Very early in my career, a mentor taught me an extremely important lesson: “There is no substitute for talking to your customers.” No market research, focus groups, or surveys can take the place of getting face to face with your customers and having an honest conversation. The intimacy of a one-on-one conversation affords you the opportunity to learn about their feelings surrounding other products and vendors, their markets, and the problems that they are trying to solve even if they are not yet able to fully articulate what those are.
With that in mind, when I joined the Spot PC team at Spot by NetApp, I was thrilled that my very first day would coincide with an MSP trade show I would be able to attend. What better way could there be to dive right in and start talking with as many customers and prospects as possible? Over the next several days at dinners, receptions, chatting at our booth, or just lingering in the halls, I kept finding myself engrossed in some variation of the same conversations:
“Cloud desktops? We might do that for some remote users, but if you’re in the office, they don’t make much sense.”
“If we move our desktops to the cloud, we still have the same challenges with updates and deployments as we do with on-premises desktops.”
“We tried cloud desktops a few years ago, but it just didn’t work once voice and video became ubiquitous with Teams and Zoom.”
Like most deeply ingrained beliefs, these are grown from a seed of historical truth. However, times and technology have changed drastically in recent years, and it makes sense to revisit some of these beliefs and dispel some of the most common cloud desktop misconceptions held by MSPs.
Myth #1: Cloud desktops are just for remote users
When we think of cloud desktops, often the first thing that springs to mind is the fact that they are accessible from anywhere, which makes them a natural fit for both remote and hybrid workers. While this is true, the benefits are by no means limited to these workers and can often be even more critical in entirely on-premises deployments.
Imagine a typical small business, such as a CPA firm with twenty employees all working in the same office. From the perspective of IT services and spending, what is going to be most important to that firm? Which line-of-business applications do they require, and how would they handle the patching or upgrades to new versions of these applications? What sort of regulatory compliance pertaining to data, such as sensitive client financial information, are they subject to in their locale?
Adopting cloud desktops can simplify addressing these common requirements. Part of the beauty of moving not just the servers and their data to Azure but also the entire desktop experience via Spot PC is that at no time is any of that data outside of SOC 2 type 1 and ISO27002 data centers. There is no inadvertently copied sensitive data finding its way to an errant on-premises desktop or failing to be backed up because it was not properly stored on the correct shared drive. Every bit of data and all the applications that access it always live in these highly secure environments.
Myth #2: IT updates will always be a challenge to schedule, even with the cloud
In a traditional on-premises model, when it comes time to test, patch, or deploy applications, you are often at the mercy of working around the schedules of your users. I think that you would be hard-pressed to find even a single MSP who has not struggled to support the users who forget to leave their desktop on at the end of the workday so that an RMM tool can properly patch the OS or deploy the next release of their critical line-of-business application. Not only is this frustrating for the MSP as well as the end-user, it also potentially leaves unpatched systems exposed to vulnerabilities.
By adopting cloud desktops through Spot PC, MSPs can eliminate these headaches through the desktop image library. Patches, upgrades, configuration changes, or completely new deployments can be tested in the cloud at any time and without disrupting end-users.
Once the decision is made to proceed with deployment, it’s only a matter of moving the image to production. Upon next login, the user receives the new image along with all its configuration changes and applications. No more waiting for an appropriate maintenance window or trying to wrestle with missed computers. Much like a SaaS application, the latest and greatest just appears at the next login. In the event of a problem, rolling back to the last known good image is just a few clicks away as well.
The fact that users can optionally access these secure, stable, and scalable desktops from outside of the office is a bonus, but it is not a requirement.
Myth #3: Tools like Teams and Zoom cannot be used with cloud desktops
If you ever tried to take a Teams call or join a Zoom meeting from within a cloud desktop in the past, it may have felt like trying to watch YouTube over a dialup connection. The video would be a blocky, jittery mess, and the audio delays could be excruciating. You would leave the cloud desktop and instead run these applications on your local computer – which was quite cumbersome – only to find that you now could no longer easily collaborate on the documents on your cloud desktop itself. In short, it was a frustrating and tedious mess that tested the limits of even the most patient of users.
Because Spot PC is built upon Azure Virtual Desktops, it can take advantage of audio and video redirection to eliminate this once-intractable problem. Redirection allows popular tools like Teams and Zoom to handle the audio and video portion of these calls locally while still delivering a seamless experience in the cloud desktop. From the perspective of the user, they can continue to enjoy crystal-clear audio and high-definition video Teams calls in their Spot PC cloud desktop without needing to compromise or switch back and forth to their local desktop. Simply take the call or join the meeting exactly as you would on an on-premises desktop PC.
There’s more to cloud desktops with Spot PC
While these three cloud desktop misconceptions may be the most common, they are far from the only ones that MSPs may hold if they have not had the opportunity to explore the advances in desktop cloud computing made by Spot PC. With flexible, month-to-month fixed-fee billing, Spot PC enables MSPs to deliver a complete collaborative workspace in the cloud while only paying for what they use. And because Spot PC includes all Azure subscription costs as part of the low per-seat price, MSPs and their clients no longer need to fear surprise Azure bills for unexpected use.
Learn more about what Spot PC can do for MSPs and their customers.