This article is based on a paper from December 2022, written by Alwin van Welie, Fleur Verheij, Sebastiaan Muijs and Dylan Dreyer Varsics. The paper goes in-depth about the rise of “as a Service” (aaS) models in cloud computing, particularly focusing on Desktop as a Service (DaaS). It discusses how DaaS, beyond Software as a Service (SaaS) like Citrix, offers advantages such as reduced overhead costs, improved security, and increased flexibility for remote work. However, DaaS’s effectiveness relies on consistent, high-speed internet, a challenge highlighted by Hongdi Zheng (2021). The article aims to explore DaaS’s benefits for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), emphasising the need for more research in this area. Furthermore, the article goes in depth about DaaS role in transforming SMEs’ IT infrastructure, offering cost savings, flexibility security advantages, and supporting overall digital transformation.
The evolution and significance of DaaS
DaaS represents a significant advancement in cloud computing, offering a complete outsourcing solution for desktop environments. Unlike traditional cloud solutions such as Citrix, which primarily simulate an operating system. DaaS provides a full-fledged virtual desktop experience, hosted entirely on the cloud. This changes the need for powerful computing hardware on-site to create a more streamlined and cost-effective way of managing IT.
DaaS has emerged as a key player in the cloud computing landscape, which can be attributed to its ability to address some of the most IT-related challenges faced by SMEs today. With its scalable and flexible nature, DaaS could empower businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and technological advancements. This adaptability is essential for SMEs striving to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world, as emphasised by Susan Moore (2022) in her analysis of the growing trend of cloud-based solutions.
The research used a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to improve the research’s validity and reliability. The qualitative research methods from the paper existed of archival research and interviews. The quantitative research part of this research consists of a composed survey. The survey was conducted to get insight into the computer systems that SMEs use for daily operations.
The conceptual framework illustrates how SMEs’ concentration on their primary business activities is influenced by two key independent variables, a mediator, and a moderator. The independent variables are the costs and the security associated with DaaS. The mediator in this model is the ‘adoption of DaaS within SMEs,’ signifying that the choice between DaaS and its alternatives can impact how much SMEs can focus on their core business activities. The role of the moderator is played by stable latency, indicative of the reliability of the connection between the end-user and the DaaS provider. The model suggests that both a reduction in costs through DaaS usage and enhancements in security offered by DaaS are likely to amplify SMEs’ focus on their primary operations.
- H1: SMEs are, by using DaaS, better able to focus on their primary processes/activities.
- H2: Using DaaS is (on average) more costly in comparison to using traditional laptops/PCs within SMEs.
- H3: Security within SMEs is improved when DaaS is fully implemented.
- H4: With a stable latency (ping), DaaS provides a more efficient and flexible way of working for SMEs
The research questions have been compiled and answered. Different qualitative and quantitative methods have been used to answer the main and sub-research questions. The key findings are presented.
1. Effects of DaaS on the primary processes within SMEs
The findings indicate that implementing DaaS in Small and SMEs significantly enhances their focus on primary business activities. The conducted survey showed that a majority of SMEs are already using cloud services, with many facing challenges in scaling IT resources. DaaS emerged as a solution to these challenges, offering improved focus on core activities and up-to-date systems. An interview with an SME using cloud solutions, including DaaS, underscored the benefits of increased flexibility and data accessibility. Despite some initial hesitation due to unfamiliarity, there was noticeable interest in DaaS. Statistically, the survey results confirmed the positive impact of DaaS on SMEs’ primary processes (t (13) = 13.519, p = <0.001), aligning with previous research that highlights the flexibility and rapid adaptability provided by cloud-based services. These findings suggest DaaS not only enhances operational efficiency but also helps SMEs focus more effectively on their primary goals.
2. Costs of DaaS within SMEs
The cost of DaaS depends on various factors, including the number of users, the type and amount of applications used, and bandwidth requirements. An interview with a DaaS expert revealed that the total costs are influenced by the extent of DaaS implementation and the existing IT infrastructure of the organization. Although DaaS might have higher initial costs, its scalability and managed services could lead to significant savings over time, particularly for SMEs which are rapidly growing. The expert stressed that DaaS’s benefits, like enhanced focus on core activities and reduced IT management workload, can outweigh its costs, potentially making it a cost-effective solution for SMEs in the long run. If organisations grow and use more digital services, the required bandwidth grows as well. The general rule of thumb: the more end-users DaaS has, the more bandwidth is needed (Ben Town, 2014).
