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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.

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.

You probably know that moving your workloads into a cloud can help to decrease costs, increase agility, simplify deployment, and enhance security.

But did you know that you can double down on these benefits by leveraging not just one, but multiple, cloud data centers at the same time as part of a multi-cloud strategy?

If not, this blog’s for you. Keep reading as we unpack the benefits of pivoting to a distributed multi-cloud architecture that gives businesses the ability to spread workloads across as many data centers as they wish, thereby getting even more value from the cloud.

What is a multi-cloud strategy, and why does it matter?

A multi-cloud strategy is any approach to cloud computing that involves using more than one cloud at once. Under a multi-cloud architecture, you could use two or more public clouds (like AWS and Azure). Or you could pair a public cloud with a private cloud that you host in your own data center.

Multi-cloud strategies offer a variety of benefits:

  • Cost-savings: By allowing businesses to choose from a wider selection of cloud vendors and services, multi-cloud helps them achieve the best tradeoff between price and features. In 85 percent of cases, multi-cloud ends up being less expensive than other types of cloud architectures.
  • Reliability: Using multiple clouds at once increases workload reliability and availability because it ensures that some of your workloads will remain available if one of your clouds fails.
  • Agility: The more clouds you have in the mix, the more flexibility you’ll enjoy about where and how to run workloads.

According to Forbes, more than 90 percent of large businesses currently use some kind of multi-cloud architecture.

The importance of multiple data centers within multi-cloud

Importantly, not all multi-cloud strategies necessarily involve distributing workloads across multiple data centers at once.

In some cases, going multi-cloud simply means that you host some workloads in one cloud, while placing other, separate workloads in a different cloud. You could host some of your applications on AWS, for instance, while others run in Azure.

That’s why we draw a distinction between multi-cloud computing in general, and multi-cloud architectures that involve hosting the same workloads within multiple data centers simultaneously.

The latter approach to multi-cloud means that different instances of a given workload are hosted in different cloud data centers at the same time. You could do this by, for example, deploying one set of virtual machines as EC2 instances in the AWS cloud, while simultaneously hosting a set of the same VMs in Azure Virtual Machines.

How multiple data centers bring even more value to multi-cloud


Any type of multi-cloud architecture delivers benefits like increased agility, enhanced reliability, and cost savings.

However, for most workloads, choosing a multi-cloud strategy that distributes workloads across data centers unlocks the greatest potential of multi-cloud. This is true for several reasons:

  • Multiple data centers maximize reliability: If you host one workload in one cloud and another in a different cloud, one workload will fail if the cloud hosting it goes down. But if you host redundant instances of the workload in both clouds, it will remain available in the event of one cloud’s failure.
  • Easily migrate between clouds: When you provision multiple data centers to host the same workload, you can quickly scale the workload up or down in each data center because it’s already configured to run there. It would take much more time to migrate a workload from scratch from one data center to the other; for example, you can’t instantly lift-and-shift an EC2 instance into Azure Virtual Machines.
  • Rapid deployment: Along similar lines, having multiple data centers already ready to go can speed the deployment of new workloads of a similar type. If you’ve already set up EC2 or Azure Virtual Machines to host one type of VM, for example, chances are that you can launch a second VM on both services quickly because you will already have the configurations in place for networking, storage and so on.
  • Tighter security: One of the major challenges of multi-cloud is that it is hard to configure Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies properly when your team has to work with multiple IAM frameworks in order to move a workload from one cloud to another. (This is why more than half of IT leaders report security as a barrier to adopting multi-cloud.) However, if your workload is already provisioned for multiple data centers, you’ll have IAM policies ready to go for all of them, reducing the risk of introducing security issues during a rapid migration from one data center into another.

The bottom line: Although distributing workloads across multiple data centers is not the only way to implement a multi-cloud strategy, it offers maximum benefits in many respects. That’s an important point to keep in mind in a world where 78 percent of IT leaders still believe their organizations have work to do to optimize their multi-cloud strategies and operations.



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.

You may not think of your company’s desktop computers as the weakest link in your environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.

But for some companies, they are. In multiple ways, desktop PCs contribute to bloated carbon footprints, undercut sustainability initiatives, and reinforce global social inequality.

That’s yet another reason why businesses can benefit from desktop-as-a-service, or DaaS, which may significantly reduce the environmental and social impact of their end-user computing infrastructure. ESG priorities have been receiving growing attention from enterprises globally. In fact, earlier this year, Gartner reported that “more than 90% of organizations increased their investments in sustainability programs since the start of the pandemic”.

