Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS): when traditional security just won’t cut it

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Destkop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is on the rise in terms of adoption and maturation. You just have to look at some of the media articles flying around to see that this movement is gathering steam. Cloud computing is eliminating the entire on-premise conundrums – cost, maintenance, etc. Choose a platform vendor, anyone… VMware, Citrix, Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, and you’ll find the expansion of elasticity is happening fast.  

In early May 2014, Amazon launched its Workspaces DaaS in Europe. Microsoft recently debuted its upcoming offering, RemoteApp At Citrix Synergy 2014, announcements about Workspace Services got a lot of people excited. The challenge is now keeping up with who is getting into the DaaS business. In the past few weeks alone the following companies announced their DaaS services: RapidScale, IndependenceIT, NComputing, Proxios, and the list goes on. 

The market opportunity for DaaS

There is no doubt of an upward trend. Gartner estimated that by 2016, 25% of midsize enterprises will move from desktop virtualization to DaaS to cover about a third of their hosted desktop users. Hosting companies and MSPs alike are jumping on this market opportunity. Who wouldn’t? When you do the math, this expected growth in midsize enterprise adoption is very compelling. 


With anything comes worry

But like anything cloud-based, worries abound: reliability, accessibility, data security, etc. And more importantly, this is truly NOT an on-premise situation anymore. So here’s a thought… please do not tell me that hosting companies and MSPs are using traditional on-premise security solutions for DaaS. Say it isn’t so!

Traditional security performance and licensing can really become cost-prohibitive for DaaS offerings if not considered carefully. Think about it for a minute. Yearly, per-user licensing – is it scalable? Not when DaaS is built to provide desktops on-demand; the number of running desktops at any given time can be anyone’s guess, and not having to nail-down a number is exactly one of the primary benefits of DaaS! Traditional endpoint security in a virtualized environment – small footprint per-VM? Ummm, nope. Good performance with a full agent in each VM? Not a chance! 

Careful consideration

Getting into the business of using or providing DaaS, companies need to consider things very carefully. Organizations turn to the cloud for a reason – cost, performance efficiency, scalability, and flexibility based on huge infrastructures. Some have questioned the cost effectiveness of DaaS vs VDI (the on-premise cousin).

And without question, one of the effective ways to manage the costs is by using security built specifically for the agile and scalable environments of cloud-based offerings. So, when it comes to security, what are the host providers and MSPs doing, exactly? Well that’s the million dollar question you need to ask.

Some are analyzing this issue very sensibly. Take, for example,, a Florida-based web hosting company and a committed VMware customer that delivers its DaaS offering to many customers throughout the Southern US market.

In business since 1998, many organizations rely on to provide essential services from co-located hosting to disaster recovery and much more. In 2013, they launched their DaaS offering. When they began the search for the right security to integrate with their DaaS offering, they wanted:

  • Top security protection and performance in a virtualized environment

  • The smallest security footprint possible

  • And the most scalable security solution – both in performance and licensing. 

And they did find it. But not without some in-depth scrutiny.

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