Windows Just Released a Virtual Desktop: Here’s What You Need to Know

In the early days of cloud-based technologies, companies had heard about this new thing called "the Cloud" but weren’t quite sure what it meant for their company and day-to-day business operations.

Less than a decade later, cloud adoption is at 96%, meaning that just about all companies around the world use at least one cloud solution. The creator of the most popular cloud solution by user count is Microsoft. Their Office 365 platform is used by millions of organizations to power office workflows. It also was one of the key drivers of cloud adoption for many companies. Now, Microsoft is poised to create another big shift in how we work through their Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). Virtual desktops are currently at that same stage that cloud solutions were several years back. People have heard of them, but they haven’t yet been adopted widely. This is something that WVD is bound to change due to the connection to Windows 10 and Azure virtual server environments. Just like Office 365 brought a familiar product into the cloud space, Windows Virtual Desktop does the same for Windows 10. It helps introduce organizations to a new concept, which is hosting their workstations online rather than on a computer hard drive, and it does it through the familiarity of the Windows operating system and Microsoft universe.

What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

On September 30, 2019, Microsoft announced that WVD was generally available worldwide. It is the only service that offers a simplified management, multi-session Windows 10 virtual environment. What is does is host your entire workstation virtually, including:

  • Operating system
  • Files/folders
  • Settings
  • Applications

So, instead of being tied to a single physical computer, you can log in to a workstation from any PC or mobile device. It allows you to have your "main computer" with you no matter where you are. When you look at how cloud solutions freed offices from computer-based software, making business applications and their data available from anywhere, taking the next step to virtually hosting your entire PC environment is the next logical phase.

Benefits of Transitioning to Virtual Workstations

The concept can seem a bit daunting at first. And common questions come up, such as, "What if I don’t have an internet connection?" But, with many companies having most of their workload in the cloud already, that means they’re already relying pretty heavily on being connected to access their data and business apps. As of 2019, 60% of business workloads were running on a cloud service. There are several benefits of considering going fully virtual and transitioning your workstations to WVD.

Workstation Security

One of the biggest causes of data breaches is when operating systems and software aren’t updated with security patches in a timely manner. This can be a time-consuming task if you’re not using managed IT services because it means you have to ensure several workstations in multiple locations throughout your office are kept regularly updated. When you’re using virtual desktops, you can administer them all through one central control panel, allowing you to automate updates easily and see reporting that instantly shows you if any desktops are showing any security risks.

Highly Scalable

When you’re purchasing physical computers for employees and your needs change, you don’t have the same fast scalability as you do when working with cloud environments. For example, if you’ve got 20 virtual desktops for 20 employees and then your needs change to only needing 18 desktops. You can easily scale your subscription down to so you’ll only be paying for what you need. Likewise, when you add employees, you can provision them a virtual desktop in just minutes that is already set up with the software and settings they need for their position.

Lower Hardware Costs

When you’re housing your workstation environment on a cloud server, the physical PC that you use to connect to it does not need to be as robust or have a large amount of hard drive storage. Since WVDs are hosted virtually, the physical device you use for access can have fewer features, allowing you to save money.

Improved Business Continuity

Many companies use cloud solutions because they allow them the flexibility to access their work from anywhere and they also protect their data in case of a natural disaster at their office, malware infection or some other event that could cause downtime and data loss. When your workstations are also cloud-based, this offers you additional protection in the event of a flood, fire, or even an extended power outage, because your workstations are still intact and able to be accessed from a different location and device.

Make Non-Cloud Applications, Cloud Accessible

Some businesses use custom applications for their workflows, and these aren’t always cloud-based. But when you host your entire operating system environment virtually, it means that any software on that WVD is also available from any location. This allows you to make non-cloud applications accessible as if they were designed for cloud connectivity.

Learn More About the Virtual Desktops of the Future

Deciding between cloud and on-premise IT assets can be complicated. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help simplify the process by taking at look at your technology infrastructure and sitting down with you to see what’s working for you, and what you’d like to improve. Contact us today to set up a technology consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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