IT has changed dramatically over the past decade and is still in a transitional period, when it comes to the cloud and virtualization. Challenges faced in the past have included network downtime, failing workstations and employees forgetting to back up important data. However, times are a changing and the costs and headaches associated with running a business which relies on IT can be significantly reduced by using virtual hosted desktop solutions, especially for the smaller business.
In order to alleviate these problems, which often have IT department workers tearing at their hair, especially in these days when BYOD is becoming all too common is a simple answer – virtualization.
This benefits everyone, from the stressed-out IT department, to the end user, who no longer have to rely on their memory for backing up data, allows for more flexible working solutions and is more cost effective.
If you take into account that the average life-cycle of a traditional computer workstation is around 2-3 years, then the cost benefits become obvious. Rather than reinvest every couple of years in the latest PCs, firms can invest instead in thin clients. These are less bulky, more cost effective and don’t actually store any data on them, it’s all stored in the cloud.
Those that realise this, especially in the current economic climax, have a head start on their competitors as they adopt virtual services. BYOD schemes have been predicted to slow down in 2013, as more enterprises realise the struggle of managing different operating systems.
However, for those who invest in a virtualized workplace, this doesn’t have to be the case. Rather, it reduces costs for employees who can telecommute and companies who can pay for hosted desktops on a monthly basis.
Data centres deal with the backups and provide the servers to serve the end user with their personalised desktop at their end. The experience is just like a workstation and the end user can still customise their desktop and use software that they are experienced with.
Of course, security is still a major concern for many CIOs, but this can be managed with planning, choosing a provider carefully and creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
However, lost laptops, smartphones and tablets also present a huge security risk and whilst this can be worked around by encrypting data, many workers don’t bother. With a hosted desktop however, access can be denied to a user when he reports his device missing, thereby protecting the data.
According to Computer World “a virtual workplace can save more than 60% in energy costs and reduce an organization's carbon footprint by 80%” and that’s even before you get to cost savings in capital outlay for servers and workstations.
The environment is also becoming more and more important to many people and a company who shows environmental responsibility is more likely to be chosen by one that doesn’t by a customer.
In the struggling economy, it makes sense for businesses to go down the virtualization route; of course, how easy this will be will largely depend on the size of an organisation, but for start-ups and SMBs, it’s an ideal and forward-thinking solution that should definitely be taken advantage of.