By Sivakumar Ramamurthy
The pandemic has driven technological innovation within organisations of all types and sizes. From robotics to artificial intelligence, technologies that were once seen as experimental or cutting-edge have become essential solutions for businesses and government agencies across India.
Another technology to witness widespread adoption amongst SMBs and enterprises of all sizes is cloud desktops delivered as Desktop as a Service (DaaS). DaaS may not be as flashy as robots or AI, but it makes it possible for employees to WFH securely. Large enterprises which were already established users of DaaS for niche purposes are today looking at enterprise-wide adoption. But importantly, today, DaaS is a promising option for SMBs to unlock a level of IT flexibility and resilience that was previously available only to large companies.
With that reality in mind, here’s a look at the top five things SMBs should know about DaaS and its importance in the current business environment.
Universal accessibility – DaaS frees businesses from dependency on physical PC infrastructure by allowing employees to access desktop environments from anywhere and at any time. If employees are not allowed into the office, or if a business issue arises when they simply happen to be off-site, DaaS ensures that employees can still get their work done, just as efficiently as they could when using a traditional PC.
Lower cost and higher ROI – DaaS offers enormous potential for reducing the total cost of ownership of IT infrastructure, for several reasons. It increases worker productivity by minimising workstation downtime and allowing employees to work from anywhere. It reduces the amount of physical hardware that the business needs to acquire and maintain. In all these ways, DaaS adds up to lower total cost and higher ROI on IT infrastructure — an especially important advantage for SMBs, who tend to have smaller budgets and tighter cashflow than larger companies.
Enhanced security – The centralisation of desktop environments, applications and data on host servers also improves security. With DaaS, SMBs can say goodbye to PC risks – home to sensitive information, or that an unauthorised user will install malicious software on an unsecured device. Because cloud desktop sessions are isolated from the devices that employees use to connect to them, the risk of security problems caused by end-user mistakes or lack of physical device security are minimal.
Centralised management – With DaaS, SMBs do not have to maintain a fleet of physical PCs spread over a large location. Instead, they can keep track of every employee’s desktop from a central location — the host server. Centralised management reduces the size of the IT staff needed to maintain PCs and provide technical support to employees, while also enabling faster response when issues arise.
Increased computing power – When SMBs move from traditional PCs to cloud desktops, the computing power available to each employee is no longer limited by the hardware specifications of their PC. Instead, additional resources can be allocated to virtual sessions with ease simply by changing settings on the cloud desktop server. If an employee begins using software (such as video editing tools) that require more CPU and memory, for example, it’s easy to give the employee the resources necessary, without having to upgrade to a new physical PC. Likewise, if an employee no longer needs as many computing resources as possible for his or her desktop environment, the resource allocation can be scaled down seamlessly to save money.
For the duration of the pandemic and beyond, DaaS empowers SMBs with greater technological agility, which in turn breeds business resilience and stronger financial performance. Although it is unrealistic to expect every physical PC to be replaced by cloud desktops in the near future, it’s a safe bet that more SMBs will be investing in DaaS alongside other solutions that help them weather challenges like the pandemic.
(The author is Deputy Managing Director & COO, Anunta. Views expressed are personal.)