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How to get management to agree to your cloud desktop project

If you want to get a cloud desktop project off the ground, you'll have to sell your superiors on the idea first. Remind them that DaaS can save money, improve security and put some control over desktops back in your hands.

Harnessing your innate powers of persuasion can be the difference between successfully securing the resources to do DaaS and never getting your cloud desktop project off the ground.

IT professionals typically have a very different mindset from -- and sometimes even a disdain for -- people who make their living selling stuff. You could attribute this attitude to many different possible sources, but the reality is that most people who are really good with technology aren't necessarily interested in sales -- either as an avocation or as a vocation.

But before you throw out the sales baby with the bathwater, consider that there are situations in the life of an IT pro when having the ability to persuade -- or sell -- others is key to getting things done. One such situation is when you're trying to convince your IT management chain that a new or unproven technology, such as desktop as a service (DaaS), is worthy of consideration.

As with any sales effort, having a coherent plan that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of DaaS, what your company stands to gain from a DaaS implementation, and at what cost, is crucial to your efforts.

Cost of DaaS

From the perspective of senior management, one of the best justifications for DaaS is that it tends to be substantially cheaper per user than a traditional desktop infrastructure with all of the associated expenses and technical challenges.

Because DaaS is cloud-based, the provider can distribute infrastructure costs across all its customers. Also consider that in a DaaS environment, your provider can and should offer your company a service-level agreement (SLA) that specifies any adjustments to your monthly invoice should the infrastructure be unavailable for use per your contract.

When a physical desktop isn't working as designed, it means an employee can't use it. There is always a cost associated with downtime, and with physical PCs, companies have no mechanism to recoup that cost. Downtime is rare in the DaaS world, but if your service isn't available when it's supposed to be, the SLA gives your company an avenue to recoup those downtime costs, thereby lowering risk and saving money.

Regaining control with desktop as a service

The irony of using DaaS to regain control of your users' desktops is that the PC revolution was originally a refutation of the restrictions on computing that were common back in the mainframe era.

Once PCs became a popular and capable replacement for computing tasks that previously only a mainframe could do, users had the opportunity and wanted the freedom to customize their desktop experience. But after two decades of letting users run the desktop asylum, IT has seen that the freedom granted to PC users came with a price. It turns out that letting users control every aspect of their computing experience is a costly support nightmare. As a result, many of the Group Policy features in Microsoft Windows and other software products exist specifically to offer granular control of what users can and cannot do.

DaaS takes that concept one step further by hosting desktops in the cloud, where operating system patches and software updates can be tightly controlled and administered. With DaaS, control is back in IT's hands, and that's good for admins and management.

DaaS security

Security is another prime selling point for DaaS. When all your desktops are in the cloud, you don't have to fret about laptops getting damaged or lost along with tons of user data.

You can monitor all the traffic that goes into and out of a hosted desktop for viruses, and you can watch out for improper use of sensitive data. Logging user activities and keystrokes becomes much easier with DaaS. Additionally, when all desktop compute activities are in the cloud, you don't need virtual private network tunnels to access resources as much.

Because users can access everything they need for work inside their hosted desktop, there's no reason for mobile and remote workers to access corporate resources from unsecure networks, possibly bringing in viruses and other malware. Only the remote access protocol passes through the connection, which keeps all data securely in the cloud. Considering that even a single virus infection can cost a shop thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, DaaS' resiliency against viruses should be one of your strongest selling points.

Disaster recovery

When users' desktops, applications and data all reside in the cloud, IT can offer robust disaster recovery (DR) and data protection capabilities that would be complex and expensive to implement on physical desktops. Many IT shops don't have backup processes for individual user desktops.

If your physical desktop hard drive crashes and you didn't back it up manually beforehand, then you'll probably lose all your data. Most IT pros have either dealt with this situation themselves, or they've had to assist hapless users trying to recover data lost when a hard drive or PC crashes. That problem goes away overnight in a DaaS environment because you can administer nightly user data backups in the cloud.

Close the deal

These are just examples of the points you can make when you pitch DaaS to senior management. That's not to say these are the only things you should emphasize, however.  Your company may have specific challenges, costs or organizational requirements that jive with DaaS, which creates additional opportunities for you to sell it.

Always conduct a requirement analysis before even contemplating a large-scale implementation such as DaaS, and use those requirements to focus your pitch on the biggest pain points in your organization. Most IT pros will never become full-time salespeople, but we can all have more success in our IT careers if we pay attention to the techniques and messages we use to secure executive approval of projects such as DaaS.

Next Steps

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