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Ready or not, we’re on our way to the Windows Virtual Desktop

Talk about timing. With the coronavirus forcing a telecommuting sea change — we went from corporate workers begging, usually unsuccessfully, to be allowed to work from home to businesses insisting that they do so — Microsoft released its latest and best desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) program, Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).

I’ve foreseen the move from old-style fat-client desktops to DaaS for some time now. What I hadn’t seen was a pandemic that would have just about everyone who can work from home doing that in no time flat. It’s a change that puts DaaS in a whole new light.

And a lot of businesses are latching on to WVD as a way to solve their sudden telecommuting difficulties. Simon Binder, endpoint manager at Microsoft, recently tweeted that there are “6 times more [WVD] users active today than expected during 2020.”

Sure, most companies are dealing with the astronomical rise in telecommuting by trying to manage Windows 10 users remotely. But it hasn’t been pretty. To quote a sysadmin friend of mine, “I’ve had about a billion calls on how to use the VPN, and don’t talk to me about securing and patching Windows 10 remotely.” As a former sysadmin, I feel his pain.

While I’m not a fan of virtual desktops per se — I like my computer to be my computer, thank you very much — I see the need for them. You can ask users to practice safe computing from home, but let’s face it, most people are lousy at security. SplashData reports that the top two awful passwords are still “123456” and “password.”

With more people than ever before working from home, and with the strong possibility that they will do so for years to come, the time for DaaS has arrived.


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