By Duane Barnes, SVP, Technology
As I travel around the country I’m frequently asked to speak on panels or at roundtable events on the topic of Desktop as a Service (DaaS). The audience is inevitably a mix of novice partners and a few folks who consider themselves fairly proficient with this technology. The questions that arise during these sessions range from “How is that different than Office 365?” to, quite literally, “What is DaaS?” Occasionally a more tech-savvy person will ask what the difference is between Citrix and VMware Horizon, attempting to take the conversation into speeds and feeds. With such diverse audiences, I find myself thinking about the best method to describe advanced technologies in a way that most people can relate to. More often than not, our partners are very comfortable selling UCaaS solutions, and taking that into consideration, the message is often similar. Self-service provisioning, centralized security, flat fee per user, scale on-demand, etc. Sound familiar? It should, as pretty much any cloud-based solution would have a similar value proposition. Therein lies the issue: How do you change the message when selling DaaS?
The Commoditization of DaaS
First of all, I believe that DaaS solutions will eventually become as commoditized as traditional Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is today. Generally speaking, any time Amazon gets into a business, as they recently have with AWS Workspaces, prices plummet. Without managed services, there is literally no way to make money on those solutions. With that said, even if DaaS becomes the plumbing it will still be required, just as IaaS is, for secure application delivery. I still believe there will be a three-to-five-year runway with DaaS before that happens, but I also believe the overall message can and should change today between sales folks and their customers.
The Need for Identity Management
Consider the reason why any customer would need a DaaS solution. Most of the time, the basic need is secure, remote access to a company’s applications for its employees, partners, and/or customers. Now, think about where these applications are headed: the cloud, or more specifically, Software as a Service (SaaS). If we continue to follow that line of thinking the next logical question is, “Why would a company that has all its applications in the cloud need a DaaS solution in this modern world of BYOD?” In reality, the likely answer is that they don’t necessarily need a full-blown desktop in the cloud. However, they will absolutely need an Identity Management solution with some sort of Single Sign-On (SSO) solution. Without this type of solution, the company’s end users will revolt trying to remember dozens of username and password combinations to those SaaS applications, or worse yet, end up writing their passwords down on sticky notes, violating all sorts of security and compliance requirements. Sure, end users are getting smarter and downloading tools such as 1password or Dashlane to save all of their passwords. But who is responsible for the master password? At the end of the day, employees are a company’s biggest security risk, so why not protect them from themselves?
Utopia Is Possible
Consider a properly deployed DaaS solution for those legacy client-server applications that also includes an Identity Management/SSO solution for secure remote access and SSO for those SaaS applications. Then, consider a single pane of glass (URL) with two-factor authentication for external access that gives end users access to every application and they only have to remember one complex password. Ahhh…utopia!
That solution exists today and I believe sales partners who can have that conversation with their customers will have a distinct advantage over the competition. While employees have proven to be the biggest security risk, the overarching problem is a business not making the right investments in technology and people to better protect and serve business assets in this new normal of cybercrime.
RapidScale is a leader in DaaS and we’re experts at creating secure, all-in-one business solutions that address today’s common business threats and help achieve that “utopia.” Do you have a customer or prospect that may benefit from this? Reach out to us here!
Duane Barnes, SVP, Technology, RapidScale, As SVP, Technology at RapidScale, Duane Barnes is responsible for leading the engineering, architecture, support, solutions engineering and project management teams globally. He is based in Raleigh, North Carolina and has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT.