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During the Festival of Lights this year, Anunta celebrated a festival of its own.

As part of our CSR policy, Anunta is committed to giving back to the community and making a tangible difference in the lives of the underprivileged. The many CSR initiatives planned at Anunta are driven by the belief that even the smallest of gestures can make the biggest difference because we have the strength of numbers. Collective action from all Anunta employees has been the biggest force behind the success of each of these initiatives.

In the spirit of Diwali, we decided to spread love, happiness, and joy among the less fortunate as part of our CSR initiatives. Anunta organized ‘Daan Utsav,’ our very own festival of giving. In this two-week-long donation drive across our offices in Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore, we urged our colleagues to donate clothes, books, and toys to those in need.

In the two weeks that followed, we received overwhelming response from as our colleagues enthusiastically made their donations.

Why Daan Utsav?

We organized Daan Utsav because the idea of having our own festival of giving aligned well with both our CSR policy as well as the auspicious time of Diwali.

We have been organizing Daan Utsav annually and the response from our colleagues has always been inspiring. It falls under our “Joy of Giving” CSR initiative that is focused entirely on helping the underprivileged through financial and domestic resources.

Daan Utsav was conceptualized to help each employee in Anunta to experience the joy of giving. A drive like this where everyone openly participates helps us induct new employees into the “giving experience”. It also instils a sense of belonging in them, being part of a large corporate initiative with very tangible results.

A word about our partner, Goonj

For Daan Utsav, we partnered with Goonj, an NGO that undertakes disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and community development in 23 states across India. Headquartered in New Delhi, Goonj channels unused materials in urban homes to remote villages, distributing them among the deserving. They have built a strong, successful network of communities from urban to rural India, channelizing crucial and basic resources like clothes, food, books, etc. to address the gaps in education and livelihood.

Goonj’s model of development bridges the gap between the urban and rural communities, while creating a more inclusive and involved economy.

Goonj was the ideal partner for us in our Daan Utsav, as they source under-utilized resources from urban homes as tools for rural development, helping the less fortunate to live with dignity. Our collections through Daan Utsav would become crucial tools in building a comfortable life for the deserving.

The inspiring success of Daan Utsav

Daan Utsav was a tremendous success. At the end of two weeks, we collected over 100 boxes of clothes, toys, and books across all locations. Our HR team visited the Goonj offices in all three locations to hand over the donations, which will later be distributed across rural India by our very able partner.

Anunta has a very strong HR policy that is committed towards the upliftment of the underprivileged in our society. Daan Utsav is a great example how dedicated we are as an organization to put all our CSR plans into action.

“The Anunta Daan Utsav initiative was launched on October 2 with a simple request to our colleagues. Do you have any clothes, books, or toys that you would like to donate?” says Amar Salvi, our SVP of HR and Training. “The response from our colleagues across locations was prompt and in just a few days, the boxes were overflowing!”

“I am glad that we could collectively make a difference to the underprivileged through this association with Goonj,” Amar adds. “Looking forward to many such drives in 2023.”

“36% of manufacturing enterprises realize above average business value from IT spending in digitalization when compared with peers,” says a Gartner report on how advanced manufacturing companies are now capitalizing on the latest technology trends to drive value.

One of these technology tools that has been adding consistent value to manufacturing businesses is Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). In fact, the need for cost-effective digital transformation is already driving the industry towards desktop virtualization. The desktop virtualization market in manufacturing is expected to register a CAGR of 9.3% over the forecast period of 2021 – 2026.

A crucial advantage that DaaS brings in for the manufacturing industry is the massive time saving in device procurement and the subsequent cost saving. Manufacturing businesses heavily rely on devices with high-end specifications for their graphics professionals to develop CAD models and complex engineering simulations. These specifications vary based on project requirements, which is where the long road to hardware procurement begins. With DaaS, this road becomes much shorter.

How does DaaS tackle the IT hardware challenges in the manufacturing industry?

Anunta recently helped one of India’s leading steel manufacturing companies in addressing the twin challenges of time and cost involved in device procurement for their graphics team.

The customer had multiple projects which depended on devices with high-end graphics specifications. While the smooth execution of the project relied on these end user devices, there were multiple challenges associated with it.

One was the massive amount of time spent on device procurement. Because of the highly specific hardware configurations, this followed a long process that involved understanding the specifications, inviting bids from OEMs, finalizing the brand, procuring the end user device, installing the required software, and shipping the device to the end user. The average time taken for device procurement and deployment was a minimum of 6 weeks.

Apart from the time and cost involved in device procurement, another challenge lay in de-provisioning the device at the completion of the project. Since each project came with varying hardware specifications, device repurposing was a rare scenario, resulting in idle resources.

Anunta was able to help mitigate these challenges by moving the manufacturer to a DaaS infrastructure, specifically Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). By leveraging AVD, we reduced the time taken for device procurement from 6 weeks to just 3 days, even with the high-end specifications. Moreover, we could also ensure hassle-free de-provisioning of virtual machines after project completion, resulting in zero wastage in the form of idle hardware.

The customer also benefitted from a subscription-based model, saving cost, and ensuring easy scalability.

Overall, Anunta was able to improve application availability dramatically with no major IT incidents, ensuring seamless and reliable manufacturing operations and processes.

What are the other benefits that DaaS offers the manufacturing industry?

  • Empowering a distributed workforce: DaaS provides seamless and secure access to real-time data, enhancing workforce efficiency and employee autonomy.
  • Centralizing all data: With data stored in a centralized platform, all stakeholders can access and share data. There’s also minimal risk of data loss as device failure has no impact on the centrally saved data.
  • Enhancing security and compliance: Leading cloud platforms are compliant to all regulatory standards.
  • Improving business agility and continuity: Seamless access to data and applications helps the workforce stay active during crises.

How does DaaS boost the growth of manufacturing businesses?

By eliminating the need to invest heavily in purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading hardware, DaaS contributes directly to the growth of the business. With no major infrastructural constraints, the money can be rightfully invested in other crucial operations for growth and market expansion.

There’s also the hidden advantage that DaaS brings in by enabling businesses in their ESG priorities by reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption. With a large-scale environment involving multiple plants and high-powered equipment, this is one advantage of DaaS that manufacturing businesses can truly leverage.

The manufacturing industry, that has long been tied down because of its massive fleet of on-premises equipment, impeding its digital transformation, can now adapt to the changing times. By simplifying its IT infrastructure and desktop management and eliminating security and cost concerns, DaaS has the potential to effectively boost the digital workplace transformation strategies of manufacturing businesses.

The healthcare sector has been grappling with looming cyber security challenges over the last several years. Healthcare records offer a high-value target for cybercriminals looking to make quick money on the dark web or initiate more focused attacks. Additionally, with lives potentially at stake, caregivers become increasingly vulnerable to disruptive digital acts, including healthcare ransomware attacks.

Healthcare institutes generate tons of data containing confidential and valuable insights. As the industry switches from paper and documents to a digitized setting, the attack surface keeps on expanding. With data being one of the critical pillars, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop as a service (DaaS) are earning good word among caregivers and patients alike.

Fear that critical patient information is always on the line? Keeping up with regulatory changes seems a challenging task? VDI solutions tackle these pressing issues with their innovative security offerings.

In fact, they are silently but rapidly becoming a potential weapon in the cyber security armory against ransomware attacks in healthcare. Ironically, data security and privacy have been a primary tight spot for organizations that delayed their migration to DaaS and VDI solutions. But now, the same leading-edge desktop virtualization technologies are finding use in identifying and combating cybercrimes.

This article explains how healthcare settings can profit from the security benefits of DaaS and VDI services.

Secure Healthcare VDI images

Creating an efficient image implies providing a lightweight VDI solution. Healthcare environments are characterized by numerous divisions in a mix. Hence, building the correct image for each domain is vital. For instance:

  • Executive staff (persistent image)
  • Labs and healthcare contractors (pooled image)
  • Department-based employees (both persistent and pooled images)

Each of these images will have its respective stack of policies focused on the end users. Accordingly, healthcare IT can deliver applications through user cohorts, and these images can remain light and clean.
By designing secure master golden images, IT admins can define updates to a single master image (in the respective division) and update that instance. Based on that, a reboot cycle for all the secondary images pointing to the master will make way for updates. Such management helps streamline a controlled VDI deployment.

