Something I always mention to clients is that not one cloud fits all company's needs. Also, there should be a concerted effort made to look at what value a company will get by moving to the cloud. It is not a ‘magic bullet’ solution to all your IT pains, and in some cases might cause more problems than it solves. Not all workloads in some industries are conducive to cloud platforms. Having said that, now is the time to look at all the different value propositions there are for moving to the cloud.

One major driver in the COVID-19 landscape is the remote workforce. This has very much been thrust upon most companies, whether they like or not. For most large corporates, this is not so much of a headache, as they have had some type of remote work platform in place for some time. But what about smaller- to medium-sized enterprises? How do they cope with this new normal, and what value can they derive from this change?

There is considerable value that most small/medium enterprises can derive from the cloud, other than moving server workload to the cloud like Backup-as-a-service, or Disaster recovery as-a-service. In this blog, I’ll explore the concept of virtual desktops.

For most small companies, the continuous purchase of new hardware like laptops is not possible, and the cost can be prohibitive. During the recent lockdown, there was a massive surge in the sales of laptops and desktops, which caused major shortages in the supply chain. Also, because of the COVID-19 environment, there has been a massive surge in cybercrime, especially targeting remote workers working on less-than-secure workstations. Many companies are not mature enough from a security compliance perspective, or just not familiar with having employees working remotely.

This is where desktop virtualization comes in. Not only does this enable employees to work remotely more easily, but because it is centralized in the cloud, it is much easier to secure this environment from the typical workstation exploits, through Next Generation Firewalls, centralized patching and antivirus. Other major advantages it gives companies is that the capital expenditure for new hardware refreshes disappears, and becomes a very predictable OPEX expenditure, on a pay-per-use basis. Should companies have to rapidly down or upscale their workforce, they are not left with hardware on their balance sheet waiting to be depreciated.

There are also major advantages that desktop virtualization can offer from the perspective of *data loss prevention, **business continuity planning and Disaster Recovery. Virtual Desktops make each of these much easier to implement and manage.

For companies that have virtualized their desktops, the only major consideration now is networking. This has become a cheap commodity, and should not be a barrier to entry into any type of cloud solution.

*Data loss prevention means preventing potential data breaches/loss of data, detecting and blocking sensitive data while in use, in motion, and at rest. The terms "data loss" and "data leak" are related and are often used interchangeably.

**Business continuity planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company. In addition to prevention, the goal is to enable ongoing operations before and during execution of disaster.