Cloud PCs like Windows 365 or AVD (VDI) has quickly become a favorable service by many around the world, and here I look at different personas benefits or status for using a Cloud PC like Windows 365 today.
Daily Workstation for employees
Windows 365 can be your employees daily workstation, but it requires your employee to first have a physical device to access the Cloud PC over an Internet connection. Windows 365 supports a wide set of devices to work from, and so your employees should be more free to chose their own device (BYOD).
It is like your providing a device used for personal tasks, and when they work it is through the Windows 365 Cloud PC. A secure way to allow and not restrict employee from using their company device for private tasks. This will add an additional cost, providing bought a Cloud PC and a physical device. But it doesn’t have to be a very expensive device, as the hardware used to process your work is in the cloud. Also employee benefits like this will make your company stand out from the crowd when searching for new employees.
When the physical devices have issues we can often leverage the factory reset built into the device, not unlike we do with devices managed by Intune. Intune doesn’t have a operating system image, hence it relies on the reset within the operating system. And most devices comes with this built in today. In my eyes the physical device will mostly be personal use, so it is okey to reset the device and have the user install personal software themself. Aka not manage them.
But still, depending on your employees IT skills, it could be difficult to support all the physical devices you might allow them to buy. So the more autonomous your employees are in the world of IT, the better suited you are for moving the workstation to a Cloud PC.
As long as the physical device needs to be supported by IT, it will add work. And our goal is to relieve IT from unnecessary work. So for the most common office user out here in the field, a Cloud PC isn’t the revolutionary invention yet.
Daily Workstation for non-office workers
Inside the employees group, there is a bunch of sub-categories. And we all need to recognize, every employee isn’t sitting in a chair in the office all day. We have many people in professions without the need or wish for a physical computer to get their job done.
As recommended most customers have moved from the old common PC without password protection and a single user for everyone to access information and data. Somewhat easy for the workers, but the security is next to nothing.
We make it better and more secure with Windows 365, providing users with a simple device or the same common device. We can leverage direct boot into Windows 365 from personal simple devices, or with easy authentication, perhaps from the common device in kiosk mode. But still strong authentication by providing keys like FIDO or Yubi to authenticate.
Most companies deploy thick clients these days, and I don’t want to emphasize thin clients. It is still used in certain areas, and it can seem favorable now that a lot of cloud services do the heavy lifting for us. But this discussion is best saved for a future article itself.
Jump Host / Privileged Access Workstation
This is a two in one, as a Jump Host to Azure should be secured and so should a PAW, where are the PAW is also used when administering online services, the Jump Host is a secure way into Azure using Azure Network Connection in Windows 365.
Most companies hire consultants from time to time, and by using a Cloud PC like Windows 365 you save a lot of time and time is money. As a consultant myself I can vouch for using Windows 365. I no longer need multiple computers, and the customers are more efficient in onboarding when you don’t need to provide and ship a physical device. The same goes for offboarding, and the labor necessary to recycle a devices for the next consultant is nothing. You retire the old consultants Cloud PC, free the license and can assign it to the next all in the same maneuver.
Happy consultant enjoying coffee and Cloud PCs
Developers can also be hired temporary or for a long term, and will benefit much like consultants from having a Cloud PC like Windows 365. If you serve a larger group of developers on Azure, you might be even more helpful providing an Azure DevBox and Azure Deployment Environment. DevBox is a brother to Windows 365, but includes tools often used by developers. Azure Deployment Environments is a catalogue of Azure projects tailored to your developers, and a fast way for developers to deploy dev-environments in Azure or recycle your dev-environments using templates pre-written in the catalogue.
I believe all of these personas can have a large benefit from a Cloud PC like Windows 365, but I also see the struggle on IT Support and IT Operations to manage a wide set of physical devices for the employees. There is a good reason bigger companies still run with golden images and a small set of physical devices to choose from. Although more and more are moving to a modern management with Azure AD and Intune. Then there is the potential economic saving when you do a large deal with a vendor, but also how it affect IT Support if every employee had their own choice of physical device, without the knowledge to manage it themself.
The rest can highly benefit from a Cloud PC and if your a smaller agile company, I see a larger benefit from this freedom, then the downside of support.
Todays security tip, try to imagine if securing your physical devices with the current pattern of use is safer, then having a Cloud PC for work, while allowing private use from the physical device. I know what I believe would be the safer option today.
Thank you for reading this blogpost, and I hope it shed some light on how you can leverage Cloud PCs. You can find other articles and subscribe to my newsletter on LinkedIn here.
Also a shoutout to the Windows 365 Community over on LinkedIn.