Hosted Desktops are, by nature, cheaper than conventional desktops. You don’t even have to be anywhere near a desktop computer to use one either, you can use a virtual desktop from anywhere in the world from practically any device. They can still offer the same level of features, even though they are hosted in the cloud, and can provide a flexible and reliable computing experience. But when it comes down to cost and value for money, the glitz and glamour used to pull you in, it starts to get a little bit hazier…
Now would be a good time to throw in that old cliché “You get what you pay for”. Yes, a virtual desktop can reduce your IT expenditure but it only does so if you understand where the money goes. To understand that, we’ll dissect a hosted desktop and tell you where your money goes. Remember that value isn’t the price, it’s what you get for the price – add-ons, features, bonuses etc.
Firstly, the money goes onto the desktop itself. Imagine buying a blank computer from a shop and that’s what you have – but in the cloud. You buy a computer with a certain amount of storage, a processor speed and an amount of RAM. In some cases you can even have a dedicated video card for 3D intense applications. You usually get firewall and anti-virus protection as standard.
But you don’t just want a blank desktop. You want one with apps like Microsoft Office or maybe even specialist software such as Sage, right? Sure, if you don’t need all the extra “trimmings” then you could just invest in a bare-boned virtual desktop and install basic applications such as Mozilla Firefox. It is important to understand what your business needs in terms of mission critical software. If you use specialist applications that you require then it is important to implement these inside the virtual desktop from the start.
Along with the ability to store applications in the virtual desktop, you also have the option to back up the data that is stored. This can, again, cost you a little extra though it’s very rarely enough to make a significant difference to the end total cost.
You pay for the data you use rather than the amount of empty disk space you have. Let’s say you have a 500GB hard drive but you only use about 150GB, you’d only have to pay for the data that you used. To put it in basic terms, you pay for data rent rather than the entire size of the hard drive.
One of the biggest factors to be aware of is support. Sure, a bare-bone virtual desktop can be useful but what’s the point if there isn’t any support? What happens if you encounter a problem with your service? You can’t contact your IT department to fix something that’s managed in a different location. With a hosted desktop, or with any service hosted or otherwise, you must rely on a datacentre to ensure both the reliability of the service as well as things like data integrity and software support if anything goes wrong. Luckily, with a lot of packages and flexible packages tailored to your business, you can have support included at little or no extra cost.
With some vendors you can get “freebies”. This could be free included applications that come as standard such as Microsoft Office and Outlook, Office 365, a free Hosted Exchange mailbox, free anti-virus and firewall protection or free backup. It depends which provider you choose; some offer a range of packages which you can buy which include a range of features while others are built up from scratch to meet your business needs.
Virtual desktops have plenty of other nifty features such as isolation, privilege elevation and the flexibility of a multi-tenant environment without compromising on the performance. You can limit users and dedicate storage for them if you desire. These features can cost extra but remember, you may not need them. Not every business model is the same and different business models have different IT requirements. But that doesn’t mean that a hosted desktop cannot fulfil the needs.
In reality, it’s all about what you need. You may be just fine with a blank hosted desktop or you may need something a little more. Whatever you need, we can help you get the best experience possible. Whether you have a laptop that doesn’t have the application you need or just a smartphone – you will always have access to your mission critical data and applications so that you can get the job done from wherever you are.
Check out our hosted desktop guide to find out how you could benefit with a desktop in the cloud.