Here’s how DaaS does this – and why achieving ESG goals through DaaS is an essential step toward business success.

The sustainability impact of desktop PCs

Desktop computers undercut ESG priorities in two main ways: by increasing emissions and contributing to e-waste.

CO2 Emissions
PCs increase carbon emissions due to the electricity they consume. Since that electricity is more likely than not generated using coal or natural gas, a typical desktop computer can dump as much as 1,500 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere every year if it’s left on continuously – as many corporate desktops are because employees don’t want to have to wait for devices to restart or open back all of their apps on a recurring basis. It would take between 100 and 500 trees to offset those emissions.

And we’re talking here about a single computer. If you run hundreds or thousands of PCs, you’d need an entire forest to make up for the emissions they produce.

E-waste
PCs and laptops can also be a nightmare from an e-waste perspective. Businesses routinely dispose of computing devices when the devices become unable to handle increased workload requirements. Devices may also be tossed because the company downsized, and it no longer needs as many computers.

When devices end up in dumps, the various chemicals inside them – which may include lead and arsenic, among others – leach into the ground, polluting the environment. That’s the opposite of what your business wants to do if it cares about ESG.

The fact that significant amounts of e-waste end up in developing countries is also a problem from an ESG perspective. Discarded desktops turn into poisonous trash on the doorsteps of some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

How DaaS strengthens ESG commitments

Imagine a world where businesses no longer depended on fleets of energy-hungry, landfill-bound PCs to keep their workers productive. Such a world would involve significantly fewer emissions and a lot less e-waste.

Fortunately, that world is possible. By embracing DaaS, businesses can replace traditional PCs with virtual desktop environments that have a lower overall carbon footprint and that generate much less e-waste.

With DaaS, there’s no need to keep local PCs running (and contributing to carbon emissions) 24/7. Instead, employees can log into virtual desktop sessions when they need and shut off their local devices when they are done. In the meantime, the desktop sessions remain stored in the cloud, with no need to reboot the next time employees need to access applications or data.

DaaS also makes it easy for businesses to scale desktop computing infrastructure up and down without contributing to e-waste. If your company no longer needs as many desktops, it can simply turn off some of its virtual desktops, without throwing out any physical devices.

And if you find that your virtual desktops are no longer able to handle a particular kind of workload well, you don’t need to toss them in a dump and buy new machines. You can simply increase the virtual CPU and memory allocated to your virtual desktop instances in order to prepare them for heavier load.

Does DaaS have a sustainability cost?

To be sure, DaaS doesn’t totally eliminate emissions or e-waste. Electricity is required to run the servers that host virtual desktop instances, and employees need some kind of device to connect from when they want to access those instances.

Compared to traditional desktop infrastructure, however, virtual desktops are significantly less wasteful from a sustainability perspective, for several reasons:

  • Economies of scale: You can run dozens of virtual desktops on a single server, which greatly reduces that amount of physical infrastructure required to power virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • Cloud energy efficiency: In many cases, virtual desktops hosted in the cloud consume much less energy than devices running locally. The cloud is about 93 percent more energy-efficient than conventional infrastructure.
  • Clean energy sourcing: It’s also often easier to source clean, renewable energy for cloud-based infrastructure, including servers that host virtual desktops. Your company’s office may not be able to obtain clean energy, but there’s a decent chance that your cloud data center is powered, at least in part, by wind or solar energy.
  • Longer device lifetime: The devices that users use to connect to virtual desktops are likely to last longer because the devices don’t have to handle computing requirements locally. The “heavy lifting” takes place on cloud servers, which are designed to tolerate sustained periods of intense use.

In each of these ways, DaaS helps businesses achieve ambitious ESG goals – which is an increasingly important consideration for business success.

The Gartner report also points out that hyperscalers are actively investing in sustainable cloud operations with the lofty aim of achieving net zero emissions within this decade. Which means that we can look forward to innovative means to reduce carbon emissions through the effective use of cloud services.

How Anunta adds value to our clients’ ESG commitments

As an industry leader in Managed DaaS for over a decade, Anunta has been successfully adding value to the ESG commitments of our clients. In our engagements with the customers, we have helped them eliminate their dependency on high-end physical desktops – which require regular maintenance and updates – and replaced them with thin clients, thereby helping with power saving and reducing electronic device wastage.

The reduction in electronic waste along with the subsequent power saving have directly contributed to a significant reduction in our clients’ carbon footprint in our 10+ years engagements.

