Pros and Cons of Hosted Cloud Desktops: Here are Experts' Opinions

(Credit: Pros and Cons of Hosted Cloud Desktops: Here are Experts' Opinions ) Pros and Cons of Hosted Cloud Desktops: Here are Experts' Opinions
February 8
4:04 PM 2021

The popularity of desktop virtualization is growing as more organizations take advantage of affordable and secure solutions. Users enjoy access to dedicated desktops outside of their PCs. This flexibility level eliminates the need to use a particular physical computer to access toolbars, applications, personal folders, and widgets.

A user's data is accessible via a hosted central cloud server. The unique desktop environment can work well with any computing device or workstation, allowing users to access critical information and tools in any location.

However, hosted cloud desktops come with pros and cons. Recently, we asked IT specialists to share their views on the benefits, pitfalls, and expert recommendations on this topic. Here is what they had to say.

What Are the Benefits of Hosted Cloud Desktops in 2021?

According to Alexander Freund of 4IT Inc., the coronavirus health crisis highlighted the benefits of cloud-hosted desktops for businesses of varying sizes. Teams leverage high levels of flexibility to work from home or the office without worrying about moving around with their personal computers. Organizations can support the remote workforce's IT needs more effectively.

For Mark Hicks of Mathe, Inc., the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) include mobility, uniformity, and security.

Businesses that adopt VDI help employees set up remote workstations more conveniently, thanks to the uniformity. Employees no longer load and configure apps, folders, toolbars, and widgets on separate computers when working remotely. Hicks also highlighted mobility, enabling professionals to continue working remotely, even when the internet connection is spotty. VDI solutions use minimal bandwidth.

Michael Anderson of 365 Technologies highlighted the importance of standardization and bolstering corporate control over an organization's desktop environment. VDI improves a company's ability to enhance control and ensure standardization without compromising flexibility in terms of users' hardware options.

Anderson also stressed the importance of hosted cloud desktops in maximizing security and convenience. Troy Drever of Pure IT agreed with Anderson on key benefits like improved security, flexibility, and standardization. The IT expert also pointed out the advantage of adding new users to the desktop environment quickly and easily.

Drever is a proponent of virtual desktop infrastructure because it reduces the total cost of ownership due to minimal maintenance expenses.

Are You Recommending Cloud Desktops to Clients?

Mathe Inc. has been recommending the solution for over two decades. The firm's IT professionals understand the need to safeguard organizations' sensitive information, particularly when dealing with the remote workforce. Experts recommend hosted cloud desktops for remote teams as a practical way to bolster control by managing software installs and updates.

Network Security Associates, Inc. is another firm recommending cloud desktops to clients. The firm's Technical Operations Manager, Cameron Call, said the technology decouples the workforce from physical computers. Hence, companies can let personnel work from any location using a wide selection of devices. He highlighted the role played by the solution in easing workload pressures during tax season for accountants.

Another information technology expert who echoed Troy Drever's views is Ian Hansen of Philantech3. He singled out cost savings as a significant reason to encourage businesses to consider deploying hosted cloud desktops. Hansen said companies enjoy reduced costs while boosting scalability.

Conversely, Freund of 4IT and Ilan Sredni of Palindrome Consulting expressed reservations regarding recommending VDI to clients. Freund noted that 4IT's client base does not benefit from cloud desktops due to cost considerations.

He explained that costs could reach $250,000 per desktop monthly in the managed service provider (MSP) space. This figure translates to an unsustainable amount compared to well-managed PCs operating on a standardized stack.

IT experts at Palindrome Consulting find VDI impractical for their client base since most professionals regularly work offline and in planes while on the go. Sredni argued that cloud desktops do not support these needs. On the other hand, he noted that the technology is useful from an IT service provider perspective.

What Are the Potential Pitfalls?

Although cloud desktops bring many benefits for companies, decision-makers need to consider the potential pitfalls of implementing cloud desktops. As mentioned by Freund, the solution is not a one-size-fits-all option. It may not provide benefits to some businesses.

According to Troy Drever, companies should take into account factors like graphics and audio requirements. Additional considerations include whether the workforce needs to communicate via platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. If an organization uses audio, heavy graphics, and video conferencing apps, the costs of deploying VDI outstrip the benefits.

Drever recommends implementing a hybrid environment that allows organizations to host heavy apps on physical computers and other applications in the cloud. This modern workspace approach is increasingly becoming popular as companies shift focus to remote work.

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