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Desktop-as-a-Service: New Opportunities for the Channel

By Robert Krauss on Jun 03, 2014 | 0 Comments

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), yet another “as-a-service” offering made possible by the cloud, continues to gain momentum in the market. As a VAR or managed services provider, you can tap into this opportunity, not only by providing DaaS offerings to your customers, but by ensuring that these platforms are as secure as possible. 

As with most buzzwords in the IT industry, DaaS can mean different things to different people. But basically this type of service involves providing remote desktop virtualization to devices via cloud computing, much like applications are delivered through software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. 

Oftentimes a DaaS provider is responsible for hosting and maintaining the computing, storage and data access infrastructure, in addition to applications and software licenses needed for the desktop service - for a monthly fee. DaaS can be provided to customers through all three main types of cloud platforms: private, public and hybrid. 

Some of the leading IT vendors and cloud providers have jumped into the DaaS fray or are planning to launch services. Among the offerings currently available are VMware’s Horizon DaaS, Citrix’ Workspace Services, Dell’s Workspace-as-a-Service, Amazon’s WorkSpaces, Cisco’s Desktop as a Service and Microsoft’s Azure RemoteApp. 

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Several factors are driving the demand for DaaS offerings, or at least getting enterprises and smaller businesses alike to think about deploying these types of services. 

 

For one thing, a growing number of organizations are building cloud infrastructures, whether it’s through private clouds, public services or a mix of the two. More companies are familiar with the cloud and are comfortable with moving critical infrastructure components to cloud-based environments. 

In addition, if a company is already deploying a cloud offering such as infrastructure-as-a-service, it can consider using the same cloud partner to provide virtual desktops, so that they are hosted in the same data center as other resources. 

 

Another factor is the fast-growing trend of mobile devices in the workplace, whether it’s through bring-your-device programs or company-issued products. Adding hundreds and even thousands of mobile devices within an enterprise means there are all the more “desktops” to manage, which means higher costs. Using DaaS and virtualization can be a more cost-effective option that also helps organizations deliver more efficient data access to users. 

And that leads into another reason for businesses to consider DaaS. Mobile workers today expect to have access to data and the corporate network regardless of their location. DaaS can provide the flexibility users want and need when it comes to the modern desktop. 

 

DaaS also gives organizations another effective component in their disaster recovery and business continuity strategy. Virtual desktops can be quickly provisioned and scaled in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

So for VARs and managed services providers, there’s clearly an opportunity to provide DaaS offerings and consulting to their clients. What’s more, these services can appeal to any sized company and in virtually any industry. 

 

Another key opportunity for the channel is delivering a secure DaaS environment. Some of the vendor offerings come with security options. For example, Amazon’s WorkSpaces enables customers to launch the DaaS with anti-virus software pre-installed. And VMware’s Horizon DaaS has built-in security capabilities such as secure point-to-point network connectivity and network isolation. 

But not all of the platforms being offered come with security provisions baked in, so there is the potential for resellers and managed service providers to tap into this market. 

While vendors are touting the potential benefits of DaaS, surely your customers will be wondering just how secure these newer offerings will be. Although cloud providers are making huge strides in improving the security and reliability of their hosted environments, there are still lingering concerns among many organizations about the risks of placing their critical business data or key components such as desktops into the hands of outside service providers. 

According to a new report from Forrester Research, security and risk professionals remain unprepared to address virtualization and cloud security risks. 

If you’re standing by watching the rapid growth of the DaaS market as a spectator, you’re missing out on an opportunity for potential revenue growth. The adoption of these platforms will likely continue as organizations look to deliver the most current desktop experience to users in virtually any location. 

Clearly a lot of vendors are banking on DaaS being “the next big thing” in the rapidly evolving cloud services market. For resellers and managed services providers, this trend represents an opportunity to help customers deploy and maintain a DaaS environment and make sure that these virtual desktops are being used in a secure way.

Download Solution Paper: "The 6 Most Important  Things to Know about VDI/DaaS Security"

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Author: Robert Krauss

Robert Krauss is Director, Strategic Alliances at Bitdefender. He is responsible for managing strategic alliances with key vendors in the cloud and virtualization market including VMware, Citrix, Microsoft & Amazon Web Services (AWS). Before joining Bitdefender, Mr. Krauss was involved in various technology alliances, enterprise sales and marketing positions within the IT security industry, including Trend Micro, Truviso, Mimeo, Tumbleweed Communications, Novell, and SoftSolution.