Questions to Consider When Looking at Desktop-as-a-Service / DaaS and Workspaces
1.What end-user devices would you recommend?
This is perhaps the most common question we get as customers are looking to either justify a project with a lower device price point, or possibly as a way of reducing the management overhead of local devices. Essentially there are 2 options in this space. But before getting to that, we like to point out that the cheapest client is the one you already have. All desktops and laptops are compatible with DaaS and Workspaces so using the existing infrastructure until it dies is always an option and then replace them with one of the options below.
- Option 1 - A thin client which has a stripped-down OS and a browser of your choosing. These devices are great for using either VMware’s DaaS, Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop or Evolve IP’s Workspaces product.
- Option 2 – A zero client. Zero clients are slightly different in that there is no OS and the devices boot directly to the login prompt of the virtual desktop provider. For a one size fits all approach, where you’re looking to lock devices down to only a virtual desktop, this is a great solution. It’s important to note that zero clients sometimes do not support peripherals like check scanners, printers and other USB devices.
Note: Zero clients are not a solution for Evolve IP’s Workspaces product as it is built on the notion that users should start with a browser (due to having a majority of SaaS applications) instead of forcing them into a virtual desktop OS.
Finally, there are different flavors of these clients and it can be VERY confusing. Some are VMware and Citrix certified, some aren’t. If you are going the DaaS route make sure you know if the service supports PCoIP, ICA or RDP and buy the appropriate thin or zero client. Or, give us a ring and we’ll assist you with the selection.
2. How do you want to handle legacy applications on internal servers?
11 years ago, most, if not all, applications were hosted on internal servers. This architecture meant a desktop was needed as the client to get to legacy applications housed in the business’s data center.
For a customer wanting to offload their infrastructure to the cloud, the obvious choice was to move their servers to a cloud service provider’s (CSP) data center. The CSP would host desktops back to the customer to solve for the latency that had just been created. Technically, a SaaS-like experience was created in that the customer was able to get to their virtual desktop from any device. But they still had to jump into that virtual desktop to get to their legacy applications.
Due to the explosion of SaaS, most workforces are now only using one or two legacy applications. Unfortunately, the DaaS provider industry is still trying to solve these applications by giving everyone a virtual desktop. Simply put, that’s a waste of money and resources, but most importantly what an annoying way to do your job!
Evolve IP is breaking the DaaS industry mold. With Workspaces, we are able to publish legacy applications to the user and provide them in a tile-based SSO fashion. This makes legacy applications look, act and feel like a SaaS application to the user on whichever device they are using.
3. How does your business handle security?
Security is a huge concern these days. Every week it seems a new malware or ransomware attack floods the chat rooms and airwaves. DaaS greatly reduces your threat cross-section and allows IT to focus on protecting the DaaS instances in the cloud while client devices cannot transmit infections into the environment. With the explosion of SaaS, one particular area of concern however is an increase in users that are not accessing legacy applications and simply logging directly into SaaS applications. This does present security risks along with creating the arduous process for IT of trying to figure out what applications a user needs or has gained access to over their tenure and then disabling all those application one by one during offboarding.
With Workspaces, you can still provide a virtual desktop to those users that need them. But you can also provide a secure, centrally managed way for users that only need SaaS applications to just go directly to those applications. But, in an offboarding event, all access to SaaS applications that have been integrated into the Clearlogin portal is immediately zapped. This provides a much more encompassing way of managing user access to legacy as well as SaaS applications and securing the Enterprise.