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The Year Ahead: 4 IT Trends Converging on Growing Interest in Virtual Desktops

IT teams have had a challenging time these past few years implementing and maintaining secure remote access at scale while serving the rapidly changing needs of the in-office, remote and hybrid workforces. With more hybrid work models now than ever, remote access to company applications and data has become essential to each employee and is extremely important to the organization’s operations and overall success.  

Companies who have not adopted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) to address the above needs may very likely still be considering it. Interest in it has increased, with Gartner’s latest projection forecasting that the number of users for DaaS will grow by over 150% between 2020 and 2023.  

We continue to see four IT trends that bring VDI and its relevance back to the forefront of conversations around how to enable remote work, digital transformation and cloud initiatives. These are detailed below in addition to the perspective on the outlook for VDI as a whole and important considerations for widespread adoption.  

Growing Acceptance of DaaS 

Although it’s been suffering from a prolonged love-hate relationship, we will see even more IT professionals and teams embrace desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) for its scalability. As we learned through the transition to remote and hybrid work environments, on-premises desktop virtualization is very difficult to scale and remains inflexible. Cloud-based DaaS empowers organizations with all the tools and capabilities they need to provide hybrid work for employees due to its infinite scalability and low price point. 

Employee User Experience Takes Center Stage 

The prioritization of workplace flexibility and the expansion of hybrid work models has led to more work being conducted remotely than ever before. Therefore, the delivery of a seamless and consistent user experience (e.g. performance) is paramount in an organization’s success in 2022. How can this be accomplished? Enterprises will transition to a cloud-based desktop virtualization where proactively solving end-user experience problems with various tools will be vital as IT staffing and skills shortages continue. 

Unified User and Device Management (through Microsoft)  

Due to the proliferation and sheer amount of endpoints organizations have to manage, many IT teams seek out ways to bring more order amongst the chaos. The solution? Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Intune) and MSIX App Attach. As more organizations seek a simple yet powerful endpoint management solution for their various devices and cloud PCs, Microsoft Endpoint Manager will continue to flourish. 

Security Fears Persist 

Increased remote work brings concerns about home networks and unprotected endpoints releasing unvetted data into the corporate network. Other nefarious technologies like keyloggers and network sniffers could be running externally and be perceived as a threat to the organization if introduced to the network from work-from-home employees.  

Security best practices, like Zero Trust, proper backup and disaster recovery planning and MFA, will help assuage these concerns. Another way to protect important corporate data would be through cloud-based desktop virtualization as it can reduce the surface area of attack and give IT administrators full control of the data and prevent leakage to user’s personal devices. 

This is Just the Beginning 

I’m incredibly excited about the year ahead and the momentum we’re seeing behind desktop virtualization. Nevertheless, there will be obstacles facing more widespread virtualization adoption including cost, deployment fears, and security threats. 

  • Cost Concerns – In order to make virtual desktops in the cloud the norm, we must address cost. Utility pricing with the public cloud will make VDI more intriguing to enterprises with highly skilled, technical staff to manage and optimize it. Tools that can precisely match user demands to infrastructure consumption to take advantage of this utility pricing model will be critical to spur mass market adoption. 
  • Deployment Fears – To address deployment fears, systems integrators with end user computing (EUC) will continue to be important in the adoption of desktop virtualization in 2022. Systems integrators will help bridge the gap of market need and technical complexity as this technology requires specialized skills to deploy and manage. In time, more automated tools for deployment, management and optimization will be in place to grow the market further and reduce complexity for remote work capabilities. 
  • Security Threats – Lastly, it will be important for all IT teams to operationalize access control and best security practices at the endpoint device level. Managing end-user devices in work-from-home (WFH) environments will continue to be a challenge while security exposure is high and performance is difficult to monitor and maintain. Luckily, moving the processing and data to the cloud with desktop virtualization is going to be one of the solutions. 

Curious about discussing the trends above and how they may impact your organization or virtual desktop needs in 2022? Our team is just as enthusiastic as I am in empowering desktop virtualization in Azure and our experts are always happy to connect! 

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