DaaS for Higher Education
Students today expect round-the-clock access to IT resources and support, whether they’re on or off campus and leveraging school-provisioned or personal devices. Moreover, as curricula continue to shift to support online and hybrid online/classroom learning, constant access to IT resources is increasingly crucial to student and faculty productivity.
Keeping pace with evolving technology and regulations, not to mention hiring an IT staff to manage and maintain on-site IT infrastructures, can be difficult to reconcile against providing a quality education at a competitive cost. Even institutions with larger IT budgets may find they simply do not have the expertise or resources to stand-up and operate an intricate IT infrastructure in a timely, efficient manner. Ultimately, to drive enrolment and student success, education institutions must innovate.
Harnessing Virtual Desktops
Many institutions have explored implementing an on-site virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). With VDI, multiple desktops can be hosted from a central server, enabling students, faculty and staff to access virtual desktops online. Key benefits of on-site VDI include:
- Enables Thin Clients- Institutions can reduce demands to update hardware, as machines often require less computing power to connect to virtual desktops.
- Enhanced Security- All data is stored remotely, not on the hard drives of end-user devices.
- 24-hour Access- Users can access virtual desktops over the Internet anytime, instead of relying on access to computer labs.
Unfortunately, setting up an on-site VDI often requires significant up-front hardware and software investments. Moreover, configuration and management typically requires support staff with specialized knowledge.
Exploring NaviCloud® DaaS
NaviCloud® Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), Navisite’s cloud-based desktop virtualization service, builds upon the strengths of on-site VDI to offer education institutions the benefits of a familiar Windows desktop experience hosted from one of Navisite’s secure, enterprise-class data centres. NaviCloud DaaS helps institutions leverage the power of virtual desktops for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as compared to establishing on-site VDI. NaviCloud DaaS supports:
- Full-management- Navisite provisions and oversees everything from physical data centre space through to the VDI software.
- Scalability- Admins can enable or disable virtual desktops within minutes to meet variable demand more efficiently.
- 24x7 Support- Navisite’s experts are always available to provide assistance.
- Reduced CapEx- NaviCloud DaaS is a pay-as-you-go service, with no associated up-front hardware or software costs.
Supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Initiatives
Some institutions have switched to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, rather than provisioning standardized laptops to new students and faculty, for example. Supporting the various unique devices users wish to leverage can be challenging for on-site IT. NaviCloud DaaS is device agnostic, meaning users can connect to virtual desktops from nearly any web-enabled device, including tablets, laptops, smartphones, thin clients and more. Centralized management also makes it easier for an institution’s IT admins to enforce compliance and security standards across all user devices remotely.
Addressing Seasonal and Variable Resource Demands
Typically, some of the busiest times for institutions include enrolment periods, mid-terms and finals. Planning hardware and staffing needs to accommodate peak periods can be costly and result in unused resources during slower periods. Conversely, under-provisioning can potentially lead to outages and delays during high demand periods. NaviCloud DaaS enables institutions to provision new virtual desktops within minutes, to more closely align costs with demand.
Augmenting Data Security
From professors misplacing laptops containing student information to university medical staff losing tablets storing medical records, traditional devices can leave institutions open to security and compliance risks. NaviCloud DaaS clients have the peace-of-mind that data is stored remotely, in Navisite’s secure data centres—not on end-user devices. Navisite can also work with intuitions to help them meet specific compliance and regulatory requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Leveraging a Hybrid Approach
NaviCloud DaaS does not have to be all or nothing. Higher education institutions with existing on-site VDIs can continue to leverage these solutions while adding new users via NaviCloud DaaS. Moreover, students, faculty and staff can continue to use physical computers and transition to virtual desktops over time as these assets age.