Migrating our customers’ workloads from on-premises to cloud is another area which positively contributes to our ESG commitments. By helping our customers leverage the energy efficiency offered by cloud, Anunta has been consistently helping its customers embrace sustainability.

Conclusion

Conventional PCs are a major source of waste and a contributor to global social inequity. But a better world is possible: With help from DaaS, businesses can build end-user computing environments that mesh well with ESG priorities.

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.

Businesses want employees to be productive and happy, which is part of the reason why organizations across the world have embraced remote and hybrid work.

But businesses also want to protect against cybersecurity risks. And unfortunately, that goal is often at odds with remote and hybrid work.

How can companies square this circle? In other words, how can they ensure that employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere, while also enforcing strong cybersecurity postures?

The answer is desktop virtualization. Virtual desktops deliver the flexibility that businesses need to operationalize remote and hybrid work, while also making it easy for IT teams to protect against the security threats that plague distributed workforces.

Why remote work breeds cybercrime

To understand why, let’s first examine how remote and hybrid work increase the security challenges that businesses face.

According to Verizon’s 2022 Mobile Security Index, nearly 80 percent of respondents report that recent changes to working practices – which include the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work models – have adversely affected their organizations’ cybersecurity postures.

The main reasons why include:

  • Remote work makes it hard to guarantee the physical security of devices that may store sensitive business data. Attackers could steal the devices themselves to exfiltrate private information from the business.
  • Remote devices can’t be protected behind firewalls and VPNs in the same way as devices that are located on-site.
  • IT teams can’t easily monitor, patch and update remote devices in order to stay on top of security threats.
  • Remote devices often connect to business systems through insecure home networks.
  • Employees may inadvertently install malware or vulnerable applications on devices that they use when working remotely, especially if they use the devices for personal reasons in addition to working.

In short, when workers are off-site some or all of the time, it’s simply not possible to deploy the same security protections that work for on-site employees and devices.

How desktop virtualization secures modern workforces

Faced with challenges like these, some business leaders may be tempted to pull the plug on remote work policies and force everyone back in the office.

But that’s not practical in many cases. As the Harvard Business Review points out, businesses gain a variety of benefits from allowing remote and hybrid work – such as reduced real estate costs, higher employee retention rates and even increased profits.

So, instead of abandoning remote work, companies need to find ways to embrace the “new normal” of working without compromising on security. And the obvious solution is desktop virtualization.

Desktop virtualization means replacing conventional desktop computers with virtual desktop sessions hosted on servers inside a business’s data center or a public cloud. Employees can connect to these sessions from anywhere, at any time, so they get all of the flexibility that they need to work remotely.

At the same time, however, desktop virtualization plugs the most serious security gaps associated with remote work. Virtual desktops can be protected with firewalls and operated in such a way that sensitive data never leaves the virtual desktop infrastructure – so it is never at risk of physical security breaches.

In addition, desktop virtualization allows for rigid isolation between employees’ personal computing resources and business resources. Instead of mixing personal apps with business apps, virtual desktops keep business applications isolated inside the virtual desktop environment, so that malware or other threats present on local devices are essentially a non-issue from a business security perspective.

The fact that IT teams can continuously monitor virtual desktops and patch them in real time to address security threats adds yet another layer of protection for remote workers. Businesses don’t need to worry that attackers will take advantage of unmonitored, un-updated remote PCs to gain a beachhead from which they can launch further attacks against a business.

Protecting traditional PCs as well as mobile devices

The security advantages of desktop virtualization apply, by the way, regardless of which types of devices employees use when working remotely. Whether they log in from their own PCs, company-supplied laptops, or even mobile phones, they connect to secure virtual desktop environments.

That means that desktop virtualization gives employees the freedom to connect from any device they choose, while still allowing employers to enforce strong security policies.

Access controls like multifactor authentication, geofencing, and whitelisting of devices secure devices in a hybrid work environment while enforcing network controls like firewall with IPS & IDS protection further secure corporate data from bad actors.

Desktop virtualization also allows setting of desktop-level controls like Active Directory integration of authentication and Group Policy Objects (GPO)-based restrictions on virtual desktops.

Conclusion

In short, desktop virtualization provides the best of both worlds: The flexibility that employees expect from the “new way of working” and the cybersecurity protections that businesses need to keep critical applications and data secure. For many companies, there’s no going back to the old days of having everyone in the office, all of the time, which is why desktop virtualization has assumed an absolutely vital role in business success.

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