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The State of SMB IT: Making the Case for Desktop Virtualization

Desktop virtualization delivers all the computer performance required for businesses to remain competitive in today’s market

Staying current with the latest and greatest in hardware and technology is challenging for organizations of any size, but especially so for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) who are often extra challenged with limited resources and personnel. It's no surprise then that today's SMBs are moving toward desktop virtualization, which offers a modern and cost-effective approach that's a viable alternative to traditional PCs. Desktop virtualization delivers all the computer performance, manageability and security required for businesses to remain competitive in today's market with significant cost savings compared to buying and maintaining PCs.

Indeed, a recent study conducted by Spiceworks Inc. focused on the State of IT for SMBs, revealed growing IT budgets and also continued rapid adoption of virtualization technology, cloud services and tablets in the workplace. The report surveyed over 1,350 IT professionals at companies from around the world with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Nearly a quarter of respondents from the "State of SMB IT 2H 2012" survey stated they have already adopted desktop virtualization for their businesses. An additional 16 percent said they are looking into adopting the technology within the next six months.

Such findings are intriguing as they reflect both a need and growing shift for modern computing solutions as the use of tablets and leveraging the cloud continue to escalate. What's more, the Spiceworks survey highlights that SMB IT budgets have reached a high point - $162k on average, up 13 percent from last year, although interestingly enough, respondents say they don't plan to increase IT personnel. This is noteworthy as research from Gartner Inc. shows that 60 percent of SMB IT executives say that over the past three years they haven't had enough IT staff.

Desktop virtualization therefore makes sense for SMBs as IT budgets are expected to grow and accommodate BYOD and cloud office environments, all while staff sizes to manage the environments remain the same. Specifically, desktop virtualization offers the following benefits to SMBs:

Long-Term Reduction of IT Costs and IT Staff Headaches

Continual management of multiple individual PCs, desktops and handheld devices is time-consuming, cumbersome and costly. Gartner Inc. recently estimated the annual TCO of an unmanaged PC (where users can install their own applications and little to no desktop management tools are being used) at well over $5,000.

Already strapped IT staff members can leverage desktop virtualization technology to control and make system-wide updates and upgrades from a single centralized source in a timely fashion, rather than updating workstations and BYOD devices one by one. The payback is freed time to focus on other projects and fewer headaches thanks to a streamlining of IT. In the long run, desktop virtualization offers a reduction in administrative and maintenance costs, which increase over time with company size.

Improved Enforcement of Security and Compliance Mandates

SMBs are particularly concerned over the management of their end users - with security and compliance topping the list, and for good reason. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, for example, reports that more than 12,000 laptops are lost each week at U.S. airports. The loss of business-critical information is a very real threat particularly for industries such as financial services, healthcare and government.

SMBs can turn to desktop virtualization to meet security and compliance mandates by moving data off of end points and into the datacenter where it can be more efficiently and securely managed. Compared to a conventional desktop, a virtualized desktop is more secure given that its data never leaves the data center. The result is a drastic decrease in vulnerability and data loss.

Increase in Overall Employee Productivity

The impact on overall employee productivity is also worth considering. In typical scenarios, a desktop machine going down means lost productivity as that employee has to sit around and wait around for the workstation to be repaired.

With desktop virtualization, however, IT can get the user up and running again on a new instance of their original virtual desktop. The immediate ability to access the same desktop from a different device means no more lost time when such IT problems arise. Additionally, the fact that desktop virtualization supports BYOD devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones means IT is able to support the demand for a virtual working environment and immediate access to information.

As SMB IT demands increase to support business growth, while staff sizes are expected to remain the same, now is as good time a time as ever to consider desktop virtualization for making the most of your resources. By enabling streamlined IT processes and enhanced employee productivity in today's BYOD world, moving to desktop virtualization can provide a step ahead in today's competitive SMB business environment.

More Stories By Raj Dhingra

Raj Dhingra is CEO for NComputing, the leader in accelerating the adoption of desktop virtualization. Removing the barriers through a unique formula of simplicity, performance and value, NComputing’s integrated solutions serve global enterprise and mid-market companies in key verticals such as education, healthcare and government. Raj is a twenty-year IT veteran with a proven track record in leading several global companies. Previously responsible for Citrix’s desktop virtualization business as group VP and general manager, he draws from direct domain expertise to offer a unique industry perspective on the rising trends affecting desktop virtualization today.

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