If you need to buy laptops for your employees right now, they’ve been hard to come by. Most computers are manufactured in Asia and COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain. Inventories sold out and orders for new computers may not ship for weeks.
Instead of buying whatever models you can find — then being stuck with computers that aren’t standardized for your business — a better option is using Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) temporarily.
VDI is basically a desktop in the cloud. The operating system, apps, and data live on a centralized server and the desktops are deployed to users on request. Employees working from home can log in to their virtual desktops from any computer, tablet, or smartphone that has internet access. Login is either through a browser or app, depending on the solution. Most computers built in the last ten years will run VDI, as will iOS and Android devices.
See our IT Strategies Guide for COVID-19: How To Adjust Midstream and Come Out Ahead.
Unlike the old days when everyone accessing a central network was bound by the same settings, today’s virtual desktops are customizable. Each employee can use their own backgrounds, layouts, and screensavers, for example.
VDI is also inherently secure when managed properly. VDI environments are isolated from other activities, including issues related to unsecured WiFi and malware on the device being used. System administrators monitor and manage VDI, and can set up robust security protocols. If they detect malware, they take care of it centrally.
Talk to your IT team or Managed Service Provider (MSP) about what you need and for how long. You can rent VDI solutions monthly – just as you can other as-a-service solutions – until the crisis is over or you can source the standardized computers you need. Or maybe you’ll decide to stick with it — many organizations choose VDI. The time it takes for setup will depend on the number of applications and the connectivity needed where the application servers are located.
If your IT team already manages your IT environment centrally, chances are it can spin up a virtual desktop in under an hour. If your team is starting from scratch, you have plenty of VDI options to choose from. It’s worth looking into before you buy computers you really don’t want BUT don’t go around your IT department.