What’s the Post-Pandemic Outlook for Desktop as a Service?

The demand for DaaS spiked when the pandemic began, but can MSPs and VARs expect adoption to continue?

When long-term shutdowns due to the pandemic created challenges for businesses, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provided a viable option for maintaining operations. Desktop as a Service providers support their customers’ businesses with virtualized desktops accessible via public or private clouds. Users then have access to their work desktops from their personal PCs or devices from any location with a connection to the network.

Before the pandemic, businesses adopted DaaS for reasons, including giving their employees the ability to work remotely and decreasing the workload that patching, updating and maintaining workstation software stacks created for in-house resources. Forward-thinking businesses also viewed DaaS as an element of their business continuity strategies, planning to leverage it when needed to respond to circumstances created by a natural disaster or other disruptions to operations. Those businesses saw resounding ROI in 2020, and more companies joined them on the DaaS bandwagon.

“We have seen steady growth in the adoption of Desktops as a Service, as an increasing number of companies look for ways to simplify their IT management and increase flexibility to support work from home initiatives,” says Paul Carley, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Desktop and Applications Group at Citrix, “and we expect this to continue as the pandemic persists.” “Companies want and need simple, secure solutions that enable their employees to access the systems and applications they need to work in a consistent, secure and reliable manner from anywhere, using any device, and this is what DaaS provides,” he says.

After a busy year, however, managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) may be wondering what the outlook is for Desktop as a Service providers in 2021 and beyond.

“Interest in DaaS will continue as companies recognize the risks and complexity inherent in traditional solutions such as VPN when it comes to addressing the challenges and extended security concerns that the pandemic has brought about and plan to accommodate long-term, flexible work environments,” Carley explains.

Advice for Desktop as a Service Providers

Carley points out that when the demand for DaaS spiked early in 2020, many businesses considered cloud DaaS hosting as a short-term solution and the quickest path to enabling remote work. The shift to public cloud, however, created significant capacity challenges.

“While businesses planned for local outages and disasters, they failed to look at the bigger picture and plan out their deployments and connectivity to support remote work on a long-term basis, which was a mistake,” he says.

Carley says it’s vital for Desktop as a Service providers to help customers understand that DaaS or other desktop virtualization options need to be part of their long-term strategies. Therefore, instead of planning for a total shift to public cloud, businesses should consider hybrid cloud deployments for greater flexibility and scalability when the need arises.

Carley suggests that MSPs and VARs approach this by having “strategic conversations with IT and corporate management around the benefits of Desktops as a Service to their organizations and make clear that, with your support, they can create a customized offering aligned with their unique business needs and deliver optimal results.”

Plan for More of Your Clients to Permanently Adopt Remote Work Models

There’s some question whether remote work will continue to drive Desktop as a Service providers’ growth once the impact of the pandemic has lessened. Will employees return to a desk at an office after discovering that they can do their jobs from home – or will businesses want to continue to incur the overhead costs of large office buildings and onsite infrastructure?

“Remote work is here to stay,” says Carley. “And we will continue to see growth in public cloud DaaS hosting to support it.”

“Companies will continue to look to DaaS as a way of leveraging cloud to make their IT department more flexible and meet the ever-changing needs of the business,” he concludes.