A hosted desktop, often also referred to as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) – much like the name suggests – is a virtual desktop that is hosted in the cloud. In essence, a hosted desktop stores all operating systems, files, emails and applications in outsourced cloud data centres, which can be accessed through the internet on any device, from anywhere.
To an end user, a hosted virtual desktop looks no different to a traditional, physical desktop. The difference lies in where data and apps are stored. Whilst a physical desktop accesses and stores data, apps and email on the actual device, a hosted desktop stores everything in secure data centres. Hardware becomes a shell for the online desktop, which can be constantly updated, scaled as required and kept at bank-grade level security.
Once you’ve decided to get on board with a cloud solution, things can quickly become overwhelming when using multiple cloud offerings from various providers. Cloud services for storage, accounting software, backups or MS Office – the list gets longer every year.
A hosted desktop combines these offerings into one. One single cloud provider means only one point of contact for emails, specific apps or data.
Users have no need to individually transfer files or install apps on new devices; only an internet connection is required to access their desktop. Remote, home and mobile working are all made convenient and secure as everything is stored in the cloud instead of traditional office hardware.
One of the main benefits of hosted desktops is their high level of security. Security no longer depends on individual devices – desktops are hosted in a secure infrastructure and data, apps and email are held in multiple, secure data centres. As a result, company data is immune to loss, theft or damage to hardware. On our side, data storage, backups and updates are synchronised and taken care of automatically and come as part and parcel of the cloud solution. Data is automatically encrypted and multi-factor authentication codes create levels of security normally unattainable to SMBs.
Rather than having to manually back up and store data, files that are located on the hosted desktop are backed up automatically and regularly by the provider. This takes the burden away from businesses and minimises the disruption of the unknown or unavoidable. During a tube strike, for example, employees could log-on on alternative devices and continue working from home or on the go.
Another benefit of hosted desktops is that the solution facilitates Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) working. Users can make everywhere their office by accessing a work desktop on their phone, tablet or laptop. Once staff have logged on, they can work on the same files and apps as they could at their desks. As everything is accessed through the internet, the cloud solution offers businesses the same levels of security whilst granting the employee ultimate flexibility.
As operating systems, applications and security software can be constantly updated, the hosted desktop is also far more future-proof without the limits of traditional hardware such as storage or bandwidth. The ways to utilise cloud technology are expanding year-on-year and a Desktop as a Service means businesses benefit without increased expenditure.
Essentially, the hosted desktop looks and does the same as a normal computer. On another level, this technology is a massive opportunity for businesses to be part of transforming working lifestyles and change how they view and use IT.