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Desktop as a Service: 3 Reasons to Switch Now

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Discover three reasons why institutions are modernizing infrastructure in the cloud and streamlining remote learning with DaaS.

As colleges and universities across the nation close their campuses due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the importance of streamlined virtual learning is taking center stage. The crisis is making it clear why providing options that preserve continuity is vital for any unexpected closure, whether it's a pandemic, a safety issue, or a weather event. After institutions get past this current emergency, the next step is to make the plan scalable, cost-effective, and secure.

Beyond temporary interruptions, higher education institutions face considerable end-user computing (EUC) challenges. Students expect 24/7 access both on and off campus—for all of the devices they own. Faculty want more nimble experiences for online learning and student communication. Administrators need solutions that are both cost-efficient and flexible to navigate changing enrollment trends. And all of it has to be easy from a user perspective.

Enter cloud-based virtual desktops. By moving backend infrastructure off campus and into the cloud, desktop as a service (DaaS) is making it easier for institutions to achieve their objectives.

Here are three reasons more colleges and universities are adopting this strategy.

1. Greater BYOD Support

As institutions look for smarter ways to support the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, DaaS has the power to transform college connectivity.

With DaaS, students and faculty can run any application, anywhere, at any time, on or off campus—creating a seamless, uniform experience. That capability is increasingly a must when it comes to supporting a variety of devices. Why? According to the EDUCAUSE 2019 Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology infographic, a majority of students now bring at least three devices with them to college—99% own smartphones, 97% have laptops, and 90% carry tablets. The ability to easily access data and communicate across all of these devices is critical to student success.

2. Easier Implementation and Scalability

When it comes to making the switch to virtual desktops, a lot of schools have a notion that it's a daunting task to get from here to there. Although it feels overwhelming, the reality is that working with an experienced partner reduces implementation time. SynchroNet's experience in the area of end-user productivity, for instance, can cut integration time to weeks, not months.

After implementation, DaaS also eliminates the endless and expensive cycle of infrastructure upgrades. Rather than having to wait for semester or summer breaks, these virtual desktops allow institutions to deliver applications, security protections, and updates overnight—to any device, at any time. And by decreasing the investment in hardware and support, virtual desktops enable schools to use newfound flexibility to either scale up or scale down to more easily match enrollment shifts as they happen.

Thanks to these advantages, deployment is not a question of if you can get it up and running—it's a question of how many students you want to roll it out to.

3. More Efficient Use of Physical Space

Colleges and universities are already scrambling to modernize classrooms, labs, and offices, and these requirements will grow in the next few decades, according to an APPA Center for Facilities Research report.

For many institutions, that trend drives the need to rethink the use of certain traditional spaces—such as computer labs, for example—by turning them into flex spaces that essentially make every classroom capable of supporting lab activities. On top of that, computer labs tend to take up a lot of space and require a fair amount of capital investment to refresh—more reason to reexamine efficiencies.

With cloud-hosted desktops, the operating system, applications, and data are served up on demand to user devices, with no need for on-premises space or access during certain hours.

Faster, Better, Cheaper

From file storage to data analytics, most colleges and universities already rely on cloud-based services to speed communication, make more informed decisions, free up resources, and stay secure. Moving to virtual desktops is the natural next step in this process. Broadening availability, empowering students, and making sure it's affordable for schools to do—that's the name of the game.

To learn more about how DaaS technology is driving higher education to become more flexible and connected, watch our free webinar, Students Need Resources on Their Own Devices—How Are You Delivering?

Darin Cook is CEO of SynchroNet, a Houston-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner focused on EUC solutions.

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