August 26, 2020 - Blog

COVID-19 and the Demand for WVD and Remote Workforces

Thiago Di Giorgio, Cloud & Infrastructure Consultant

COVID-19 and the Demand for WVD and Remote Workforces

During the COVID-19 crisis, organisations are challenged to find secure remote working solutions for their employees and contractors quickly. In recent months, the Windows Virtual Desktop service has become an increasingly popular choice for employers to ensure their IT Teams and employees can work effectively from any location, on any device. The Microsoft Azure-enabled WVD service is a particularly lucrative offering for businesses for multiple reasons such as:

  • The ability for employees to access from any geographic location and any browser-enabled device
  • That it provides secure access to applications and a full Windows Desktop experience
  • It’s optimised for Office 365 ProPlus and supports OneDrive
  • It offers centralised management from a single interface in Azure
  • It also supports Windows 7 (with free extended security updates to January 2023)

In terms of our customer-base at Version 1, we have noticed a rise in the number of organisations choosing the Daas (Desktop-as-a-Service) route, particularly those in the public sector and in businesses that need to provide external contractors with access to their internal systems without the need to provide a physical device.

Security

WVD is an isolated environment controlled by security policies in Intune, Active Directory Group Policies or Local Security policies. By having an isolated secure environment, employers can provide remote access to their employees and also to vendors or partners without worrying about exposing the internal network to devices that are not managed by their company.

What are the benefits of using Windows Virtual Desktop? 

The benefits of using WVD are vast and range from cost savings to increased digital security. Not every organisation needs to use WVD, the key thing to consider here is whether there are internal or external users who could benefit significantly from the use of WVD and if the use of DaaS can be tied to specific pain points or business benefits. The main reasons that employers choose to implement WVD are that this service:

  • Facilitates workforce flexibility
  • Increases protection and security
  • Drives efficiency
  • Has lower running costs (OpEx)
  • Is highly scalable
  • Is cost-effective

Employers feel reassured by the use of WVD because of the nature of the solution being a DaaS, it can be redeployed using automation tools in no time. It also can be recovered to a secondary region in case of Disaster Recover scenarios.

A benefit that’s exclusive to WVD running on Azure is the licensing. There are no additional costs in terms of licensing to run the service other than the running costs, comparing to competitors that will charge an extra license on top of the Microsoft running costs.

Where is WVD Used?

There are a variety of user types for WVD from office workers and contract workers to customers using kiosks and sales representatives working on the road. However, it’s highly popular in security and regulation, financial services, healthcare and government where data protection, legislation, regulation and compliance are of extreme importance.

It can be used in scenarios such as companies merging as it enables access to each other’s infrastructure as part of the acquistion strategy or merging of assets. It’s useful for short-term employment scenarios where businesses can provide access to their networks without the overhead of providing the employee with a physical device.

In the hospitality sector, virtual desktops are very useful for employees such as receptionists and booking staff as they tend to move from desk to desk and can be provided access from each location.

Many organisations depend heavily on ageing applications that may block upgrades to Windows 10. With virtual desktops, these older applications that block upgrades can be virtualised with the user treating the session as its own application. It’s also a useful solution for software development testing – software developers can put a number of machines in the virtual environment to be more cost and time-efficient.

Is there anything to watch out for with WVD?

The main thing to think about with WVD for employers new to DaaS is application management. As with any Cloud-powered application, you will have an update cycle and application publishing to consider. You will have to go into it planning ahead with how you intend to deploy it and maintain it. It’s important to avoid any messy scenarios such as ending up with multiple machines with a different version of the same application or not having the OS fully patched.

Overall, we view WVD as an excellent customisable service that can be extremely secure, performant and stable, however, you have to understand how it works in terms of maintenance going into it and what to do to ensure it will be a success for your employees and contractors. Make sure you are armed with the tools and knowledge you need from the outset.

If you want to learn more about enabling your IT teams, employees, contractors and other users to work effectively and securely from any location, on any device – Version 1 can help you to switch on Windows Virtual Desktop seamlessly.

Switch on Windows Virtual Desktop Seamlessly

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