Among all the fancy “as a service” cloud acronyms, one that is particularly interesting to me is the Desktop as a Service (DaaS). It seems like most information workers have a personal device and internet connection for their intertube browsing needs—many of those personal devices easily outperforming their corporate issued bretheren. So why do corporations insist on issuing laptops to road warriors when many of us end up carrying multiple devices (even if one of those is an iPad)?

Cloud Gate, by your's truly!

One big reason why I see this being an issue is support. IT support centers cannot be expected to efficiently troubleshoot problems on machines where they are unfamiliar with the build (i.e., non-standard builds or non-gold builds). Anyone out there who is tech support central for their family knows exactly what I mean. How many viruses have you cleaned off machines due to some innocent clicking?

Corporate IT’s response to this is to lock the machines down so far that they become unusable outside of the basic office functionality1. And for some of us, even that basic functionality leaves much to be desired.

Enter DaaS, and companies can consolidate licensing and data into one core area of their infrastructure, and more easily follow one of my core security rules:

Delete everything you don’t need or can’t reasonably obtain from somewhere else, and defend what you keep to the death!

Imagine for a moment that you are a security professional tasked with securing your company’s data. Wouldn’t it be easier if you didn’t have to worry about what was sent around on laptops?

There is one massive drawback to this plan that is being remedied around the world but not fast enough to adopt DaaS universally today. In order for this to work, you have to have fast internet access everywhere you go. If you never travel and live in an urban area, this isn’t a problem.  But as a globetrotting consultant, this is not a reality yet. This means that people will still want to get around your controls by emailing documents to their personal accounts (THAT is what keeps me up at night) so they can work on them offline.

We’re close though, and if you are not considering piloting and learning more about this technology, you are missing out. Just like early adopting consumers, there are people inside your company willing to try new things today!

Edit: Did you see VMWare’s latest announcement for VMWare View 4.5?  Solves one of the major problems of implementation, offline mode!  Have not used it yet, but check out the release here.

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  1. Potentially at the expense of innovation? []