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What are hosted desktops?

atlas hosted desktop

A hosted desktop (often also referred to as Desktop as a Service or DaaS) – much like the name suggests – is a desktop that is hosted in the cloud. In essence, a hosted desktop combines multiple cloud offerings such as email, applications and data storage into one solution, providing similar functionalities and capabilities.

A hosted desktop looks no different from a traditional, physical desktop; the difference between the two is the location where apps, data and email are stored. A physical desktop accesses and stores data, apps and email on the actual device. With a hosted desktop, everything is stored in a secure data centre and the device merely serves as a medium to display images of what is accessed.

Why use a Hosted Desktop?

Email, apps and data – all in one place, accessible anywhere
Hosted desktops might look like physical desktops, however they offer the advantage of being accessible anywhere, on any device. This means that users don’t have to individually transfer files or install applications on new devices; all they need is an internet connection to log on to their desktop. Remote working is available to all users as they can just log on at home, in a coffee shop or in another office and have all applications, email and files available to them. In addition, compatibility issues are eliminated and the risk of physically transporting files from one location to another is removed.

One unified solution
Any business can profit from adopting cloud solutions but things can become overwhelming when a company utilises multiple cloud offerings from various providers, be it storage, accounting software, backups or MS Office. A hosted desktop combines these offerings into one, meaning that there is one single provider and therefore one single POC for a business, disregarding whether this involves emails, specific apps or data. Data storage and security are being taken care of automatically and regular back-ups, software updates and disaster recovery are also part of the solution.

Security
One of the main benefits of hosted desktops is the high level of security they provide. Security does not depend on individual devices any more – the desktops are hosted in a secure infrastructure and data, apps and email are held in multiple, secure data centres. Similar to keeping software up to date, the hosted desktop provider also automatically performs security updates for the entire system and all desktops. Furthermore, data is automatically encrypted and available Multi-Factor Authentication ensures that files are kept safe. Seeing as nothing is stored on the actual device, critical company data would not be compromised if the device is lost, stolen or breaks down.

Data backups and disaster recovery
Rather than having to manually back up data and store these backups securely, files that are located on the hosted desktop are backed up automatically and regularly by the provider, taking the burden away from the business. Similarly, since backups are stored in multiple data centres, even an office disaster would not cause the loss of files. Due to the accessibility of the hosted desktop, employees could log-on on alternative devices and continue working from home or in another location.

BYOD proof
Another benefit of hosted desktops is that the solution is fully Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) proof. Since the device would only be used to access a user’s desktop remotely via the internet without any data or apps being stored on the device itself, the risk of data loss or data theft is minimised. Furthermore, users have access to the same software and applications they use on their work desktop, removing compatibility problems and the need to update software regularly.