Avoid Downtime during Crises

Like any other industry, downtime also translates to a loss of business in healthcare too. During system downtime, medical practitioners cannot respond to patient complaints, follow up on leads, or deliver care.
In healthcare, more than money is at risk. If computer systems are suspended, staff cannot book emergency appointments, and doctors and nurses cannot confirm medications or procedure timings. Eventually, lives are on the line.

During natural disasters such as a fire outbreak or floods, paper documents could get lost, compromised, or tattered. If the equipment has sustained damages, medical records saved on-premise might also get lost. Computers can freeze amidst a task, resulting in unsaved documents and lost progress.

DaaS keeps healthcare records in independent, centralized servers in real-time. As such, the odds of data loss with onsite files or hard copies reduce when medical staff save information on the cloud.

Besides, VDI solves general problems, such as load balancing, which often leads to standstills. If a single server fails to manage a process, DaaS vendors distribute the demand over multiple servers, ensuring healthcare institutes do not short-circuit during peak times.

Stricter Authorization to Avert Ransomware in Healthcare

An inquiry revealed that a Huntington Hospital (the US) employee grabbed the records of 13,000 patients without access permission. The now-former employee has been convicted of a criminal HIPAA offense. Worse, the hospital had to provide one-year complimentary identity theft protection services as prevention.

In most healthcare ransomware attacks, security loopholes occur from internal sources, including disgruntled workers or contractors who want to access the systems for vested interests. To avoid critical medical records from falling into the hands of suspicious people, healthcare needs more than a simple password approach. Simply put, a comprehensive VDI role-based access control (RBAC) matrix.
DaaS-based RBAC grants resource access to medical staff on a need-to-use basis according to their roles at the healthcare facility. This approach to identity and access management (IAM) allows only those with valid reasons to log into the virtual servers without compromising patient privacy.

Those with permission to use virtual desktops will require approval via digital certificates, biometrics interaction, or multi-factor authentication (MFA) before accessing relevant data to perform their duties.

Data Encryption as an Additional Security Layer

Private sensitive details, including protected health information (PHI) and electronic health records (EHR), are among the popular prizes for threat actors. Therefore, the guidelines for caregivers analyzing patients’ data entail stringent data protection requirements that come with hefty fines if not fulfilled.

Perimeter security approaches, such as firewalls, to strengthen the cyber security fabric are no longer capable enough to thwart today’s healthcare ransomware attacks. Complementing them with VDI’s data encryption feature is a must in a layered approach to data security.

Whenever EHRs float across multiple systems, their confidentiality and integrity become vulnerable to various risks – Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, accidental exposure, and insider threats. Encrypting them in transit, mostly via the transport layer security (TLS) protocol, protects from many of these cyber risks.

Encryption encodes EHRs and PHI in such a way that only legitimate users can access them. It denies unauthorized third parties who do not have the required decryption key from reading or modifying classified information. In other words, even if a would-be interceptor physically nabs a server with encrypted information, that data remains completely undecipherable without the correct secret key.

Encryption does not guarantee the integrity of PHI – at rest and in transit. That said, as data is in constant evolution, healthcare settings can leverage it to check their backup integrity.

Frequent Security Patches and Updates

Unpatched software is among the primary reasons behind ransomware attacks in healthcare globally. Network threats are continuously evolving as malicious actors keep innovating their intrusion tactics. Cybercriminals often exploit critical security holes only a few hours after a software’s public launch. For small- and medium-scale healthcare centers, keeping software updated without triggering serious operation disturbances is challenging.

As such, regular software and app updates are crucial to boost the protection of confidential resources from potential healthcare ransomware attacks. Conventional IT security models do not execute timely updates or as often as necessary, thus exposing healthcare data and networks to digital intrusions.

DaaS vendors regularly install patches for their clients (healthcare settings), who can continue leveraging the cloud services without operational downtime. This reduces their chances of becoming victims of ransomware and saves them time in the process. When the staff reside in remote locations, VDI software solutions help ensure all employees are up-to-date and remain productive.

Secure Data Access from a Single Location

Moving healthcare data to DaaS allows medical staff to accumulate diverse databases in a single place. No doubt, the bulk of patients’ data is safeguarded. However, saving them in multiple sources – hard drives, spreadsheets, and hard copies – keeps petty items, such as a post-surgery note or a prescription, at the risk of getting misplaced or lost.

Storing medical records in a DaaS infrastructure opens new avenues for data management and integration (DMI) protocols. DMI is a complicated and evolving area. Simply put, it incorporates procedures and policies that companies implement to ensure that the right people have timely access to accurate information.

For hospitals and clinics, having plain and updated records is paramount before service providers shift or merge them with other data. If errors occur, for instance, in medical histories, patient details, prescriptions, or financial information, the healthcare institute can end up draining piles of cash and public backlash. Not to mention the physical harm if patients do not receive accurate treatment.

DaaS to Make Healthcare Cyber Security Smarter

Safeguarding critical resources in virtual servers is not only an IT issue but a paramount aspect of overall business strategy. The continuous rise in the sophistication of ransomware attacks in healthcare has influenced caregivers to realize the security benefits of the DaaS architecture.

Besides, the recent ransomware attack at the Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health is evident enough that cyber security intrusions continue to plague the healthcare system. Hence, organizations are inviting IT security pros to boardroom discussions for a well-thought-out security roadmap.

Today, virtual desktops are gradually replacing desktop setups in healthcare institutes. The perks end-users get to experience are hardware-agnostic desktop access, easy IT maintenance, better data security, and so on. Moreover, the security advances that VDI services boast are motivating healthcare that has been reluctant to embrace the technology to at least reassess their feasibility.

The intertwined nature of providing care reflects how an attack on one section of healthcare organizations can trigger a domino effect. While DaaS is not the silver bullet against ransomware in healthcare, it will keep classified medical resources organized and as secure as possible.

The banking, finance, service, and insurance (BFSI) industry has been among the primary end-users of IT products. Whether launching mobile banking (M-banking), enhancing customers’ savings hygiene, or offering doorstep services, financial institutions have never shied away from tech-driven innovations.

Ironically, that has not been the case with Desktop as a Service (DaaS) until the past few months. Considering the recent tectonic shifts challenger banks have undergone, BFSI incumbents have slipped under immense pressure. Cutting-edge virtualization solutions have enabled early adopters to eat away at the market share of traditional banks. Additionally, COVID-19 has underscored that customers expect banking services at their fingertips.

Hence, financial service providers are making rapid but cautious moves toward DaaS solutions to address these critical challenges in the banking industry.

Whether managing funds or offering investment suggestions, financial institutions deliver multiple services to customers. The very nature of these services makes the industry ideal for utilizing DaaS solutions.

The data they handle envelopes personal identifiable information (PII), which is highly confidential and demands stringent regulations. Moreover, customers are scattered across continents, and bankers need technological nimbleness to serve them on an as-needed basis.

The conventional on-site systems cannot deal with these evolving business requirements. As a result, financial institutions are increasingly betting on DaaS solutions that deliver on the promises of better performance, security, and cost-efficacy.

This article discusses why DaaS is a go-to solution to address the challenges in finance.

Securing Data at the Endpoints

Financial institutions store and process tons of classified customer information on a regular basis. From contact details to banking details, this gold mine of PII makes any banker an appealing target to cybercriminals. Moreover, the BFSI vertical is witnessing an upsurge in users preferring financial technology (FinTech) apps, such as M-banking and electronic payments, to traditional banking methods.

However, this expansion brings with it an astonishingly complex matrix of exposures and threats. Banks alone endured about 2,500 cyberattacks in 2021, a massive 3.5X rise from the 2020 numbers.

Besides, new security challenges in finance crop up with the pervasiveness of remote working culture. Bankers now access corporate systems and data from home routers, public Wi-Fi, and personal devices – otherwise called bring your own device (BYOD).

Virtual desktops do not keep or process any critical information. Instead, it resides in companies’ servers and data centers, where it is highly secure. When financial institutions include DaaS in their BYOD architecture, employees and users no longer have to use personal devices to log in and consume data.

