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Six Workspace as a Service Myths Debunked

November 16, 2015 No Comments

Featured article by JD Helms, President, nGenx

If you’re not using Workspace as a Service (WaaS) yet, it may be because you don’t fully grasp what it really is, how much it does, and how hot the global market is projected to become. As with many emerging technologies in a growth phase, WaaS is often underestimated and misunderstood. But if industry forecasts hold true, WaaS just may be the next big thing in the IT services space. To help shed light on why this is so, here are six busted myths about WaaS:

Myth 1: Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and WaaS are identical.

Fact: DaaS suggests a single location at which companies can come in and add their data and applications themselves. It typically doesn’t include anything except the desktop/shell. In contrast, Workspace as a Service (WaaS) provides a virtual workspace that models the types of resources that users would have at their desk within a physical office environment. DaaS and WaaS are both subcategories of Software as a Service (SaaS), which involves vendors delivering services on the Web, not sending software on digital storage media.

But unlike DaaS, WaaS offers a complete turnkey package that includes not only the desktop, but the applications, data storage, and virtualization across devices. WaaS is the glue that holds all of IT together, killing a silo approach to administering these functions individually. When WaaS is implemented, business users no longer need to install applications on their own computers; instead they can easily access applications and their computer desktops via the cloud from any device—whether desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. WaaS technology replaces the need to store and operate users’ workspaces (app, desktop, and data) on their own computers.

Think of WaaS as a way for end users to log into a vendor’s service and gain access to a desktop that operates just like the one in their office. Users will have the operating system that they need, all of their files, and the same security protocols installed on their office computer—a cloud-based virtual workspace that clones what their physical computer can offer. Another advantage of WaaS is that it centralizes operational IT with one vendor, meaning there is only one company to call and a single provider to manage user data.

Myth 2: WaaS is a passing fad that won’t be relevant in five years.

Fact: The latest market research from multiple sources suggests quite the opposite of this theory. A recent report from IDC predicts growth from $282 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion by 2018 for the hosted WaaS market. This represents a five-year CAGR of 42.5 percent. Another study by Transparency Market Research values the global WaaS market at $7.47 billion in 2014, with projected growth at a CAGR of more than 12 percent between 2015 and 2022. MarketsandMarkets forecasts significant growth in this market, expecting it to essentially double from $4.76 billion in 2014 to $9.41 billion in 2019, with a CAGR of nearly 15 percent. While these projections all differ slightly, the common denominator is that they each provide clear evidence that WaaS is here to stay, and will only increase in popularity.

Related research also bodes well for the staying power of WaaS. The majority of all software applications now are being developed for the cloud. The benefits of SaaS versus on-premise solutions are too compelling to overlook, since so many studies point to the long-term growth of the cloud:

Gartner forecasts that there will be 4.9 billion connected devices in 2015, up from 3.8 billion in 2014.

Computerworldreports that 43 percent of IT executives expect their budgets to increase in 2015, up from 36 percent in 2014.

– A CSC Globalstudy shows that80 percent of CIOs report moderate-to-heavy investing in private cloud.

– A 2015 IDC report reveals thatonly 25 percent of enterprises have what can be considered repeatable, managed, or optimized cloud strategies.

If you need more evidence, consider that Generation Y and Millennials see WaaS as a way to change the workplace, allowing them to work from home and improve work-life balance. By 2022, 41 percent of the workforce will be working from home, and more than 13.4 million people already do so in the U.S. alone. WaaS is poised to expand its market share as a key tool for working from home while helping people easily stay engaged with the office.

WaaS services also complement the continuing corporate shift toward BYOD. In fact, MarketsandMarkets credits the increasing adoption of BYOD as a major force driving the WaaS market. Market researcher Gartner Inc. predicts that by 2016, nearly 40 percent of companies will mandate BYOD by no longer providing devices to employees. Gartner also forecasts that 85 percent of organizations will implement BYOD by 2020.

Myth 3: Security is a major concern when it comes to WaaS.

Fact: Since WaaS is a cloud solution, some people voice the same concerns about it as with any other cloud computing environment, worrying about the security of everything from data transfer and software interfaces to user access control. Other concerns are whether user data, applications, and user credentials get stored in the cloud.

Despite these concerns, WaaS features centralized storage that reduces the chance of data loss and thereby provides greater security. Most WaaS providers configure their architecture so that application data flows between the user’s device and the data center, keeping applications securely in your company’s data center. Traffic doesn’t generally flow through the cloud, so no new security concerns are raised. The same goes for credentials, which usually flow between a device and your company’s existing authentication mechanisms, without storing sensitive data in the cloud.

Thus, as long as your WaaS provider has the right data center credentials, the provider’s Tier IV data center will be much more secure than an SBM server room. Even companies attempting to maintain their own data centers as part of the IT function are better off moving to WaaS, as data center management is best left to those who focus exclusively on this task. Giving it any less attention than that is opening your company up for a security breach.

Myth 4: Custom and graphical software applications don’t play well in the cloud.

Fact: While this may be the most legitimate myth on the list, it’s also an antiquated one. Back in 2009, even the most respectable WaaS provider would have had to wave the white flag on this—but no longer. Today’s cloud is fast, robust, and highly accessible, so the user experience with custom and graphical software applications simply isn’t an issue.
Myth 5: Doing it in-house is just less expensive.

Fact: This is another statement that may have been true five years ago, but has today been relegated to myth status since the standard cost of a WaaS seat is now around $40. That includes infrastructure, storage (personal and company), data backup, all line of business applications, management of the solution, and more. In addition to lowering costs by making IT staffs more effective, WaaS also augments the efficiency of an organization’s entire staff, since people can work from anywhere with access to all of their files from all of their devices.

Myth 6: If there is no Internet, I can’t work.

Fact: While this could conceivably pose a concern to some users in very remote locations, it’s certainly not going to affect most people because there are so few places now without Internet access. Today’s reality is that there are usually multiple choices for accessing the Internet at any given time: from your phone as a hot spot and your home, to any respectable web-enabled business dotting the globe (often for no cost). Even airplanes—once a no-Internet stronghold—now provide access. With such pervasive Internet services now available, the fear that if the Internet goes down your workspace goes down becomes a thing of the past.

These six myths about WaaS are pervasive but when put to the test, don’t hold water. The truth is that WaaS solutions offer many important benefits to competitive organizations that range from a flexible workspace that offers users the mobility they need, to centralized storage for more secure online access to data.

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