10 Key Features of Azure Virtual Desktop

Updated: March 22nd, 2024 Author: Liv Appleton

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Exploring the Features of Azure Virtual Desktop

As we plough onwards into a remote and hybrid-working world, with one in four workers in the UK adopting a hybrid model of working (according to data from the Office for National Statistics) more businesses are seeking to optimise their strategies to allow employees to work wherever suits them best.

Azure Virtual Desktop is Microsoft’s solution to this growing need. Azure Virtual Desktop offers businesses a remote desktop environment, with secure access via the cloud, that can be used by employees away from the office. This means those employees working off-site can still have access to all the documents, files, applications and tools they need to fulfil their roles effectively, as long as they have a stable internet connection and a suitable device – more on this in a moment.

With this in mind, if your business is seeking to maximise its remote and hybrid working capabilities while also taking advantage of a plethora of other benefits, keep reading to learn more about the features of Azure virtual machines.

10 Features of Azure Virtual Desktop You Need To Know

1) Remote Working

Why your business needs microsoft azure

We’ve already touched on the value an Azure virtual machine brings to remote working, but the advantages it offers businesses everywhere truly can’t be understated. By hosting their business desktops in the cloud via Microsoft Azure, employers are empowering their workers to remain productive while working away from the office, so they can continue to push the business forward even if they are unable to physically make it to the business premises.

Better still, workplaces that adopt this model of remote or hybrid working are seen to be far more appealing to the modern job hunter thanks to the increased flexibility this provides; helping to attract potentially better-suited applicants to new roles by allowing access to an increased talent pool.

2) Cost Savings

Traditionally, businesses would need to purchase individual hardware and software licences to gain access to the tools they need to remain productive. This is still the case for many businesses today, who are spending hundreds or even thousands a month on unnecessary licences that could be obtained for a cheaper price or in an alternative form that is far more cost-effective.

Azure Virtual Desktop takes some of the sting out of such costs by allowing businesses to host desktop environments in the cloud – including software. Rather than paying software licences on a per-device basis, which can be incredibly expensive for medium to large-sized operations, businesses can opt for a cloud-based solution and one that allows multiple employees to access it via the virtual desktop, instead of on a physical machine. As well as this, by choosing virtual desktops over individual machines, businesses can save a fortune on maintenance costs.

3) Quick Scalability

As part of the Microsoft Azure platform, companies that onboard Azure Virtual Desktop will also have the choice to utilise any one of Azure’s hundreds of other useful tools and services. These include such tools as web building, coding, analysis and security solutions, to name but a few. But the beauty of Azure services onboarded via an Azure Virtual Desktop is that businesses have the freedom to pick and choose which services to pay for, depending on the specific needs of the business at the time.

For example, during particularly busy spells, a business may opt for a comprehensive package of Azure services, ensuring they have everything they need. In more quiet periods, a business may decide to cut costs and scale back the number of solutions they use, which is all doable at whim through the Azure Resource Centre.

4) Easy-To-Manage Security

In an age where data is king, and data is shared over an internet connection in massive quantities every day in business, it is essential for businesses to protect both their own and their customer’s data with ironclad security. However, many businesses can struggle to keep track of their security services and protocols, especially when there is no set individual in charge of such tasks, or anyone with any great experience in keeping networks safe. As such, it can be easy to lose track of active security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus programs, end-to-end encryption, password managers and so on.

With Azure Virtual Desktop, not only can a business benefit from the in-depth security features provided through Azure, but all of these security measures can be consolidated and managed through a single cloud location via the Azure platform, as well as integrating seamlessly with Microsoft 365. This allows a clear view of all active security measures at all times and greatly reduces the risk of a breach due to missing essential security elements. Microsoft Entra ID (formerly known as the Azure Active Directory) also works to ensure only an authorised remote desktop client and assigned session hosts with a verified user account can have access to the virtual machine in question. Speaking of Microsoft 365…

5) Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive set of tools, utilised by businesses across the globe. Tools such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel are used countless times per day by businesses everywhere to create documents, share information and monitor and store important data. But the beauty of using Microsoft 365 alongside Azure Virtual Desktop is that there is no need to shell out for multiple 365 subscriptions depending on the number of users accessing the desktop and attached services.