Rather, each personal device turns into a window to virtual applications. These virtual desktops mimic a sandboxed, segmented work setting that exists safely beside users’ personal applications. This separation of apps from endpoints enables banks’ IT teams to manage and monitor data security, access, and auditing.

Changing System Configurations on Request

Over the past decade, the basic needs and preferences of an average consumer changed drastically no matter the industry. Now, quick service and convenience are among the deciding factors in client satisfaction.

BFSI incumbents’ core legacy systems are technologically inept at keeping pace with the ever-changing customer demands and market dynamics. These on-prem systems have a rigid configuration and need to be replaced as finance organizations mature.

DaaS solutions offer flexible desktops which are instantly scalable. As desktops are virtual, bankers can set their configurations based on business objectives. Their IT teams can add or remove users or system resources after completing the tasks.

Optimizing IT Budgets

Financial institutions allocate the lion’s share of their budgets for IT infrastructure. First, they purchase physical workstations from a vendor. Then, they need electricity and adequate air conditioning to run these systems. Not to mention a skilled, dedicated IT staff required for maintenance purposes. All these steps pose serious challenges in finance in terms of time and cost.

Virtualizing BFSI assets enables banks to move from capital expenses (CAPEX) to predictable operating expenses (OPEX). Many established DaaS vendors provide an entire stack for a per-user, per-month subscription price.

This pay-as-you-go model allows banks to foot only for tools, virtual desktops, and resources they are currently using. In addition, they can scale up and down as needed while having an expert IT panel to keep their workstations updated and protected 24/7.

When the time comes for a system refresh, financial service providers can buy thin clients, which are comparatively cost-effective, versus physical desktops that are compute- and energy-intensive.

Further, financial establishments can set up a BYOD policy, where bankers can serve customers from their own devices. As they do not have to deploy these systems on-premise, organizations save on maintenance-related costs.

Minimal Downtime during Unforeseen Events

Any minor issue with local workstations can trigger a halt in financial operations for a few hours. Even worse, a major devastating event, such as an earthquake or a large-scale cyberattack, can extend the standstill for days (if not months).

Several DaaS packages come with a foolproof disaster recovery (DR) plan to ensure uninterrupted operations in financial settings, even when a catastrophe occurs. DaaS replicates the entire financial process on multiple data centers situated across the globe.

The virtual resources remain highly available, and IT admins can reconfigure secure access to systems if a location is out of order. So, if one server or data center crashes due to any unexpected event, VDI’s at-length redundancy and backup capabilities redirect bankers’ access to identical workstations.

Moreover, if any employee loses their devices or leaves them somewhere, the risks of data theft/loss are nil. Virtual desktops are not tied to any specific device. This geographical separation of servers minimizes the risk of operational standstills in financial institutions and thus ensures a smooth client experience.

Keeping Regulators Happy

Effective corporate administration and solid risk management boost the financial stability that banks can achieve by collaborating with market actors and policymakers.

Considering the sensitivity of the information financial institutions preserve, they are always under pressure to fulfill security mandates, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Non-abidance to such BFSI norms can result in swift, silent, and brutal outcomes.

Many such compliance standards are already hovering around the corner as different countries lock down their “digital boundaries” in their own way. Case in point, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This banking regulation requires banks to comprehensively examine their offerings to assess and correct any possible security leaks and confirm whether the firm is EU-native or not.

DaaS helps financial establishments to stay compliant with technical standards and ease regulatory pressure. After all, teaming up with a service provider versed in the BFSI sector and having the necessary certifications makes the regulatory landscape significantly more negotiable. Furthermore, vendors offer compliant VDI tools, summarized in service level agreements (SLA) and data center compliance norms.

Serving Clients in Various Time Zones

Money makes the world go round. Providing financial services to global customers involves resolving their queries at anytime from anywhere. Today, customers are tech-savvy and make transactions online. They expect their service providers to respond equally fast.

As such, financial service firms must be flexible and agile enough to fulfill the demands of their “always-on” clients. Bankers have to sit behind a desk the entire day while working on traditional desktops. Once they log out, catering to customers living in the other hemisphere becomes a grave challenge in the banking industry.

Accessible from any Internet-powered device, anywhere, anytime, DaaS solutions enable finance experts to attend to customers residing across regions, whether on the road, at the office, or at home. At the same time, they can access financial applications and data on the go.

Unleashing DaaS to Tackle the Challenges in Banking Industry

A bank’s tech expertise and the quality of banking software services it receives linearly affect its market competitiveness.

DaaS solutions are transforming the way financial establishments perceive operational functionality and risk processing. They have reinvented the groundwork of the BFSI space by turning conventional desk-side firms into web-delivered service providers. Hence, bankers can focus on expanding their clientele and strengthening their infrastructure.

In general, banks have been sluggish in leveraging DaaS solutions due to security and compliance concerns. However, recently, they have started to fully explore the potential and realize the benefits of desktop virtualization technology.

Desktop as a Service houses tremendous value potential when it comes to combating the challenges in the banking industry. Unfortunately, those with a piecemeal migration strategy can miss out on grabbing the entire value. For instance, companies first to cash in on M-banking have already become industry heavyweights.

Thankfully, financial institutions are quickly learning that BFSI’s future lies in virtualization. As a result, they are increasingly including DaaS in their digitization journeys to remain relevant, bolster IT security, and offer more diverse services to customers.

Desktop virtualization technologies are undoubtedly here to stay and are a flourishing trend of measurable outcomes. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), two prominent solutions in the industry, have cemented their place as the go-to IT solution for workplaces of all sorts.

The steps involved in VDI implementation are the same as those in any large-scale tech project: understanding needs, setting objectives and milestones, researching, choosing vendors, and planning and strategy.

That being considered, organizations must take necessary measures throughout the VDI implementation process to optimize their working efficiency. This article explains seven common VDI/DaaS issues that most (if not all) companies often make.

Seven common mistakes organizations make in VDI implementation

Cost-effectiveness at the Cost of User Experience

Keeping users at the center of End User Computing (EUC) efforts should be a no-brainer for organizations. Unfortunately, most of them turn a blind eye to this aspect of their VDI implementation process. While business leaders have budget limitations, emphasizing only cost-cutting and neglecting user experience will lead to net loss down the line due to sub-par productivity.

Case in point, a company picks a public cloud-based multi-user model to reduce its capital expenses (CAPEX). Such a framework enables numerous users to share the resources and costs of a particular virtual machine (VM). However, if the cloud environment is not appropriately sized, these cost reduction tactics can later shape into performance issues that eventually annoy end-users.

Purchasing the best VDI service is all about squaring end-user experience with CAPEX. Besides, organizations must invest in monitoring tools that allow them to gauge UX and make necessary tweaks when things go south. These tools help them assure they are delivering a splendid end-user experience by capturing what is flashing on their employees’ physical monitors.

The total costs of ownership (TCO) for desktop virtualization solutions can outshine that of traditional physical desktops. Hence, companies should realize the benefits these technologies will come with and ensure they ink a valuable deal.

Seeing all Service Providers through the Same Lens

All DaaS/VDI vendors appear identical from a worm’s-eye perspective. They offer packages with similar functionalities at varying price tags.

Desktop virtualization services by public cloud hyperscalers allow users to work only in a single – “Mono Cloud” – setting. On the flip side, multi-cloud DaaS solutions equip companies with the flexibility to switch between various public clouds. As such, they can change their EUC environments – by transferring some data from one public cloud to another, for example, without hampering their VDI implementation strategies.

By dint of the circumstance, businesses must consider the following factors while comparing different service providers:

  • Security: Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), data backup, and anti-malware software
  • Mobility: Access to critical resources anywhere, anytime
  • Uptime: At least 95% (Industry standard is 99.99%)
  • After-sales support: Resolving queries quickly and accurately
  • Scalability: Easy to scale when required

Case in point, a VDI service package bundled with 90% uptime and no resting data encryption can cost more money even if the upfront expenses are low. Conversely, a VDI solution offering 99% uptime with transport layer security (TLS) 1.3 and 256-bit encryption would be an excellent buy. While the initial costs could be high, the overall return on investment (ROI) will be impressive.

