5 Benefits of Using Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) in Education

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    As educational institutions adapt to changing circumstances and employ remote learning policies, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) can be a great investment. Like VDI — which you can read more about in our blog, The Future of Remote Access — DaaS is an effective way to implement virtualisation and make remote access even easier for educational institutions. This is an especially beneficial solution because of its low cost and reduced maintenance needs.

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    In this blog, we’ll cover more benefits of DaaS and why it could be a great solution for your educational institution.

    What is DaaS?

    DaaS is a way to deliver virtual content where the responsibility for system security and management is provided through a cloud-based company. These providers ensure that authorised users are connected to the appropriate desktops and applications. Their solutions interact with virtual infrastructures, gateway services and desktops to ensure a secure operating environment. Because no software resides on user devices, DaaS provides flexibility in content delivery while lowering costs and reducing time to implementation. Here are five ways DaaS can benefit education.

    Improves accessibility

    While more educational content is being delivered online, its effectiveness depends on accessibility. According to the World Economic Forum, 95% of children from countries such as Switzerland or Norway have internet access from personal devices. In contrast, only 34% of children in Indonesia have the same accessibility. The disparity is within countries as well as between them. In the United States, 25% of disadvantaged children do not have access to computers, while almost 100% of privileged students do. Contrast those numbers with mobile phone usage. Worldwide, almost 70% of the population has a mobile phone. Being able to deliver content to mobile phones could significantly reduce access disparity. DaaS has the ability to display virtual content on desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Merely deploying a DaaS solution can improve accessibility and reduce learning disparity.

    Enhances security

    Cybersecurity threats against educational institutions continue to increase as they are seen as easy targets. In fact, the University of Birmingham fell victim to a cyber-attack last year which resulted in an undisclosed ransom being paid to the hackers by the software suppliers. For the most part, educational institutions lack the financial resources to maintain a highly secured infrastructure. Even if institutions had the financial resources to build a secure network, finding personnel to manage it would be challenging. As of late 2019, over 80% of companies worldwide had trouble filling cybersecurity positions. Moving to a DaaS environment eases the security burden on educational institutions. DaaS providers are responsible for ensuring that only authenticated users are given access to educational resources. As the number of students connecting to online platforms increases, so do network vulnerabilities. Schools have no control over the security measures present on a student’s device. Unless there are adequate precautions in place, cybercriminals could gain access to an institution’s network. Having a more secure environment reduces the odds of a successful cyberattack.

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    Reduces maintenance

    Maintaining a physical network can be costly. Equipment fails and must be replaced or repaired. Mission-critical devices require an onsite backup to ensure continuity. Educational services cannot wait for a replacement to arrive. When IT personnel monitor performance and troubleshoot potential problems, they have little time for anything else. Resources are not available to answer questions or provide support when educators or students have difficulty accessing the system. The lack of responsiveness leads to frustration and degrades the educational experience. Maintenance is not just hardware. Software has to be updated, and those changes must be tested. Upgrades add to the workload of an IT staff. With DaaS, network maintenance is almost eliminated, because institutions are only responsible for the endpoints. With fewer devices to maintain, IT personnel can focus on improving the student experience.

    Lowers operating costs

    DaaS does not require a large upfront capital investment. All infrastructure components are in the cloud, so the only equipment costs are for endpoints. If institutions allow students to use their own devices, there are even fewer endpoints to purchase and maintain. DaaS implementation does not require extensive IT expertise because network management is moved to the cloud. IT workloads are reduced to monitoring endpoints and keeping applications working. Extensive IT departments or outsourced resources are no longer required, further reducing operating expenses. Of course, lower maintenance means lower operating costs, but it also means better productivity. IT personnel can be re-allocated to spend more time supporting staff and students instead of focusing on keeping the network running. Productivity improves as problems are addressed faster and with less friction. Increased productivity at no additional costs contributes to a positive bottom line. Most DaaS providers offer a subscription plan, making it much easier to budget IT expenses. Whether the subscription is monthly or annually, the cost is fixed—no need to budget for that unexpected equipment failure or additional service fees.

    Prepares for the future

    Online learning is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. Recent research found that older students retained 25% to 60% more material when studying online. The retention rates improved because students were able to learn at their own pace and in their own way, demonstrating that there is increasing value in this kind of learning. DaaS is positioned to scale as more instruction is moved online. Whether it is more courses or more students, DaaS can quickly scale to support the increased demand. Institutions do not have to worry about degraded performance or architecture limitations. This capability gives the educational sector the agility it needs to address changes in enrollment. The platform provides flexibility in content delivery. Because it supports multiple endpoints, DaaS can expand its connectivity to support new devices. Whether the endpoint is a 5G cell phone or the next generation of laptops, the DaaS architecture can quickly transform to support them. This flexibility makes it easier for educators to tap into a broader market as new endpoints develop.

    The educational sector needs to adopt new tech

    Flexibility and agility have become critical factors in an institution’s ability to survive. As the demand for more virtual learning grows, institutions will have to find ways to deliver a quality learning experience if they want to survive. Constructing an architecture that can pivot quickly to address a changing educational landscape is one way to ensure an institution’s success. DaaS could be that architecture for many institutions. Finding the right kind of tech to help adapt to fast-changing circumstances is key, but it’s all about implementing the right solution to address your specific problem. Nexstor offers end-to-end solutions to meet client needs, whether on-premise or in the cloud. Our DaaS solution is designed to help educational organisations traverse the uncertain terrain of the 21st century.

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    Rob Townsend

    Rob is a co-founder at Nexstor and has dedicated his career to helping a range of organisations from SME to Enterprise to get ahead of the game when it comes to their compute, storage and data needs.

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