Because, technically, all users are accessing the same virtual desktop, your existing Microsoft 365 subscription can be consolidated into your Azure Virtual Desktop, eliminating the need for various extra subscriptions on a per-user basis.

6) Simplified Management

Businesses with many employees working across different areas can sometimes struggle with consistency – with some employees working with a certain set of tools or in a certain digital environment, while others are working on a completely different wavelength. This can have serious negative impacts on shared productivity across colleagues and departments.

However, through the Azure Portal – an element of Microsoft Azure – an IT Manager can manage virtual desktops and have constant access to the layout and tools being utilised on a shared virtual desktop environment, ensuring everyone utilising the same desktop is working with the correct tools across the board. It’s clear, concise, easy-to-use and creates consistency for all involved.

7) Familiarity

Employees can sometimes feel disenfranchised when having to deal with new technology and can struggle to adapt effectively, putting their workrate and happiness in the workplace at risk. Imagine if someone handed you a completely different smartphone to use as your daily device – you’d be able to use it, sure, but it would take some getting used to, which could limit your enjoyment or effective usage of the device.

But if your employees are already used to using Windows systems, they’ll feel right at home on an Azure Virtual Desktop. Because the system is powered by Microsoft, it is made to feel as familiar as any other Windows operating system they may have used, with no need to adapt to anything that could be considered too different for them to handle. And thanks to its easy-to-manoeuvre design, workers should have no issue navigating the Azure Portal or their Windows virtual desktop, should they need to access any other Azure services.

8) Regular updates

Azure Security Best Practices

As one of the world’s leading technology firms, Microsoft has built a reputation for delivering exceptional tools and services for both individuals and professionals. Part of this service includes regularly updating their software, to offer the best possible experience for the customer, as well as prevent any security issues. With Azure Virtual Desktop, users can benefit from regular updates, ensuring they’re only using the version that will benefit them the most. This is done automatically whenever a new software version becomes available, saving time and effort on the part of the user.

Bug fixes are also addressed in regular Microsoft updates, meaning should you encounter a technical glitch with the version of the software you’re using, this will likely be taken care of in the next update, stopping it from holding you back and affecting your work negatively.

9) Device Versatility

While the term ‘desktop’ gives the impression that work can only be completed on a local desktop when using Azure Virtual Desktop, that’s not entirely true. In fact, Azure Virtual Desktop can be accessed on a whole host of digital devices via a remote desktop app including laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets, and can even be connected to some Smart TVs to use as a larger-than-life monitor. This opens up many avenues of potential productivity to be explored by employees and removes any limits that could be placed upon them due to a lack of a certain device. With Azure Virtual Desktop, there will almost always be a method that can be used to access it, helping them remain productive in many different scenarios and locations should the situation call for it.

10) Lightning-Fast Onboarding

As it is hosted in a cloud environment, whenever a new member of the team arrives, it is always a simple case of installing the correct software to their device of choice and giving them their own dedicated login information – with these things, they’ll be good to go in no time. However, should a business be struggling in terms of device numbers and not have a suitable device to hand for a new starter to use (as can be the case with some last-minute hirings) there is always the option for the new starter to bring their own device (laptop, PC, mobile, tablet) and install the software on that, at least in the interim. This allows them to start working straight away on a device they’re familiar with, rather than wasting time for a new device to arrive.

Onboard Virtual Desktop Infrastructure With Netcentrix Today

At Netcentrix, we’re home to a team of Microsoft-certified experts ready and waiting to help you adopt Azure Virtual Desktop and make the most of its many benefits, so you don’t have to go it alone. As an approved Microsoft partner, we’re trusted to deliver Microsoft products with the utmost level of care for our customers, ensuring their solutions are perfect for them. If they’re not, we endeavour to make the changes you need to succeed.

With Netcentrix, you’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager to deal with your products and any issues that may arise. Should you ever run into any trouble, let your account manager know and we’ll make the steps on our end to have the problem solved as quickly as possible. And with technical assistance available whenever you need it, there’s never been a better time to get on board with an approved Microsoft services vendor like Netcentrix. Contact us today to find out more.

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