Inadequate Resource Planning

Before kick-starting VDI implementation, organizations have the opportunity to lay out a map for resource allocation. VMs will consume tremendous network bandwidth, storage, and memory to function optimally. If companies cut back on these computing requirements early on, their operation efficacy will take a hard hit.

As such, organizations must avoid planning out resources based on current or near-future needs to stitch an IT fabric, they will utilize in coming years. With that in mind, they should assess the resources they need and their status before, during, and after deploying the VDI solution.

Case in point, monitoring RAM, network bandwidth, and storage usage of every computing device. This alongside the requirements of mission-critical applications to determine the final resource requirement. Moreover, taking some additional units beforehand can help prevent system freeze or outages.

Understanding the difference between what those modules should be doing and how they actually operate is essential. Besides, businesses should be deeply acquainted with the hosts or applications in use to avoid guesswork, which could lead to inaccuracies.

Not Educating Staff about VDI Implementation

Nabbing new VDI/DaaS solutions is just one part of the entire story. Users must be aware of their entire feature sets and how to unfold their full potential. Organizations should inform about the tech-based changes in the workplaces across the board in advance. They need to provide their employees with adequate training on virtual desktops.

That includes how to run virtual desktops – whether on a virtual private network (VPN) or own web-browsing devices – what login credentials to use, and how to access and save data. Training employees will help prevent future troubles.

For this, businesses must perceive their employees as stakeholders and shadow their activities to determine how they can map them into their VDI implementation. In addition, companies must communicate any downside so that employees can inform the concerned authority on issues, including long login times, device lag, and video streaming difficulties.

When deploying DaaS/VDI, organizations should work in phases and follow up with their employees after each phase to check on them and receive feedback. They need to learn their preferences and needs to ensure fluid adoption.

Not Managing VM Sprawl

Virtualization or VM sprawl has been a longstanding challenge and can be particularly detrimental in a DaaS/VDI environment. IT teams should standardize graphics and images as much as possible to slash the degree of cleaning and maintenance each of them requires.

If a department, for instance, needs certain programs, the company should move them out through the configuration manager option (or virtualizing the apps completely) after the user logs in. This offers a single image for all users instead of a different image incorporating those essential programs.

Companies using multiple files should oversee user expectations and organize the images by the task in a distributed desktop environment. Case in point, a salesperson who will communicate via VPN and requires rapid response times, a web developer who consumes a lot of RAM, and a newbie who should be denied permission to access those applications or use USB drives.

Henceforward, IT teams should preserve the documents and disable inactive virtual desktops as employees update or leave the company.

Purchasing New Set of Equipment (Unnecessarily)

Some service providers convince end-users to replace their entire existing infrastructure with new hardware to migrate to desktop virtualization. Not to mention a string of thin clients. However, that is not the case. Businesses must never be frugal on spending sufficient capital but efficiently utilize traditional IT assets.

With desktop virtualization platforms, companies no longer have to spend on hardware and its maintenance. The office computers and laptops they already have will work absolutely fine unless they do not support internet connectivity.

Besides, VMs need not be wired to a thin client or server. Employees can also use tablets and handheld devices (based on remote access and network capabilities). That is where the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) software comes to the rescue.

Companies should avoid wasting bandwidth on their hardware during VDI implementation and rather stick to existing servers if possible. Moreover, they should not squander money by allocating a thin line/virtual desktop for each employee. Instead, they should check whether they can share these if feasible, for instance, part-time employees who work alternating shifts.

As such, organizations must use their current IT equipment until they wear out before buying new ones. If they need additional devices, they can allow BYOD for a while to understand the effect of this decision.

Taking Security Lightly

With desktop virtualization services, all the data reside in a centralized location and are off-limits to everybody unless authenticated and authorized. Organizations can disable access by decommissioning their employees’ virtual desktops in a few clicks. With all these facilities, several organizations cease thinking about their security infrastructure.

However, VDI implementation does not mean the C-suite can relax, as digital intrusions could still occur via disgruntled employees, rogue system admins, social engineering, and network sniffing.

While choosing desktop virtualization services, businesses must enquire about the security features, load balancing, and security upgrades and patching. Following is the checklist:

  • Firewalls: To authorize users to access business-critical data and applications
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS): To monitor and mitigate cyberattack(s)
  • MFA: To authenticate every employee and stakeholder entering the cloud network
  • Regular backup: For disaster recovery and business continuity
  • TLS 1.3 and 256-bit encryption: To safeguard resting and in-transit data

Prepare Now to Prevent Glitches in Future

While this summary underscores some critical pitfalls to avoid during VDI implementation, the list can extend further as DaaS/VDI adoption increases. As such, companies must not live under the impression that migrating to desktop virtualization is a smooth process.

Mistakes occur, and more of them are unexpected. Therefore, companies should log and learn from their mistakes before including them in their VDI implementation.

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions are some of the groundbreaking technologies promising notable changes to the business economy. Consequently, several small and midsize businesses (SMB) are engaging in digital transformation initiatives to unlock true digital value.

While digital shift is a hot topic in boardroom discussions, most SMB runners fail to understand its meaning thoroughly. The basic mistake they commit is deploying technologies without any reasonable cause and not forming a relevant, sustainable strategy. They get enthusiastic about the technologies and adopt them without understanding their long-term usage and effect on the business.

Digital is always on the move, making SMBs feel overwhelmed. As such, they need to be accurate on the fundamentals instead of over-sophisticating an already challenging transition.

This article digs deeper into eight digital transformation mistakes SMBs should keep at bay.

Vague Goals for Digital Transformation

Most SMBs have a confused and blurred vision for digital transformation as they cannot define relevant specifics or build a coherent strategy. While entrepreneurs boast intent and a stack of innovative projects, they cannot specify the reason behind the digital transformation.

When the goal is not set, and key performance indicators (KPI) are not mutually agreed upon, business persons will have a distorted view of the problem they want to fix. As such, they end up investing in the wrong technology, which could disrupt the entire digital journey.

SMBs must perform the upfront hard work to create a well-articulated, easy-to-understand digital transformation plan with specific, measurable, and feasible goals. Moreover, the process should begin at the top and then scatter across the enterprise.

Setting Unrealistic Deadlines and Milestones

Having a plan at hand is quintessential before commencing the digital transformation journey. SMBs must be clear on what results they expect, for instance, better overall workplace efficacy, increased profit margins, or streamlined complex operations.

Irrespective of the goals, being unreasonably bullish from day one and creating concrete deadlines to accomplish them will always backfire. C-suite executives must understand that digital transition is a “marathon,” and not a one-off affair. The entire process will take time, effort, and numerous risks to come to fruition.

To keep digital transformation on track, SMBs should define milestones and interim goals to gauge its impact in due course. As a result, they can better manage the deliverables and clearly understand the transitioning pace. Moreover, organizations can adjust their strategies (if necessary) and avoid getting overburdened with deadlines.

Enterprises should keep the larger picture at the center while shifting to a digital-native ecosystem rather than celebrating short-term gains and wins.

Ignoring In-house Staff Training

One of the digital transformation mistakes that SMBs often commit is falsely assuming that their workforces are already tech-savvy. However, that is not the case every time, particularly regarding new corporate-grade VDI solutions built to scale and might not be easy to use. An underskilled workforce poses a significant long-term risk.

The C-suite often believes that a quick demo or intro of the technology will do the trick, following which employees will learn it themselves. No matter how skilled employees are, the senior management must keep them and their handling of digital solutions on the watch.

As employees are already versed with the traditional platforms, they will likely resist the foreseeable digital transformation. Hence, SMBs must invest in well-structured training programs laden with quality documentation to instill confidence in their employees to work on business applications.

Not Bringing Employees Onboard for Digital Transformation

Any SMB is about the stakeholders who contribute to overall growth, the most critical being the employees. They will feel insecure and intimidated due to tectonic changes to their work environments. As such, before diving into the ocean of new-age technologies, it is crucial that these stakeholders can swim. The success of the entire transformation rests upon employees’ involvement in digitalization.