3. Security of DaaS within SMEs
Exploring the adoption of DaaS by SMEs, showed varied expectations around security enhancements. Our survey revealed that while some employees foresee a minor increase in security with DaaS, others expect no change or a potential decrease, leading to a lack of consensus on DaaS’s impact on security. However, expert opinions suggest that DaaS could provide significant security benefits for SMEs, which are often more susceptible to cyberattacks (Ozkan & Spruit, 2022). The shift of security responsibilities to DaaS providers, who possess broader experience and advanced data protection resources (Bryce, 2019), can potentially improve SMEs’ cybersecurity. The providers’ certifications, their experience across various client scenarios, and their ability to respond swiftly in crises (Eman, Hatem, Sherif, 2012; Mourato, 2021).
4. Efficiency and flexibility of DaaS within SMEs
Our research showed that stable latency in DaaS contributes to enhancing efficiency and flexibility in SMEs. Key to stabilizing DaaS usage are strategies such as choosing Managed DaaS Providers (MDPs) with failover mechanisms (Anunta Tech, 2020) and implementing Intelligent and Reliable Transmission Schemes (IRTS) (Hongdi Zheng, 2021) for consistent performance. Survey findings revealed mixed opinions among SMEs regarding the efficiency and flexibility benefits of DaaS. While some appreciated DaaS for facilitating remote work, concerns about provider dependency and connectivity issues were noted. The Quality of Experience (QoE), including aspects like fast boot-up times and single sign-on access (Md. Abu Layek, 2016), emerged as a crucial factor in ensuring stable DaaS connections. Ultimately, the study suggests that while DaaS has the potential to improve operational efficiency and adaptability for SMEs, the realization of these benefits varies based on each organization’s specific requirements and infrastructure.
This article, which examined the impact of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), found that implementing DaaS led to an increased focus on primary processes and activities. The study revealed that DaaS could reduce expenses related to laptops and IT management for growing SMEs, although the impact varied depending on the organization’s existing IT infrastructure and future goals. Additionally, the research indicated that the effect of DaaS on data security was ambiguous, but it shifted the IT department’s workload more towards primary business activities. The benefits of efficiency and flexibility from DaaS were found to depend on the specific needs of the SME, with a recent trend of DaaS providers focusing more on the needs of SMEs. The study concluded that DaaS offered significant growth potential for SMEs, especially smaller or starting businesses, but the benefits and appropriateness of DaaS varied based on each organization’s particular circumstances.
Future research on Desktop as a Service (DaaS) in SMEs should focus on creating industry-specific models to determine the relevance and optimal implementation of DaaS solutions across different sectors. Additionally, there is a need for more detailed research on the impact of DaaS on primary processes and activities within SMEs, which was not fully explored due to time and data limitations. A deeper analysis of DaaS costs is also necessary, taking into account the diverse sizes and sectors of SMEs to provide more specific and generalizable insights into the financial implications of DaaS adoption.
Thank you for engaging with this article, where we have explored the transformative impact of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). If you are interested in more cloud-related solutions please see our other articles on the cloud topic.
Anunta Tech. (2020, 03 20). Choosing a Managed DaaS Provider. Retrieved from Anunta Tech: https://www.anuntatech.com/blog/choosing-a-managed-daas-provider/
Ben Town. (2014, October 02). How much bandwidth does Desktop as a Service use? Retrieved November 02, 2022, from Hosted Network: https://www.hostednetwork.com.au/blog/bandwidth-desktop-as-a-service/
Bryce, C. (2019). Security governance as a service on the cloud. Journal of Cloud Computing, 8-23.
Hongdi Zheng, J. W. (2021). IRTS: An Intelligent and Reliable Transmission Scheme for Screen Updates Delivery in DaaS. ACM Transactions on MUltimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications, 24.
Md. Abu Layek, T. C.-N. (2016). Adaptive desktop delivery scheme for provisioning quality of experience in cloud desktop as a service. The Computer Journal, 15. Retrieved from The Computer Journal.
Mourato . (2021). Security and privacy in cloud computing: simple checklist to virtualization.
Susan Moore. (2022, February 9). Gartner Says More Than Half of Enterprise IT Spending in Key Market Segments Will Shift to the Cloud by 2025. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from Gartner: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2022-02-09-gartner-says-more-than-half-of-enterprise-it-spending
Yigit Ozkan, B., & Spruit, M. (2022). Adaptable Security Maturity Assessment and Standardization for Digital SMEs. Journal of Computer Information Systems , 1-23.