An Introduction to Azure Virtual Desktop

For businesses to succeed today, it is vital that they implement remote working strategies for their staff. But they can’t just introduce any remote strategies – there needs to be a focus on security. And if they can reduce infrastructure costs at the same time, then that’s a bonus.

One way of doing this is by using virtual desktop infrastructure. Users can access a virtual desktop remotely, from a PC, tablet or mobile. It’s connected to the host server via a connection broker – a software layer that acts as the intermediary between user and server. Virtual desktops are deployed and managed by an organisation’s IT team, and can be hosted in the Cloud or on-premise. Cloud-based virtual desktop environments can help reduce infrastructure costs.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop runs on Microsoft Azure. It can be accessed from any device, with applications you can use to access remote desktops and applications, such as multi-session Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 Apps. Azure Virtual Desktop is easier to deploy than traditional remote desktop services or virtual desktop infrastructure. It doesn’t require provision or management of servers and server roles.

Using a personal laptop, the Windows 10 operating system doesn’t run directly on the device. Instead, it accesses it via Azure. A user will have their regular personal applications and company applications deployed to their virtual environment. If one of the virtual apps is Microsoft Word, the icon that displays will be slightly different – with a Azure Virtual Desktop logo visible. That way, it’s easier to see which are business apps and which are personal apps.

Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop

User Experience

Azure Virtual Desktop offers full Windows 10, Windows Server desktop and app virtualisation, with Teams and Office application integration, so users can stay connected and productive with a desktop experience they’re used to.

Azure supports the most regions of any Cloud provider, over 60 regions worldwide. As a result, you can have desktops close to users’ locations to establish a fast connection. Again, users can stay productive without long load times.

On sign-in to the virtual environment, the user profile container is dynamically attached to the computing environment. The profile is available immediately and appears on the system exactly like a local user would.

Improved Security

Data and applications are separated from local hardware, and are run on a remote server. This reduces the risk of important company data being left on a personal device. It also isolates user sessions in both single and multi-session environments. This provides better security than a VPN because it doesn’t give users access to a full subnet.

Azure Virtual Desktop uses reverse connect technology to provide a more secure connection type to traditional remote desktop protocol. There’s no need to open inbound ports to the session host VMs.

Because it runs on Azure, Azure Virtual Desktop uses industry leading security and compliance offering to protect user data. Security solutions include Azure Security Centre and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This helps protect your infrastructure and Azure Active Directory allows you to enable conditional access policies and role-based access control.

Simplified Deployment and Management

Azure Virtual Desktop manages he entire virtual desktop infrastructure, so your IT can focus on the user, apps and operating system images needed.

Since it’s in the Cloud, it is scalable to suit your business needs. It can provide tools to automatically provision additional VMs when an incoming demand exceeds a specified threshold.

You’ll get access to other monitoring services, such as Azure Monitor, which allows admins to identify issues and get alerted through a single interface; and Azure Service Health, which provides personalised guidance to help mitigate downtime and prepare for planned maintenance.

Reduce Infrastructure costs

Regularly upgrading your infrastructure can be expensive. But with a Azure Virtual Desktop environment, you can reduce spend on infrastructure by making the most of its cloud capabilities – where you only need to pay for what you use.

With the multi session capability of Windows 10 you can have multiple users connected at the same time to maximise your virtual machine utilisation. It offers flexibility so you can have the virtual machine like and tweak it to suit your business needs.

Azure virtual desktop offers a number of great benefits to your business such as allowing for more secure remote working for your end users, quicker deployment and simplified it management, with reduced licencing and infrastructure costs.

If you are interested in sitting up a Azure Virtual Desktop environment for your staff, get in touch with ACUTEC today.

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