This is where chief executive officers (CEO) play a pivotal role. First, they must demonstrate to employees the digital tool and its benefits, and be approachable. For instance, if the reason driving the transition is slumping revenue, CEOs must convey the same. Then, they should explain to employees that digital transformation can equate to higher payscale and better career opportunities.

Also, CEOs can single out early adopters who can help their co-workers with using the tool and boost their morale.

While all businesses create a sound strategy, most do not pass it down. Employees are more likely to hop on the transformation ride when they know not only the logistics involved but the “why” behind the move. They need to cultivate a sense of purpose to build loyalty and enthusiasm for the cause.

Communication and transparency are paramount when it comes to triggering digital transformation across the board. Otherwise, employees cannot fully leverage the technology and transition smoothly.

Considering Digital Transition a One-off Event

Often, SMBs assume that digital transformation is a one-time setup, results of which will persist for ages. Digital evolution is a never-ending procedure as some new innovator surfaces every other week (or month).

Business leaders fall into the mental trap of believing that their job of digitally transmuting their organizations is done. Such thinking can make them lax and miss out on effective methods that could considerably benefit their enterprises.

Digital transformation is never a destination, as per general belief. It is a dynamic process where SMBs are constantly on their toes to encounter the challenges of the fast-evolving market conditions.

The purpose here is to become a flexible business that can keep pace with changes rapidly and is ready to embrace (appropriate) technologies as soon as they emerge without any resistance.

Planning for Digital Transformation too Far in Advance

Going digital is more about doing than planning. SMBs can get involved in endless loops of analysis paralysis, which hinders the transformation initiative. Excessive planning for the digital transition initiative can increase the odds of inaccurate assumptions or the inability to predict future needs.

To tackle this, SMBs should institutionalize lean startup mindset at every corporate rung. Lean startup mindset prefers experimentation to a top-down strategy. This approach rapidly and iteratively builds an innovation to become a minimum viable product (MVP) that businesses release to customers. Then, they refine the innovation based on customer feedback.

Not Offering Internal Operations the Automation Touch

No matter how far SMBs go to integrate prominent technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) or AI, they cannot achieve desired outcomes until they automatize the processes within the firm.

Digital transformation starts from the inside, automating how teams collaborate and organizations move away from legacy business models. Introducing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, for instance, is one of the best ways to streamline internal corporate operations.

CRM software logs all the internal tasks, builds logic networks, and decodes customer-related data earlier stored in spreadsheets. If executed properly, CRM platforms can help automatize several routine and crucial tasks.

While rolling out CRM software, determining the most suitable feature set is pivotal. Most SMBs do not leverage the complete feature sets and only introduce tools based on recommendations by competitors’ business developers. However, blending a CRM with automation tools can help save money than purchasing a product companies will not fully utilize.

Paying No Heed to KPIs

If SMB owners do not have pre-defined relevant metrics to quantify their results, they cannot measure the growth. This could sabotage the whole digital transformation journey.

As the shift to digital is an enterprise-wide application, businesses must define KPIs that will consider all organizational aspects. Case in point:

  • Digitizing operations KPIs: Measure business sustainability, time saved in completing manual processes, and employee productivity
  • IT uplift KPIs: Measure reduced costs, new solutions, and the revenue of tools
  • Digital marketing metrics: Measure user lifetime value, the number of leads generated, return on marketing, and client acquisition
  • New ventures KPIs: Measure new launches and access to markets

Getting Digital Transformation Right

Over the past few years, SMBs across continents have accelerated their shift to digital. However, a venture as colossal as digital transition will never be a straightforward path. In addition, the chances of facing multiple barriers to success will be high.

Businesses have to dodge a slew of mistakes and sloppy waters while focusing sharply on the end goal. That said, they can either succumb to cutthroat market competition due to subsequent fears or embrace these challenges and collectively find solutions to script a success story.

By getting the basics right and implementing a crystal-clear roadmap tailored to business needs, SMBs can reap the benefits of digital transformation.

VDI Solutions – Overview

The significance of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions across businesses of all industries and sizes continues to snowball. That said, with this increasing reliance on leading-edge technologies comes the hurdle of the ever-growing digital skill gap in companies.

The logistics of deploying new technologies – choosing the suitable product, compatibility with existing systems, and installing them – overwhelms the C-suite. Oft-times, organizations ignore equally crucial aspects of the process – employee adoption.

Fortunately, with the right VDI training, business leaders can help their workforces not only embrace innovative technology but also succeed with it. Else, they can never experience the desired results or expected return on investment (ROI), irrespective of how impeccable the solution is.

This article explains 7 strategies for VDI training to drive enthusiastic acceptance of VDI in workplaces, fluidly and effectively.

7 Strategies for VDI Training

Listen to Employees

Before rushing out and purchasing VDI services, business leaders must ask employees for their input. The interaction can be formal (via focus groups or surveys) and informal in the form of casual conversation. Then, they should perform meticulous research to pinpoint productivity obstacles with the current infrastructure that require immediate attention and consult their employees to highlight the missing elements. For instance, organizations can

  • Ask the opinions of the department heads. “Will the VDI service streamline employees’ jobs?” “Will the new tech tackle any existing pain point (s)?”
  • Create a survey and share it across the board to gather employees’ feedback about the conventional systems and insights on what will optimize their work.

Share the Benefits Company-wide

Employees will readily adapt to the IT change when they understand the loopholes of the current platforms. Kick-starting an internal marketing campaign that answers the “why” and the “how” for employees is a wise choice. Such campaigns that treat employees like end-users will make their jobs better, easier, and faster.

In addition, businesses should organize a video conference to convey the benefits of VDI and promote two-way communication to mitigate potential issues.

Employees are more likely to accept the new tech if companies effectively illustrate its benefits. Hence, for instance, if the VDI software will simplify remote access to mission-critical files, organizations should explain the same to their workforces. This especially applies to less tech-savvy employees, who feel the most uncomfortable while trying their hands at any new tech-based solution.

Offer VDI Training in Multiple Formats

For effective VDI adoption, organizations must provide learning content in various formats, including live videos, written instructions, and in-person workshops, to serve numerous work styles.

Some employees respond best to online learning, while others find a hands-on learning experience more suitable. Case in point, if a business’s outlets exist across regions, such as in hospitality and retail, mobile (just-in-time information) or microlearning resources would be more appropriate.

Likewise, each employee fulfills unique roles and responsibilities. As such, organizations must modify VDI training workshops by department so that employees only understand the tools they need for their duties. Hence, no more wasting time elaborating features and functionalities a particular team will never use.

Pair New Users with Tech-savvy Employees

Suppose a company is looking to adopt VDI to bolster its sales arm. In that case, approaching a few volunteers from the sales team to try out the solution can clear queries, including:

  • How will the VDI software benefit the sales team?
  • How easy is it to use the solution?
  • Will it pose new challenges or negotiate existing ones?

Organizations can utilize these insights to shape the remaining VDI deployment. Also, they should understand that some employees lack a firm grip on technology compared to others.

This offers a ripe opportunity to use these digitally literate volunteers to promote the new technology to their colleagues. Senior-ranking officials should team them up with less tech-savvy employees to help them get up to speed.

Fuse Incentives with VDI Training

Training incentives work when used selectively and complemented with high-quality rewards. The cue lies in understanding employees well enough to determine the rewards that keep them focused and enthusiastic to complete the VDI training. For some employees, the incentive is as straightforward as verbal recognition (in-person or in public) that acknowledges their commitment.

For others, businesses can think of outside-the-box ways to figure out how to keep their workforces engaged. For instance, employees can take an early hour on a Friday afternoon at specific checkpoints. Or, employers can include a delicious catered breakfast or lunch as a regular part of VDI training.

Facilitate Self-guided VDI Training

Getting familiarized with new technology requires repetition. The most effective approach to achieving this is by enabling self-guided learning. For that, organizations can implement the following methods at length:

  • Creating a separate sandbox enables employees to experiment with the VDI platform without worrying about disrupting the central IT system.
  • Apart from initial live coaching, IT experts should develop bite-sized learning content employees can refer to both during the roll-out and on an as-needed basis. Case in point infographics, step-wise manuals, and audio recordings. These how-to guides ideally stretch at most five minutes and are easily consumable.

