Mobile Devices and the Cloud- Is the Virtual Desktop the Future of IT?
With the rapid development in recent years of mobile devices, the IT world is going through what may be its biggest change since the introduction of the personal computer in 1981. Tablets and smart phones that can connect to the internet from any location that has a signal are overtaking traditional land line internet users, and the internet is also changing to adapt to the new medium. The introduction of 4G wireless connectivity has made it possible for more users to employ cloud computing technology, while the development of Software as a Service (SaaS) has moved the desktop from the device to a corporate server, allowing users to access the same data from multiple devices and different locations.
There has been a lot written about cloud computing and it is thought of as the next step in the evolution of IT. Cloud computing is the delivery of scalable IT services over the internet as an alternative to hosted or locally operated resources. Services can include data or applications that can be used remotely on your tablet or laptop, without being physically installed on the machine. This sort of data sharing is well suited to mobile devices and allows people the flexibility of being able to access the data that they need, on the spot, on a wide variety of devices. The changes that they make to any shared files are then immediately visible to all of the other people in the cloud, making the process more efficient. Another aspect of the cloud that adds efficiency to IT procedures is that because the services and data are all stored on one server, none of the usual duplication of software installation is necessary in order for everyone to be able to access them. This aspect of cloud computing has found its most practical application as the Virtual Desktop.
In order to take advantage of the mobility of devices like tablets and laptops and to cut the cost of keeping hardware up to date, many corporations are now using a Virtual Desktop. This is essentially a Windows desktop that gives users access to all of the company’s software and data that they use in their professional roles. Updates to the OS and other applications need only to be installed on the server where the Virtual Desktop is being hosted, and the information becomes immediately available to all of the client devices. Because all of the processing work is done by the server, and not the client machine, the Virtual Desktop can serve to extend the life of older equipment. It is also possible to block individual machines from the central server so that devices that are lost or stolen can no longer access the desktop.
With the growing trend of employees who want to bring their own devices to work, cloud computing and the Virtual Desktop can be an effective way for businesses to lower their IT costs overall. The reduced maintenance time that comes with only having to maintain a central computer can in itself be a significant cut in costs; especially considering that the alternative may be to make the same changes to multiple machines every time that your anti-virus software is updated, for example. The factor that may see the Virtual Desktop become a standard resource management system is the security that it guarantees for data that can be used and even altered by remote users, but which stays on the company’s servers, rather than an employee’s iPad. With all of the other benefits, the security aspect alone makes this likely to be a large part of the internet in the years to come.