Many organizations want to reap the benefits that cloud desktops can offer including mobility, flexibility, customization and easy access from new devices such as tablets. While the steps involved with planning out a cloud desktop implementation are the same as with any large-scale IT initiative, there are also some specific challenges that need to be addressed. Following are pitfalls to avoid when implementing cloud desktops.
Pitfall #1 – Underestimating the cloud desktop resources you need
When adopting a new technology, organizations often err on the low side when estimating the resources they need to fully optimize it. Some companies don’t have a history of their network traffic, workstation resource utilization and desktop applications so they simply ballpark what they need. Cloud desktops are like teenagers – they are hungry all the time. So plan ahead – way ahead – in terms of CPU cycles, memory, storage, and network bandwidth. If possible, build out the infrastructure for expected growth for at least one year, or even longer, if possible.
Pitfall #2 – Not taking advantage of existing resources
Investing in hardware for your cloud desktops is like buying your teenager’s first car. The car dealer is happy to show you the latest models, steering you away from the pre-owned models that have a little bit of wear on them. Don’t let your vendor convince you that you have to run out and buy all new hardware for your end users. While you shouldn’t skimp on having sufficient resources, do an inventory of what you have first. Some of your older, “pre-owned” desktops may work just fine for the time being – you can replace them when they wear out. And don’t forget about tablets and mobile devices. Depending on your network and remote access capabilities – and your BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policies – they may also be used.
Need a virtual test environment? Consider using those older servers that are gathering dust. And don’t assume that each user will need an individual license or virtual desktop. As with teenagers, teaching your team to share is a good thing, especially if you have part-time users or employees who work alternate shifts.
Pitfall #3 – Not training your staff and users on cloud desktops
So you bit the bullet and bought your teenager her first car. Now the fun begins. How to check the oil, change a tire and shift gears without grinding them out are key lessons for you to impart. The same holds true with cloud desktops and your team. Make sure they know how to “drive” their cloud desktops, whether over the VPN or from their mobile devices. Teach them which credentials to use, how and where to save files and so forth. Make them aware of any speed bumps such as application latency, slow login times and video difficulties.
Chances are you wouldn’t let your teenager jump on the freeway with her new car right away – you’d probably limit her driving to neighborhood streets for a while. So don’t race to get your cloud desktop implementation done. Phase it out and get feedback from users after each milestone. Just as your teenager won’t tell you about the first dent she gets on her car, your team won’t confess to a glitch in their cloud desktops. Encourage ongoing feedback at every opportunity.
Pitfall #4 – Not having a security backup in place for your cloud desktops
Sooner or later your teenager is going to lock the keys in her car. You have a spare set, but can’t remember if they’re in the junk drawer in your kitchen, or on your desk at the office. Meanwhile her car is stuck in some shopping mall parking lot. Not a good scenario . . .
While cloud desktops offer many security benefits, they aren’t impervious to security breaches. They can still take place through traditional means such as social engineering, network sniffing, disgruntled employees and so forth. Keeping the same security rules in place is like having an extra set of car keys – they can get you out of a jam. So make sure your team sets up complex passwords and changes them every quarter. Use two-factor authentication and implement screen locking and disconnection features. And make sure to deploy security patches just as vigilantly as you would with physical servers.
Have questions about cloud desktops? Contact us anytime to discuss your specific needs. And don’t forget to download our on-demand webinar, Leveraging Cloud Desktops for Business Advantage.