More and more employees of all age groups prefer completely independent learning. Therefore, facilitating self-service VDI training is paramount.

Add Fun to VDI Training

Complementing employee training with fun elements and rewards is critical to driving VDI adoption. For instance, organizing a friendly contest where one team uses the traditional system while the other uses the new VDI software. That way, employees can decide on the winner between the two platforms.

In addition, a leaderboard reflecting the names of those employees dedicating the most hours or accomplishing certain targets is another way to promote VDI prevalence. Officials at the higher end of the corporate hierarchy should reward such employees with badges, bonuses, and micro-credentials to foster further participation.

VDI Training is a Must to Avoid Gathering Digital Dust

Companies squander resources on hiring fresh staff, employee coaching programs, and internal communications systems. Additionally, they do so with a properly thought-through strategy. Investing in and deploying VDI solutions is no exception. Following an empathetic, people-centered approach will serve organizations with at-scale workplace productivity and bigger profit margins.

Recruiting a new employee costs organizations around US$ 4700 on average. Hence, enterprises must focus on preparing their current workforce for the ongoing digital shift instead of hiring new people. Besides, the existing employees will have the opportunity to upskill or reskill while on their jobs.

Furthermore, VDI training programs tighten the linkage between companies and their employees as the latter will appreciate the effort dedicated toward their betterment rather than getting neglected.

Technology in workplaces has become indispensable, citing today’s ever-changing market conditions and end-user demands. In fact, digital transformation is the antidote to multiple issues associated with conventional workplaces, including low engagement, inadequate collaboration, and inept operations. Part of the credit goes to the new working patterns in light of COVID-19 that have accelerated the pace of digital workplace transformation.

As technology drastically remodels industry after industry, enterprises are engaging in at-length change efforts to grab the value at stake or maintain market competitiveness. However, in a hyperconnected economy where business growth identically relies on both workers and customers, several companies are yet to focus on employee productivity in digital workplace environments.

While spending in digital workspaces has only witnessed an uptrend, there is limited proof to substantiate technology’s role in boosting workplace efficiency. As such, organizations must reinvent their workplaces to function in sync and connect with their employees irrespective of their locations, time zones, and devices. Put simply, connecting workforce experience to business outcomes.

This article elaborates on key strategies that will help organizations uncover the power of workplace transformation and ensure optimal employee productivity.

Foster Open-ended Discussions throughout the Corporate Hierarchy

Communication is the cornerstone of any workplace transformation framework. Employees resist change when business leaders force it upon them. As such, organizations must bring all the employees together and welcome their queries and opinions.

Various high-ranking officials must exhibit technology prowess to encourage enterprise-wide adaptation. After all, change is a team effort. The boardroom-level discussion should begin from the top and involve employees throughout the corporate ladder.

The Chief Information Officer (CIO), in particular, should take charge of building digital-driven synergies across their companies. Moreover, they must effectively bridge the gap between the actual technology deployment and employees’ concerns and demands.

Even though the digital workplace transformation is in motion, the C-suite must keep the floor open, continuously asking for employees’ input. During the early stages of tech-based changes, company-wide communication is thus considerably vital.

Build a More Collaborative Landscape

Robust collaboration and communication are paramount in enhancing employee productivity through digital change as they linearly affect workforce culture and how workers perform their duties.

Remote and hybrid working models have become crucial for workplace transformation initiatives. With COVID-19 keeping everybody tethered to their respective homes, companies often suffer disordered communication between employees, leading to conflicts and misconceptions.

Employees now seek liberty to access enterprise tech solutions to work from anywhere and on devices of their choice. In order to develop a collaborative work environment, businesses must connect their employees with the appropriate tools and processes. In doing so, they can make necessary tweaks and create a positive atmosphere for remote work communication while warding off unwanted stressors.

That way, they can smoothly fill the gap between offline and online collaboration. Besides, workplace transformation tools offer a straightforward way for remote employees to communicate and collaborate in real-time. This truly creates “anytime, anywhere” access to corporate data, tools, and resources.

Furthermore, digital tools help eliminate generational gaps and bring together employees of all age cohorts. They help keep every employee accountable and ensure better inter-departmental collaboration.

Monitor Employee Productivity in Real-time

Several service-based firms have enacted remote working policies over the past few months. However, forging a capable remote workforce is miles from being easy. From managing global resource clusters to delayed decision-making to lack of accountability, remote managers have to negotiate multiple obstacles.

During digital workplace transformation, organizations must keep a constant on employees to determine:

  • How digitization is helping employees
  • Whether businesses fulfilled the initial objective of digitization
  • Areas of improvement throughout enterprise-wide digitization

Companies must capture these insights during and after post-digital workplace strategy. Then, they should determine the key performance indicators (KPI) necessary for evaluation before deploying the technology. These KPIs help determine whether the results gathered from real-time monitoring align with the organizations’ workplace transformation goals.

Moreover, they help underline the elements that require improvement and maintenance. In the case of the former, organizations should conduct a meeting with all employees and stakeholders to discuss the same.

Invest in Training Programs

New technologies surface frequently, and organizations need to keep pace with them. As businesses bid goodbye to legacy systems, they must arm their workforces with the relevant skill set to operate the new digital solution. That said, not all employees are tech-savvy. At times, even those fluent in technology take a while to become familiar with the recently utilized platform.

Companies must organize and schedule holistic training programs for employees to educate them about the direct and indirect changes digital workplace transformation will deliver. Such coaching sessions help employees build relevant capabilities to survive the dynamic business environment.

Some effective ways of training employees in new digital solutions include:

  • Approaching in-house subject matter experts for training
  • Product/application training by a third-party service provider
  • Online learning resources such as videos, e-courses, and quizzes
  • Using sandboxes to enable experimentation with technologies without affecting the primary IT system

Business leaders should motivate every employee, regardless of their corporate rank or department, to undergo immersive training to fuel tech adoption. Particularly if the technology used is still in its early days. Furthermore, organizations will not be ready for change if their workforces are not.

Focus on Improving Employee Experience

Employees are the heart of any corporate workplace. Including them in the planning phase of any workplace transformation framework is critical. In addition, employee experience and customer experience are innately linked.

Understanding how to step up employee productivity and engagement should form the basis of an effective digital transition. That said, productivity slumps happening early in the transformation journey are natural as employees need time to adjust to the new tool or application.

For this, businesses can perform comprehensive research through the following techniques:

  • Individual feedback forms
  • Polls and surveys
  • Meetings with team/department representatives

When CIOs learn how the current employee experience squares with the desired experience, they can take actions to better align both within their workplace transformation strategy.

For instance, if employees experience communication inefficiency, senior officials should form an online forum that makes internal communications more accessible and appropriate.

Or, suppose the remote workforce cannot be in full swing due to constant toggling between browser tabs, wrestling with recurring sign-ins, and searching for resources. In that case, a digital workplace platform will be sufficient.

Elevating workforce experience has a domino effect on customer experience as employees can work in their preferred methods and thus offer higher grades of service.

Deploy Suitable Workplace Transformation Technologies

Similar to how companies assign employees specific tasks, they must also appropriate business operations to particular digital technologies. An effective way is to consider a specific department and single out a certain workflow to determine what processes hold well with particular tools or solutions.

Case in point, a company’s IT division needs to focus on a strategic project. However, they lack enough labor pool as they are occupied attending inbound calls and maintaining print servers. The on-site print equipment is disturbing the IT team’s ability to concentrate on core enterprise initiatives.

In this case, the company must look for digital solutions that help remove the existing burden by shifting the print infrastructure offsite.

While deciding on which departments and which workflows to consider, starting with the trickiest areas is an impressive move. Perhaps, processes pose challenges because existing technologies are not aligned with the employees who utilize them.

Moreover, suppose the solution used in a particular workflow is well-aligned with its users, yet inefficiencies persist. In that case, businesses must determine if the technology is assigned to suitable tasks.

Once enterprises optimize how they assign tasks to workplace transformation solutions, they can further capitalize on how employees are leveraging these technologies.

