A hosted desktop is essentially a Windows desktop operating system that you can access via the internet. This hosted desktop appears and performs the same as a Windows operating system on a PC. You can do almost everything on a hosted desktop that you can do on a Windows PC, including install and use programs like Microsoft Word and Excel, surf the internet with a web browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox, read and send emails from an email client like Microsoft Outlook, and save and open files like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. All of your programs and files are saved for you when you log out and will still be there when you log back in.
The advantages of hosted desktops over the standard Windows operating systems on PCs include increased accessibility (you can access them from anywhere you have internet access and from a variety of devices, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones), increased data security, and lower IT costs.
With hosted desktops or Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS), a hosting company provides hosted virtual desktops to its clients for a fee. Virtual desktops are IT solutions that appear and perform the same as locally-installed desktop operating systems. Rather than being installed on the machine of the user, however, virtual desktops are hosted on a server, and the user accesses and controls them via a network. Businesses that want virtual desktops can either sign up for Desktops-as-a-Service or host the virtual desktops on their own onsite servers.
Virtual desktops have several advantages over physical desktop PCs. For one, they are more centralized, because they’re hosted on a small number of interconnected servers. As a result of this centralization, virtual desktops are also easier to monitor, manage, secure, and back up than independent PCs. Virtual desktops are also more secure than physical PCs because there’s an administrative layer between them and the server hardware. Another major advantage of virtual desktops is that they’re more cost-effective, because they can be accessed from low-cost devices such as refurbished PCs and thin clients and employee-owned BYOD laptops, tablets, and smartphones, since all of the processing and storage requirements of virtual desktops are handled by the servers on which they’re hosted.
Hosted virtual desktops, meanwhile, have several advantages over self-hosted, onsite virtual desktops. One is that they don’t require the user to purchase or manage any onsite servers. Another is that hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet, while locally-deployed virtual desktops can only be accessed from onsite. Hosted desktops are also scalable; you can add as many desktops to your hosted deployment as you want at any time, since hosting companies already have the infrastructure in place. In addition, many Desktops-as-a-Service offerings are a lot more convenient than onsite virtual desktops, because they come with free technical support, monitoring, data protection systems, and data backups. Furthermore, Desktops-as-a-Service solutions are generally more cost-efficient and reliable than self-hosted virtual desktops, because hosting providers are more knowledgeable and experienced at virtual desktop hosting than the average IT department and have greater economies of scale.
For businesses and organizations that want to increase the manageability, convenience, accessibility, security, reliability, and cost-efficiency of their IT, Desktops-as-a-Service is an ideal solution. Small businesses, in particular, benefit from signing up for a Desktops-as-a-Service offering since many of them can neither afford to purchase and manage servers onsite, nor do they have the personnel or resources monitor, protect, and back up their IT infrastructure as well or as efficiently as a hosting company. Put more directly, Desktops-as-a-Service provides small businesses with an enterprise-level IT infrastructure at an SMB-level price. However, larger businesses would benefit from signing up for Desktops-as-a-Service, too, because it would decrease their IT costs and hassles and free up their IT departments to focus on more advanced, value-add tasks than end-user management and support. Likewise, Desktops-as-a-Service helps businesses with multiple offices or a significant amount of remote workers to centralize their IT infrastructure and provide access to the same files and applications to all employees regardless of their location; and for businesses with only a single office, their employees can access all of their files and applications from home (or anywhere else with an Internet connection) without having to do any file transfers or carry home any hardware.