The Corona Virus pandemic continues its disruption at a global scale. The recent extension in the first leg of imposed lockdowns well through April of 2020 spells further worrying news for businesses already struggling to keep their heads above the water.
While there have always been Business Continuity (BC) plans of varying degrees in most organizations, a global pandemic was perhaps never on the cards. With ground breaking advancements in the field of medicine, such a pandemic was never anticipated.
In the recent past, we have coped with a similar and highly fatal virus referred to as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. While the novel Corona virus shares some of its characteristics with SARS, it is much bigger than SARS on many counts.
Firstly, Covid-19 has engulfed nearly every country on the planet, making it not only a pandemic but also a global one. The other key facet of this disease is its sneaky and stealthy ways of infecting other healthy individuals.
Covid-19 and Lockdowns
What do the above cited unique characteristics of the Covid-19 pandemic mean for businesses and state functionaries in largely unchartered territory. What we know for sure is that the best defense against Corona virus so far is social distancing.
To implement social distancing at such a vast magnitude, the only viable solution so far with governments across the globe is imposition of strict lockdowns. The immediate challenge that emerges from this situation is the ability of employees to show up for work.
DaaS and Business Continuity
In the wake of such prolonged and massive lockdowns, the foremost challenge that emerges for entities pertains to their ability to maintain at least mission critical operations by some employing some sort of IT infrastructure.
Desktop as a Service or DaaS is one of the most suitable Business Continuity solutions that can be tapped in these testing times. In a DaaS solution, you can avail fully virtualized desktop PCs (VD) from third party Cloud Service Providers (CSP).
Your employees can access their Virtual Desktops (VD) from the safety of their homes using the internet. Depending on your needs, these VDs come with a wide range of performance specs such as storage, operating system and RAM etc.
A DaaS solution eliminates the need for employees to physically show up at work, which ensures both organizational productivity and employee safety at the same time. Based on your needs, the technical specs of your DaaS enabled VDs can be changed.
Business Continuity and Pandemics
The lack or absence thereof of any Business Continuity (BC) planning with regards to a global pandemic has revealed a whole new dimension. Now, in addition to envisaging plans for other BC challenges, a pandemic will also have to be duly considered.
Planning for any pandemic will envision remote work scenarios in which organizations lay out detailed plans about sustaining critical business operations remotely. In any such plan, DaaS has the potential to occupy a leading role.
The amount of reaction time available to an enterprise for its business continuity mechanism to take full effect is also a key decision factor. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has severely hampered the ability of organizations to devise in house solutions.
A key factor behind this limitation is the total disruption of global supply chains, one way or the other. What this implies for any affected entity is its near inability to spin a viable solution on premise.
Even in terms of lead time for business continuity plans to kick in, DaaS is by far among the strongest contenders. Depending on the inherent complexity of a deploying entity’s operations and needs, the reaction time in case of DaaS is remarkably low.
In case of less complex DaaS deployments, the process can be as low as a few hours or a few days at the most. This is partly because of the fact the Cloud Service Providers now have ready made, preconfigured DaaS solutions in their basic forms.
All that needs to be done is tweak a DaaS solution in line with the unique technical requirements of the deploying entity and rest is taken care of. Such small to minimal reaction times make DaaS a preferred choice where time is of the essence.
DaaS and Work from Home
In a matter of hours to a few days, you can get a DaaS solution up and running. For relatively complex deployments or resource intensive workloads, a DaaS solution may take up a few weeks to take final shape.
With less to moderate levels of lead times, DaaS becomes a highly relevant solution for work from home scenarios, as is the case with the ongoing Corona virus outbreak. Employees can remain productive over their Virtual Desktops even from home.
Integration Role of DaaS
Apart from the above mentioned advantages, a DaaS solution has strong potential to act as an integrating mechanism for human capital that is otherwise geographically dispersed. Using a DaaS solution, an employee sitting thousands of miles away can access data.
DaaS has a strong ability to integrate employees into a cohesive unit, even if they are physically dispersed. This in turn enhances an organization’s capability to engage the best human resources, even if they are at another continent.
Covid-19, DaaS and Infrastructure
While there are many compelling advantages of a DaaS solution, there is also the limitation that its performance is heavily reliant on the quality of internet service. With millions of people forced into lockdowns across the globe, the IT infrastructure is very strained.
By default, companies that provide internet services (ISP) tend to deploy lesser hardware resources than actually required. This is because all ISP users do not end up using the IT infrastructure all at once. Rather, hardware is panned on the basis of average usage.
As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, we are witnessing unprecedented levels of internet usage. This spike in demand is partly fueled by millions of people staying at homes and using the internet for work or entertainment related duties.
We have already started witnessing notable degradation in internet service quality ever since the Corona virus. As more users and organizations join the DaaS bandwagon, we may witness further deterioration of the quality of internet.
To make the most of a DaaS solution, you will need decent quality internet service. How do Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other providers of infrastructure cope with this phenomenal demand is yet to be seen.
In post Covid-19 situation and beyond, Desktop as a Service or DaaS has a strong capability to serve your Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) needs. With not many viable solutions in sight, DaaS can become an instrumental BC solution.