For most businesses, staying ahead of the competition with the latest technology is a constant struggle. Meeting the growing demands of hardware and software while staying within budget is quite the balancing act. Deploying desktops and operating systems (OSs) for every employee can quickly turn into a chore. And with operating system patches being released almost every week, IT administrators often find themselves hard-pressed for time.
Although larger enterprises can get by because of their near-unlimited resources, small- to mid-sized businesses don’t have that luxury. Luckily, there’s a technology that can overcome these challenges: desktop virtualization.
In a nutshell, desktop virtualization is a piece of software that separates the operating system from the underlying hardware. The process starts by creating a ‘virtual image file,’ which contains operating systems, applications, drivers, and data. This virtual image is then housed on a powerful, centrally managed server. From here, system administrators can simply plug and play the virtual image on multiple machines, regardless of hardware or operating system compatibility. So theoretically, a Mac laptop can run the latest Windows or Linux OS without any hiccups. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.
Painless infrastructure management
In the past, IT technicians have been in charge of selecting, preparing and distributing computers to hundreds of users in a company. This meant taking the time to select and purchase a new server with enough CPU capacity, hard drive space, and memory to meet the minimum hardware requirements of the software.
What’s worse is that all the software has to be installed and managed separately. So unless your IT manager is keen on installing and patching employee workstations one by one, traditional desktop provisioning wastes a lot of time and resources.
If business software and data are managed centrally, you’ll avoid wasting effort on fresh OS installs, patching, and maintenance for each endpoint in the workplace. To upgrade the entire system, IT administrators can just patch the core OS image, then replicate it out to the company, instead of individually patching each machine.
Operating system and software execution also takes place in a much stronger data center or server, allowing you to distribute and run hardware-intensive applications on considerably weaker devices. In other words, you can access the latest OS versions with inexpensive, low-end laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and ‘lightweight’ PC alternatives called thin clients.
Another key advantage is that employees won’t have to be strapped to their desks for eight hours a day. In fact, virtualization keeps you connected to your business even if you’re a thousand miles away from the office.
As mentioned, today’s desktop virtualization platforms allow mobile devices to run company-owned virtual images. Employees only need to log in to their virtual desktop with any device from practically any location with a stable internet connection to access business projects and data. This opens up your business to several productivity-boosting strategies like remote working and bring-your-own device policies.
There are arguments that claim that BYOD and remote working initiatives invite various security risks that threaten the very existence of your company -- and in some cases they do. If left to their own devices, employees might unintentionally click suspicious links or even download malware. This year alone, we’ve already seen a variety of attacks from phishing scams that surged during the Rio Olympics to zero-day ransomware attacks that put healthcare institutions in jeopardy.
But because enterprise apps and associated data are centrally managed and secured in the data center, companies can protect themselves from such risks. IT administrators gain full visibility and control over virtualized desktops, and they can easily determine which resources and what apps specific users can access. If employee endpoints somehow do get infected with malware, full isolation and encryption policies keep the damage contained and prevent the malware from getting any further into the system.
The solution for SMBs
Between finding IT solutions, keeping systems fully updated, and securing several workstations, your business needs all the help it can get. Desktop virtualization saves your company from wasted resources and IT management headaches. As a business owner, deciding whether or not you should opt for virtualized desktops will be the easiest decision you’ve ever made.
Traditional desktop provisioning is a thing of the past. WhiteOwl’s desktop virtualization services is your business’s future. With our help, increased flexibility, desktop security, and centralized management will be at your fingertips, and all you have to do is contact us today.