Virtual desktops offer many advantages for small businesses. An organization can deploy and manage several computing sessions across a variety of hardware with a much higher level of security than managing several separate machines.
As businesses continue to embrace remote work and share hardware for computing tasks, virtual computing becomes a more viable solution. Microsoft recently announced a public preview of Windows Virtual Desktop, a service built to power the future of this cloud-delivered scenario.
Here are a few questions that small businesses may have about this service and what it could mean for virtual computing.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop?
Microsoft recently launched Windows Virtual Desktop into public preview as an Azure-based service to provide virtual Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus sessions across different devices.
What operating systems can Windows Virtual Desktop run?
According to the official Windows Virtual Desktop site, the service supports Windows 10 multi-session, Windows 10 single-session, Windows 7 single-session, Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer operating systems.
Which hardware supports Windows Virtual Desktop?
In a video demoing the software, Microsoft described the virtual desktop as working on "any device." The demo included Windows PCs and an iPad – though Android and Mac will also be viable platforms.
What are the main advantages for a small business?
With access to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus in a managed environment, IT staff can have full control over the software. By managing virtual desktops, a company can spend less resources on the upkeep of a series of PCs, since employees can sign in and out of sessions on the same device.
For a business with remote workers or contractors, another key advantage is that they can access their desktop externally from a device of their choice.
When will the service leave preview?
In its announcement, Microsoft said the service will achieve general availability in the second half of 2019.
Will Windows Virtual Desktop work on mobile devices?
Windows Virtual Desktop is accessible on iOS and Android. Additionally, Microsoft partnered with Samsung on a full Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus experience with Samsung DeX. This targets what the company calls firstline workers – the ones interacting with customers or products most directly.
How do I get started?
Windows Virtual Desktop requires an Azure subscription. You can then select the number of virtual machines and storage you need for your teams. See the Microsoft Azure site for additional terms, particularly if you want to deploy Windows 10 or 7 Enterprise.
How do I know if Windows Virtual Desktop is the right solution for my business?
The right choice is going to depend on the needs of your business – virtualization requires more technical know-how than just buying a few computers and handing them to employees. That approach can set you up for security risks, as employees may use unsafe Wi-Fi networks or introduce other unsavory applications.
How can I learn more?
The Business News Daily guide on setting up a virtual machine for your business can get you started on this journey. It may also help to dive into related topics, such as remote PC software and how to best make use of the cloud for your business.