As bring-your-own-device policies and remote working have become increasingly popular and resource optimization has become more necessary, keeping enterprise IT current and efficient is growing more complex all the time. Between PCs and each employee's personal devices, upgrading the applications and operating systems on individual endpoints can consume time and resources that most companies just don't have. Luckily, desktop virtualization and remote application delivery have emerged as reliable alternatives to traditional network delivery.

As Tech Radar contributor David Howell noted, moving to a virtual desktop environment offers small- and medium-sized businesses dramatic gains in control, as well as being an effective way to future-proof IT systems. A recent study by VMware found that 90 percent of enterprise IT departments spend at least half of their time completing routine administrative tasks. SMBs that have implemented virtualization, however, reported experiencing an increase in productivity and 73 percent said they witnessed significant improvements in the amount of time spent completing administrative tasks.

When an office transitions to a virtual desktop environment, it means that the computers employees use have desktops delivered and controlled directly from a central server room. This offers centralized management of the office's desktops, since each one is virtualized and provided in an isolated state, creating a highly secure network environment. 

"Desktop, or endpoint, virtualization enables a centralized server to deliver and manage individual desktops remotely," according to Symantec. "While users enjoy full access to their systems, IT staff can provision, manage, upgrade, and patch them virtually, instead of physically. This also means that users can access files and applications on a central server. Companies might also opt for a hybrid scenario where users can access some applications through a central virtualized server and others through their local computers."

Enterprises see a variety of benefits with virtualization
Transitioning to a virtual environment and leaving behind traditionally installed OSs and applications enables businesses to be more flexible and agile, as virtual desktops can change in real time to reflect the work at hand while all being managed from a single, central location. Virtualization also allows companies to offer their employees more mobility, being able to access data and applications from the same work environment no matter where they are. Workers can easily connect to servers from multiple devices as all the necessary components are available at login.

Adopting desktop virtualization is also cost-effective and provides a high return on investment, as it offers a customized user experience that is more scalable and reliable than traditional options. Business continuity is improved with the use of desktop virtualization, with all data saved in an off-site data center that prevents lost, stolen or damaged devices from having a damaging impact on the organization's daily processes. At the same time virtualization makes for a logical addition to any enterprise disaster recovery plan, as desktop applications are being offered through an off-site server, so power outages or extreme weather won't affect business. Running operating systems and applications through a virtual machine increases enterprise security by allowing employees a safe way to access sensitive corporate information.