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A growing mobile workforce and remote work options have made it difficult for IT teams to complete tasks such as troubleshooting software issues and updating hardware drivers. Your employees could be working from various locations, and if data is stored only on their physical devices, your IT team won't be able to access it for solving hardware or software issues.
The solution is allowing your IT staff as well as employees to access their desktops and data remotely via any device—be it a computer system, smartphone, or tablet. And desktop as a service (DaaS) software helps you do just that.
A DaaS solution lets you set up a hosted desktop environment over the cloud. The hosted environment can be accessed from any location and consists of the operating system, applications, folders, and data. These components are delivered via a virtual desktop interface that looks similar to that of a physical workstation.
Many DaaS software options are available in the market, but one size doesn’t fit all. To help you find a tool that matches your needs, we’ve created a buyers guide that has all the information about DaaS software—its features and benefits, and the considerations you should keep in mind during software selection.
Here's what we'll cover:
- What is DaaS software?
- Common features of DaaS software
- What type of buyer are you?
- Benefits of DaaS software
- Key considerations
- Market trends to understand
What is DaaS software?
DaaS software is a remote desktop application that allows users to host their entire physical desktop, including the operating system, apps, icons, wallpapers, folders, and widgets, over the internet. It lets users access these resources from any location and on any device through a cloud server, helping save the cost of buying physical infrastructure.
DaaS software also helps businesses save capital and operating expenses, as the service provider takes care of the cloud infrastructure, network resources, data storage, backup, and maintenance. However, the internal IT department remains responsible for configuring the desktop environment. Companies can use DaaS software solutions via a subscription or pay-per-use model.
Common features of DaaS software
Software features vary by product or vendor, but most DaaS tools have the following overlapping features:
|Cloud computing||Access and manage cloud-based virtual desktops, including networks, apps, and storage, over the internet.|
|Desktop/application virtualization||Simulate and access user workstations and desktop applications from remotely connected devices.|
|Single sign-on (SSO)||Allow your team members to use a single set of credentials to authenticate themselves to multiple virtual apps and sites.|
|Multifactor authentication (MFA)||Make it mandatory for users to verify their identity via two or more authentication methods before granting them access to your system or resources.|
|Admin console||Access a centralized admin console or dashboard to view and manage system resources, user accounts, roles, permissions, network policies, and more.|
|Dual monitor support||Run and work on two application sessions or desktop sessions or a mix of application and desktop sessions.|
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing software, you should check which buyer segment you belong to. The majority of DaaS software buyers belong to one of the following categories:
- Buyers who want full-time remote access: Buyers in this category include businesses that have full-time remote work policies and need software to remain continuously connected to their remote servers. They also want to track their employees' productivity and provide them with full-time network access for remote collaboration. A DaaS solution that offers remote collaboration, access security, project management, and service desk capabilities could be a good fit for these buyers.
- Buyers who want needs-based remote access: These buyers include businesses that have a hybrid work model and need software to mainly ensure remote collaboration among staff members. They should opt for a DaaS software solution that provides the flexibility to choose the features or modules they need, such as teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or file sharing. A pay-per-use DaaS model would be suitable for these buyers, as they won’t be using the software full time.
Benefits of DaaS software
Implementing a virtual desktop solution has various benefits, including:
- Ease of IT management and maintenance: When you purchase DaaS software, the service provider manages all infrastructure, network resources, storage, backup, and maintenance needs, reducing the burden on your internal IT team. In addition, your IT team gets access to a centralized IT management platform to monitor and connect to employee devices remotely. This capability allows them to perform tasks such as installing software applications, updates, and patches remotely.
- Increased user flexibility: Your employees are likely to perform better when they have the flexibility to work from any location. With DaaS software solutions, your staff members are no longer tied to their physical workstations. Even if they’re travelling, at home, or at a client location, they can access the hosted apps and data on their laptops, tablets, or any other mobile device as long as they have an internet connection.
- Improved business continuity: DaaS software sets up virtual desktop infrastructure that maintains data and applications in the cloud. In case of a connectivity issue, a natural disaster, or system failure, your employees can resume work from another location or device, without impacting regular business operations. Also, since data isn’t stored in local devices, lost or stolen devices don’t pose a security risk. DaaS deployment allows for geo-redundancy, i.e., your data is backed up at multiple data centers at different physical locations, lowering the risk of data loss for your business.
Before investing in a DaaS solution, carefully analyze the following requirements:
- Backup and recovery options: DaaS software tools offer built-in data backup and recovery, but these may not be included in your licensing fee. Check with the DaaS provider about the available options, how they’ll be managed, and if you’ll have to pay extra. Also, decide which data you want to back up. If you’ll be using a temporary virtual environment for which you don’t want to save data on the disk/storage, backups shouldn’t be a concern. But if you’re planning to use a virtual desktop that saves data on the OS (local storage), you’ll need regular backups so that no data is lost.
- Geography: Before finalizing a deal, check where the DaaS software will be hosted or where the data centers are located. If you have employees across geographies and say the solution is based in the U.S., you could face issues with security, compliance, and data latency.
- Contracts with cloud lock-in: If you select a cloud provider that offers its product on a lock-in basis, you may not be able to migrate to another cloud service provider later. Your data will be controlled by the specific vendor, making migration cumbersome in the future.
Market trends to understand
Here’s a DaaS software-related trend that you should be aware of:
- DaaS technology supports a zero-IT approach. DaaS software is mostly used to host a virtual desktop environment that’s managed by a company’s internal IT team. However, lately, DaaS providers are moving to an all-inclusive model that includes ongoing support and management services along with virtual desktops. Known as the zero-IT approach, this model can completely eliminate reliance on onsite IT teams for managing cloud desktops, as all services will be handled by the software provider.
Note: The application selected in this guide is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or a recommendation. It has been taken from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.