By Allie Philpin
Last week, Colin MacDonald, the Government’s Chief Information Officer, announced their new cloud-based all-of-government Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), developed to provide more flexibility and collaboration between government agencies, and to deliver our public services more efficiently. MacDonald expects the new service to simplify ICT management across all government agencies; effectively agencies won’t have to buy, install and maintain computer hardware and software as they will be able to purchase it as a service, accessed via the Internet, and paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis.
So, with this announcement, we thought we’d take a closer look at DaaS and its benefits to organisations, particularly SMBs. Desktop-as-a-Service, also known as hosted desktop services or hosted virtual desktops, is essentially the outsourcing of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) to a third party. Available on a pay-as-you-go basis, the service provider deals with data storage, backup, security, upgrades and provides a multi-tenancy architecture. The customer’s data is usually copied over to the virtual desktop and back again as users log-on and log-off, and offers businesses the opportunity to quickly scale up or down according to their requirements. But it is important to know that DaaS is not in-house VDI, and it needn’t be an off-site solution as your provider would be able to create and manage automated support for virtual desktops within your internal infrastructure.
DaaS is particularly suited to SMBs and eliminates the high cost of deploying and maintaining desktops, and there isn’t the need to invest in the in-house skills often required to deploy applications and new hardware. For businesses that has a workforce that is seasonal, i.e. employee numbers shrink at certain times of the year, implementing a DaaS solution will not only allow them to adjust according to their employee base, it also means they don’t have hardware sitting there unused during quieter times!
There is another advantage to deploying a DaaS solution… the service provider will develop and implement a disaster recovery and business continuity programme that fits your needs. Many businesses consider a virtual desktop as a secondary site of PCs that allows for rapid scalability; this also means there is less of a financial and human resource burden on the business.
The ever-present security issue when it comes to cloud-based solutions; whether you have an in-house VDI or deploy a DaaS solution, the same commercial technologies will still be relied upon. But there are DaaS service providers that specialise in industries that have sensitive/confidential data, such as government and financial organisations, where audit trails and segmentation of the components are important.
There are many benefits to deploying a DaaS solution, and many will be watching the government’s latest initiatives to assess whether it’s the right option for them.