We’ve probably all heard of a BYOD policy at this point. A Samsung study ↗ found that 82% of employees think mobile devices increased their productivity and the speed of decision-making in the workplace, and 76% said they have a positive impact on customer service and satisfaction. What’s more, 58% of companies ↗ are using apps to enable mobile access to critical enterprise systems.
With these unprecedented levels of workplace mobility fast becoming the new norm, coupled with an increasing number of employees who work remotely ↗, the need to easily access workplace desktops from anywhere, anytime has become a top priority.
The reality is, remote and hybrid work environments alike are here to stay, and managed service providers (MSPs) need to have the right tools in place to support their clients’ operations. Those that do open themselves up to all sorts of lucrative opportunities.
Enter Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD): a desktop and application virtualization service that runs in the cloud and ensures that employees access the tools they need to work from wherever they need to.
What is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)?
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is Windows Virtual Desktop, rebranded and improved. In short, AVD is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service that runs on the cloud, which means it’s accessible from any device connected to the internet. It’s the only service that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 11, optimization for Microsoft 365, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments.
While AVD has maintained some of WVD’s features, it also offers valuable enhancements such as virtual machines (multi-sessions), additional security features and app streaming capabilities, to name a few.
Virtual desktops used to be complex, expensive and challenging for companies to set up and manage. A large server infrastructure was necessary, making virtual desktops largely inaccessible to small and medium-sized businesses. AVD makes the advantages of virtualization accessible and affordable to all businesses.
Here are some of the many capabilities AVD can offer:
- Quickly provide full Windows 10 desktops (with all your business apps) to your users
- Increase or decrease the number of virtual desktops you use as needed
- Virtualize Microsoft 365 apps, optimized to run in multi-user virtual scenarios
- Run Windows 7 virtual desktops with free extended security updates
- Call up existing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Server desktops and applications from any computer
- Manage Windows 10, Windows Server and Windows 7 desktops and applications from the same place
Perhaps best of all—all you need to run AVD is an Azure tenant and the right subscription ↗ to provide you with enough resource creation permissions. Once you have that, you’re more than ready to take full advantage of everything AVD has to offer.
Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) for MSP customers
Since the desktops live in the cloud, there is no need for servers and other infrastructure that would typically be required for on-premises solutions. Not having to purchase hardware, software and spend money on maintenance expenses is an undeniable cost-saving factor. Not to mention, you reduce management overhead by moving all your virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to the cloud with a managed service.
Then you have the fact that AVD allows for consumption-based pricing. You can reduce infrastructure costs by right-sizing virtual machines and shutting them down when not in use, thus aligning your operational expenses to your business usage.
It’s also worth noting that there are no additional license costs—AVD can be used with your existing eligible Microsoft 365 or Windows per-user license.
First off, since the desktop is in the cloud, there is less of a risk of losing data if the device in question is stolen or lost. Then there’s the fact that Microsoft invests an estimated $1 billion in security annually; Azure Virtual Desktop benefits directly from these investments in the form of built-in identity management, and backup and database security, not to mention a security toolset that is constantly being improved upon.
Additionally, with the rise of hybrid work environments—which sees more and more employees accessing their apps from less-than-secure places—businesses are exposed to more threats. Running can help keep your virtual desktops secure by leveraging reverse connections and security solutions like Azure Firewall, Azure Sentinel and Azure Security Center.
The ability of employees to access their desktops from anywhere and on any device (as long as there’s an internet connection) is inextricably tied to increased productivity. Providing greater flexibly for accessing tools they need to do their jobs is a game changer to say the least. AVD offers a high level of flexibility when it comes to supported OSs, so it is easy for businesses that haven’t yet upgraded to a newer OS to take full advantage of everything AVD has to offer.
OSs supported by AVD include the following:
- Windows Virtual Desktop Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session
- Windows 10 single session
- Windows 7 single session
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- Windows Server 2016
- Windows Server 2019
Why MSPs should offer AVD
Any business requiring remote work tools (which might soon be virtually all of them, no pun intended) now represents a revenue opportunity for MSPs running Azure Virtual Desktop. Why not harness the full range of AVD superpowers by managing more of your clients’ IT services, and upping client loyalty at the same time? AVD can easily act as a gateway to offering clients additional services like cybersecurity or more in-depth infrastructure management.
Work with an expert partner to help grow your business
Sherweb cloud solution architects happen to be experts in all things Azure and AVD. We can help you find effective ways of maximizing profitability and expanding your cloud business to deliver value for clients. Check out our Partner Guide to learn more, or sign up ↗ today to get started!