One major challenge most growing businesses face is keeping pace with IT expansion. As more workstations, servers, and devices are needed, infrastructure expenses and management costs may balloon out of control.
The key to IT flexibility is simplification, and one way to achieve this is by implementing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This technology allows you to shift your business away from a device-centered workspace (where your employees are tied to one machine to do their work) to a user-centered one (where employees can see and access the same digital environment regardless of the machine they’re using).
Here’s a look at how virtual desktops work and how they may work for you:
The VDI concept is fairly easy to understand—rather than having a workstation or device with a native
operating system and applications, these things, along with user preferences, and files are stored remotely on a server. When users log in to any PC, tablet, or other device, they see the same “virtual machine” regardless of where they’re working from.
You may have used virtual desktops at a library, university, or other organization that handles a large number of users. No matter which computer you use at a VDI-enabled institution, you have access to the same operating system, applications, and files.
How It Can Help Small Businesses
VDI tackles a number of common small business IT problems:
- Management complexity – Rather than having to take the time to update and patch each computer individually, IT managers can push changes through all at once.
- Bring your own device – Employees can log in to the device they choose without losing access to important files and programs.
- Mobile productivity – Virtual desktops make it easier for employees to work at home or on the go.
- Security – Data is easier to secure since it is centralized. You won’t need to worry if employees lose a laptop, for instance, since no information was ever directly stored on that machine.
- Disaster recovery – VDI can help your company get up-and-running again quickly after an emergency since employees still have access to their workstation environments and files.
- Infrastructure costs – Virtual, or “thin,” clients are generally less expensive to purchase and maintain than full workstations.
Companies that have implemented VDI report the following results:
- 11% reduction in desktop support spending
- 20% reduction in time spent on routine maintenance
- 23% reduction in desktop downtime
- 73% reduction in average recovery time
Virtual desktop infrastructure is not right for every small business. There are some upfront costs to this technology, and you may not see an immediate return on investment. Where most companies see a benefit is in reduced administration time and costs.
Are you using VDI or a similar technology in your small business? Share your thoughts in the comments.