Make Ample Room for Experimentation

For several employees, digital workplace transformation involves stepping out of their comfort zone. A culture where experimentation is advocated is helpful for those new to the digital game. Employees can then effortlessly experiment with new technologies without worrying about the repercussions of mistakes.

Secondly, regular trial-and-error helps unlock innovative and faster ways of performing everyday duties, improving employee productivity and, thus, operational efficiency. Indeed, the odds of employees sticking with the same company for over three years surge by 85% if the workplace transformation solutions support them in their work.

Democratizing Technology to Drive Intelligent Workforce

Understanding the purpose, functionalities, and tools of digital workplaces is critical to devising a robust workplace transformation strategy. Even more, mission-critical is offering mobility and flexibility to employees scattered across continents as they work more and more from home, in the office, or even on the go.

While organizations’ rigorous efforts to digitize their workplaces are commendable, most focus on only business metrics, and a handful of them emphasize employee productivity.

Workforce efficacy and engagement are essential to success. Placing employees at the center of your workplace transformation strategy helps change how they collaborate, complete their tasks, and eventually deliver tangible business outcomes.

Creating a balance between remote or hybrid work and cybersecurity is something most businesses are yet to achieve. A recent survey reveals that nearly 7 out of 10 cyberattacks target remote employees, triggering disruption of day-to-day operations, loss of classified information, and ransomware pay-out.

With work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay and more organizations deploying virtual desktops than ever seen, IT pros are facing the imperative of safeguarding their companies’ vital digital assets for increasingly distributed workforces. As a response, C-level executives are resorting to Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) to provide secure remote access to critical resources.

One of the primary reasons driving this shift is that DaaS security solutions empower end-users to securely log in to virtual systems without retrieving data from local devices. Plus, companies can achieve this with the scale and speed WFA demands, irrespective of the employees’ devices and locations.

As a result, the odds of cyber intrusion slump while enabling IT teams to implement zero-trust network access (ZTNA) for mission-critical resources. Best of all, end-users experience the same security and centralization benefits that conventional desktop virtualization services provide, alongside decreased cost and better scalability.

In this article, we will lay bare the key benefits of DaaS security systems.

DRaaS for Asset Restoration

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a third-party cloud service that backs up and recovers a company’s critical resources in case of disasters – natural or human-made.

DRaaS vendors simulate a company’s primary settings (physical and virtual) for fast recovery of applications and data whenever required. They can kick-start asset recoveries from any touchpoint using devices of nearly any sort. This enables companies to restore their critical resources directly to a disaster recovery site in a different location if their data centers are unavailable.

The cloud servers immediately replicate any changes happening at the primary site, updating automatically and recovering environments shortly before an outage. Moreover, to prevent data loss during failover, DRaaS providers capture snapshots of the businesses’ resources now and then.

Generally, DRaaS expectations and requirements are documented in a service-level agreement (SLA). Additionally, third-party providers offer failover to a cloud environment through a contract or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

MFA for Additional Security Walls

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a multi-tier account sign-in process that allows users to access digital assets only after validating their identity with at least one verification factor on top of a conventional user ID and password. MFA includes the following steps:

  • Something you know: Includes PINs, passwords, and answers to security questions.
  • Something you have: Includes time-sensitive one-time passwords (OTP) delivered by email, text, or a secure link.
  • Something you are: Includes biometrics such as fingerprints, face or iris scans, and keystroke patterns.

While passwords protect a company’s digital assets, they do leave an insecure vector for cyberattacks. Cyberattackers are always on the hunt for passwords. By cracking a single password, they can potentially gain access to multiple enterprise accounts, especially the C-suite, for which users might have re-entered the password. MFA provides an extra security layer to keep suspicious users from accessing these business accounts, even when the password is compromised.

SSO for Simplified Logins

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication technique allowing users to access multiple DaaS applications and systems using one set of login credentials. It runs on a trust relationship between the service provider (a website and application) and the identity provider. This relationship sustains by exchanging digital certificates and metadata, helping service providers confirm the source’s reliability.

Additionally, both parties communicate with each other through open standards – Open Authorization (OAuth), Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), or OpenID Connect (OIDC).

SSO centralizes administering the ever-increasing number of enterprise accounts without compromising security or getting stuck in endless account provisioning. With automated credentials management, IT admins no longer need to manually monitor all the employees’ access to the DaaS applications. As such, human error subsides, and IT teams gain more time for more vital tasks.

Besides, SSO enables companies to quickly remove access to all their resources in one place if an employee resigns.

Compliance with Industry Norms

Most (if not all) sectors have established regulations dictating data storage and transmission to ensure its privacy and security. Case in point, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) of 2004 devises controls and policies to secure customers’ credit/debit card details. Likewise, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 sets the norms for confidential patient data protection.

Complying with these legislative norms can be overwhelming for organizations. Fortunately, effective DaaS security programs produce reports that are always in line with prominent data security standards. Such automatic compliance is instrumental in making corporate work more convenient.

Updates and Security Patches

Online threats are continuously on the rise as cybercriminals keep innovating ways to break into an organization’s IT fabric. As such, regular updates and security patches are essential to sustaining a secure IT ecosystem.

Conventional security frameworks do not guarantee timely updates or as frequently as needed, thus increasing the attack surface. Using DaaS security, however, companies experience up-to-the-moment security features as the cloud vendor ensures rapid deployment of security updates as soon as they become available. Moreover, as the hardware resides in centralized locations, this process gets more streamlined.

DaaS security patches and updates are necessary as no shipped software is error- and vulnerability-proof. In addition, the software development cycles get rather shorter than longer – often creating more exposure – and the cybercriminal base globally is expanding. Hence, automated updates from numerous threat intelligence engines safeguard organizations’ IT infrastructure and users from all the latest known digital risks.

24/7 Monitoring for Faster Response

Time is a crucial factor once cybercriminals release malware or ransomware into an enterprise’s IT framework. The longer threat detection and mitigation take, the greater the damage companies might endure. Legacy security models react slowly compared to their cloud-enabled counterparts, as the IT team could be unavailable throughout the day to respond to cyber threats.

DaaS security providers offer a dedicated monitoring crew in the subscription that constantly watches over organizations’ networks round-the-clock for any suspicious data traffic activity. If identified any, the cybersecurity experts promptly respond and nullify the offending act. This rapid response ensures limited damage to businesses’ IT architecture.

At-length Visibility across the Network

Data loss does not always occur due to digital intrusions. It can also result from the carelessness of employees managing classified information. Again, with cloud models, organizations might think they are sacrificing control. But DaaS security services provide complete control over employees’ activity. Case in point: who can access critical resources, who has logged in, and when.

Besides, through DaaS security solutions, companies can access analytical insights about data inventory, including location and condition – if the hardware is obsolete or linked to untrusted networks. Consequently, they will receive notifications in real-time and take necessary measures.

The visibility level of DaaS security platforms significantly empowers companies to monitor and pinpoint malicious conduct and practices that could plague their security posture.

ZTNA for Access Control

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) runs on the idea that threats exist both outside and within an organization’s networks every moment. ZTNA solutions grant access only at the application layer on a need-only basis to curtail risk and avoid lateral movement on enterprise networks.

The ZTNA model constantly verifies and monitors users’ identities, privileges and devices during data access or transfer on a private corporate network. This process does not rely on whether the user is inside or outside that network perimeter.

ZTNA masks the connections between business services, devices, and assets. Once the DaaS security system authenticates a user’s identity, ZTNA gives the green signal for access to specific corporate resources via an encrypted channel. The encrypted security adds another layer shielding everything on the other side of the encrypted channel from illicit access.

The entire process blends filtering, analytics, and logging to validate behavior and continually look for signs of compromise. If a device or user, for instance, acts suspiciously, the DaaS security provider monitors and pinpoints it as a potential threat.

This continuous monitoring defeats several common cybersecurity threats. Malicious actors can no longer exploit corporate networks’ weak points and manipulate confidential data and applications later.

DaaS Security: A Quick Fix for Thwarting Digital Trespassing

Managing a remote/hybrid workforce comes with stressful security challenges for a business’s stakeholders. This nudges organizations to take their workloads to the cloud as cybercrime frequency continues to increase.

