable VDI platform that could handle the recent scale-up in remote access, without compromising security.
In tandem with the customer, Cloudreach quickly scaled access to 5k+ application users within 4 weeks. Because the team relied on a hosted VDI solution, the team was able to offload critical tasks around securing and managing the underlying infrastructure, which allowed the customer team to better focus on its own business continuity. Even better – since the DaaS solution leveraged the scalability of the cloud, users experienced greatly reduced lag time when accessing the applications, and the customer could easily reduce the solution footprint to cut down on costs during off-peak hours.
Cloudreach’s Rapid Remote Connectivity Services (RRCS) ensures that remote, mobile, and contract teams have continued access to the applications and data they need to work effectively within a matter of weeks.
For more information on our Rapid Remote Connectivity Services, or learn how our suite of Accelerated Continuity Services can help your business respond to a dynamically changing world, please contact us today.