What is a Windows Virtual Desktop?

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Back in September of 2019, Microsoft released a new product called Windows Virtual Desktop In my opinion, Windows Virtual Desktop will be the product that most businesses will use in the next few years. I think it will have a similar adoption rate as Office 365. But what is a Windows Virtual Desktop (or WVD for short) and how can it change the way that your business uses IT?

What is a Windows Virtual Desktop?

As the name suggests, a Windows Virtual Desktop is a Windows 10 computer which is based in the Microsoft cloud. When you log onto a WVD you’re working from a Microsoft data centre in your own country. It’s easy to log into a WVD, you can do so by entering your Office 365 credentials into a web browser like Google Chrome or Edge.  A question we get asked, is how is WVD different from Office 365? Are they the same? Well, no. Office 365 is cloud product with many different utilities, like an email system, a place to store your files and folders and Microsoft Teams. Office 365 is not a computer.   

What is the benefit of a Windows Virtual Desktop?

You might be thinking at this stage, surely you need a computer to access a Windows Virtual Desktop? If so, what is the point of a WVD? Yes, you do need a computer to connect to your cloud computer, but there are a whole host of advantages of businesses using this cloud-based system. Firstly, the computer you use to connect to the cloud doesn’t need to be as powerful as a computer you would use to do your regular work. So, this would save you money on computer hardware.  Secondly, because you’re accessing your workload in the cloud, the computer you are using wouldn’t need as much security software and services installed on it. This would save more money.  https://integral-it.wistia.com/medias/gto060mbvt?embedType=async&videoWidth=640  

The Microsoft Cloud Evolution

Think about the Microsoft cloud evolution.  First, we moved email to the cloud Then we moved files and folders to the cloud – both with Office 365 Then your telephone system moved to the cloud with Microsoft Teams Now, we’re moving our computers to the cloud.  Email, files and folders and telephone systems all used to live on expensive hardware in your office. This hardware cost you money to buy and maintain. All that has changed. You now run these services in the cloud and pay for it with a simple per-month fee.  Welcome to the new world of flexibility and security for your business.   

Great if you don’t have an office

Let’s talk about a few examples of using Windows Virtual Desktop. Lots of our clients use it today for very different reasons.  Firstly, we have a customer with over 50 employees all based at home. They are spread out all across the UK and Europe. This customer doesn’t have a physical office. The applications they use to run their business that would traditionally need to live on a server in an office. But this isn’t possible.  Designing a secure and usable IT system for this customer would ordinarily be complicated and expensive. A Windows Virtual Desktop is perfect. Wherever any person is in the world, they can log into their Windows Virtual Desktop and get access to all of their email, files, folders and applications.  

Easy Remote Access

As I am writing this blog we’re all working from home. The decision to work from home happened very quickly.  Lots of businesses have had to completely overhaul their IT system just to be able to function from home. Many other businesses are just about managing to work from home, but not securely. They’re using home computers without adequate security in place.  I had a conversation with a customer last week who uses Windows Virtual Desktop. He said that the shift to working from home was so easy. It was no different from working in the office.  So for any type of remote working, a WVD is perfect.   

Hiring Temporary Staff

We have another customer who regularly employs sub-contractors and consultants for a short period of time. In the past, they’ve given the consultant’s an Office 365 login and asked them to use their own personal devices. It wasn’t secure to have consultants with company data on their personal devices. Sometimes, they’d even go and buy the consultant a laptop for the short duration of their contract. This was a waste of money. What they are now able to say is that the sub-contractor/consultant can use their own hardware, they can bring in their own physical computer and they will get a login to their Windows Virtual Desktop. No company data will be stored on a personal computer, it will all be in the cloud.   

Traditional Business

So there are three good use cases where a WVD would be perfect. But what about if you’re a traditional bricks and mortar businesses with office-based staff. Would a WVD be good for you? Yes it would.  As I mentioned earlier, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on hardware and software to run IT in your office.  Whereas previously you might have had some servers, backup hardware and dozens of expensive computers, you can now have basic computers connecting to the internet.  Everything can be installed in the cloud and you can get a much more flexible and secure IT system – all for fixed monthly costs.   Every business owner likes to budget for their IT spend.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions about Windows Virtual Desktop or business IT in general, please contact us.     

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