DaaS security solutions have now become an indispensable attribute of enterprises’ security strategies. Training workforces on best cybersecurity and data management practices does play a crucial role in shielding organizations from threat actors. However, that is only a piece of the puzzle. DaaS platforms help reduce any concerns regarding cybersecurity risks to businesses’ workforces spanning across regions.

The 2020-2021 timeline witnessed Desktop as a Service (DaaS) ascending from a linear evolution to an exponential one as the business economy went virtual. With companies embracing remote and hybrid workplaces, data-native strategies, and global supply chains, the appetite for DaaS-based solutions is only becoming stronger and ever-growing.

These cloud computing technologies are now a cornerstone for organizations looking to work smarter, focus on their core operations, and complete projects faster. From banks’ C-suite shepherding the development of innovative digital banking applications to warehouse managers striving to strip complexity from their transportation and logistics, the use cases for DaaS are limitless.

With highly scalable platforms, on-command computing power, and a more resilient approach to IT expenditure, the cloud has climbed from a budding technology to an integral IT asset. As such, more companies are shifting toward a cloud-first strategy, and as they do, we are likely to observe the following DaaS trends very shortly.

The AI-Cloud Synergy

The confluence of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and its subset, machine learning (ML), will soon gather center stage. AI/ML-enabled platforms consume massive data bandwidth and processing power to process and analyze data. Well-engineered cloud computing technologies make these capabilities considerably more cost-effective than other solutions.

Conversely, AI and ML help organizations glean additional value from the ever-increasing data chunks. From e-commerce brands testing their websites’ performance in real-time to logistics companies assessing their transportation networks’ efficacy, AI/ML enables organizations to make the most of the data and operate better.

Common AI applications, from social media filters to Google searches, happen through the cloud. Additionally, the technology that redirects traffic from data centers to end-user devices and controls storage runs on ML.

What is more, cloud solutions help democratize AI and ML, thus expanding the user base. Consequently, even budget-constraint businesses can leverage the potential of these oft-cited technologies to develop innovative offerings.

Serverless Cloud to Go Mainstream

Serverless computing, also called function-as-a-service (FaaS), takes the burden of infrastructure management and server provisioning off users’ shoulders. Instead, the cloud vendor dynamically manages the underlying infrastructure and allocates computing resources as per the needs of running applications.

A subset of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), serverless cloud particularly benefits companies requiring colossal processing power but in short bursts. Case in point, compiling and running software code.

Serverless computing is a pay-per-use system; companies need not have to squander their money on storage and bandwidth upfront. As such, they can build new applications and utilize greater computing power at a fair price and in less time. Also, old-line organizations can launch new digital services without overwhelming their already-stretched IT crews.

Besides, a serverless cloud helps remove the risk of back-end failures and offers safe sandboxes for coding and innovating. Indeed, the deployment of serverless architecture will soar by about 22% CAGR during 2022-2027.

Hybrid and Multi-cloud to Become the De Facto Strategies

Previously, businesses have had two options while shifting their workloads to the cloud – public or private models. The former was easily accessible and offered pay-as-you-go services, while the latter was more flexible and provided better security for data storage.

Fortunately, hybrid cloud models combine the best of both experiences. According to a report, 8 out of 10 business owners are taking the hybrid approach – melding the potential of both private and public clouds.
Public servers can store a fraction of easily and frequently accessed data through dashboards, tools, and applications. At the same time, private servers can safeguard more confidential or mission-critical assets, which IT admins can track and process using patented applications.

With that considered, organizations are looking to distribute internal processing and storage requirements across multiple cloud platforms, often from numerous providers, based on the use cases. Hence, they are flocking to the multi-cloud environments to use a slew of solutions from different vendors. Empirical evidence suggests that about 90% of companies implement a multi-cloud model.

Cloud Security to Climb up in Businesses’ Agenda

Cybercrimes are already on the rise. On average, a data breach costs US$ 4.35 Mn, a 2.6% increment from the 2021 number. In response, cloud providers are infusing their services with best-in-breed data defenses to address existing issues, including bandwidth constraints and repercussions of sharing data from untrusted devices.

In 2022 and ahead, we will see surging adoption of:

Cloud disaster recovery (Cloud DR): Cloud DR backs up an organization’s critical data on an external cloud server in the event of human-made or natural catastrophes. The cloud-based service creates a standby IT setting that can take charge if the primary infrastructure collapses. It is cost- and time-efficient, benefitting from third-party management – Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Moreover, organizations can change, add, and eliminate data from these external servers when needed without having to scale their IT fabric. Cloud DR is the go-to solution for compute-heavy applications and servers such as massive databases and ERPs.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): SASE is an emerging cybersecurity concept that empowers companies to manage access and connectivity between cloud services, cloud applications, and end-user devices. Businesses armed with SASE benefit from IT security features – firewalls, web filtering, zero-trust architecture (ZTA), and credential theft prevention – all cloud-enabled. In addition, SASE offers users a single sign-on experience across multiple corporate cloud applications while maintaining the most stringent levels of security compliance.

Deploying Applications at the Edge

Edge computing is a novel approach to data processing wherein operations do not occur within a centralized cloud. Instead, it involves creating localized devices or data centers for computation and storage or within the network’s periphery.

This decentralized computing infrastructure reduces latency and boosts application performance. As the enterprise resources and data reside closer to the end user’s device, they can be processed locally, thus saving money as well.

Edge computing is the driving force behind cutting-edge devices, including smartwatches, smartphones, and smart cars, and the interrelation of all the data produced by these solutions.

Nevertheless, most people misunderstand edge computing as a threat to cloud computing even though the technologies complement each other. Organizations utilizing both edge and cloud experience reduced bandwidth usage, near-instant data processing, and decreased volumes of transferred data.

Edge computing is presently one of the hottest topics in boardroom discussions, and its market will only expand going forward. Cloud technology will be an excellent fit for businesses interested in increasing operational efficiency.

Kubernetes-powered Blockchain Networks

Existing public blockchain infrastructure does not deliver adequate data storage and management; hence, incorporating blockchain systems for big data applications becomes challenging.

Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source engine that streamlines the deployment and management of container-based applications. Moreover, the software monitors the performance of new services, enabling organizations to deal with loopholes proactively.

Using K8s for blockchain helps swiftly scale environments and ensures at-length availability with several containers operating for essential services. In addition, the combination promotes service interoperability between companies that are designed differently.

Positioning blockchain networks and their constituents via Kubernetes clusters could soon be the adoption standard. The reason being they address two key obstacles blockchain encounters – its innate intricacy and integration into the current infrastructure.

Massive Outbreak of Cloud Gaming on the Cards

Cloud gaming enables users to stream endless options of video games on remote servers for a fixed monthly charge. Players can play the games on any web-browsing device without having to invest in a costly console. In addition, remote gaming provides a lag-proof experience and hardened security and keeps users from cleaning up their device storage space.

Equipping game streaming technology with cloud computing propels the demand and engagement of multi-players for various games and eliminates existing platform hurdles.

Cloud gaming services, including Google’s Stadia and Amazon Luna, will shape the industry’s course in 2022. Additionally, the onset of Cloud Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) has made headsets more cost-effective and accessible while promoting cloud gaming across multiple verticals. Also, cloud-driven AR and VR will find usage in areas like data visualization and product design engineering.

While e-gaming is yet to achieve its optimal capacity, its fusion with the cloud will ensure the continuous evolution of cloud gaming.

Tracing the Path Forward

The years ahead are an exciting time to work in the IT realm. With DaaS innovation advancing, businesses will have immeasurable opportunities to reinvent their tactics for optimum results.

About 9 of 10 organizations will implement a cloud-native regimen by 2025. Proper execution of digital strategies is not feasible without leveraging cloud-driven architectures. DaaS is the backbone of every digital service and delivery pipeline, including connected automobiles, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Besides, upcoming ultra-fast networks, such as Wi-Fi 6E and 5G, mean more data will be streamed from the cloud, welcoming new sorts of data streaming. From an end-user standpoint, Desktop as a Service effectively makes interconnected technology faster, lighter, and more accessible. It will be a critical driving force in migrating more enterprise workloads to cloud platforms.

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