Workspace as a Service, or WaaS for short, is a type of virtual desktop that gives employees access to their office applications and data from anywhere at any time regardless of geography using the device of their choice (i.e., desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones).
It represents the latest step in the evolution of office applications from on-premise (i.e., servers, workstations, software) to cloud-based “as a service” solutions.
WaaS platforms come with everything that’s needed for a person to take care of office-related tasks. That includes things like anti-virus software, backup capabilities, productivity apps such as Office 365, accounting software and much more. (CloudJumper, a WaaS provider, has more than 2,200 applications in its solution, for example.)
WaaS is especially ideal for a small business that can’t afford the internal resources and infrastructure to manage IT services on their own.
According to Max Pruger, chief sales officer at CloudJumper, who spoke with Small Business Trends via telephone, the technology is particularly attractive to companies that have elastic demand for labor or that use a remote workforce.
“Accounting firms, for example, balloon in size during tax season hiring freelancers, many of who work remotely,” he said. “Firms shrink down to normal size afterwards, and we can turn off access to these remote staff immediately.”
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How Does WaaS Work?
From an employee standpoint, use of WaaS is straightforward.
Employees log into the WaaS provider’s service from their device using a remote desktop client and are presented with a virtual desktop environment that looks and works just like their computer at the office.
For service providers, configuring WaaS isn’t complicated and takes as little as a few minutes per workstation or device.
Growth of WaaS
Growth in the use of WaaS is on the rise.
Transparency Market Research (TMR), a market research and consulting firm, stated in a recent report that the global WaaS market will expand at a high 12.10 percent CAGR over the period between 2015 and 2022. TMR expects expansion in the education and health care sectors to be even higher, at 13 percent and 12.9 percent respectively.
“The rising use of industry-specific virtualized applications in these industries will drive the demand for WaaS solutions,” the report said.
TMR also indicated that the market, which had a valuation of $7.4 billion (USD) in 2014, is expected to rise to $18.3 billion by 2022.
What are the Benefits to Using WaaS?
The number of benefits associated with WaaS use is impressive and includes:
Increased Employee Productivity
WaaS solutions enable employees to be more productive and capable of accessing critical applications and data regardless of their geographic location.
Enhanced Work-life Balance
Employees can work from home periodically or when the need arises (to take care of a sick child for instance) without suffering from inferior technology. WaaS providers keep software updated, and the user experience is the same.
Consistency of Environment
Each employee has access to the same applications as everyone else, “whether they are new or have been with the company 20 years,” Pruger said.
“The cost to support devices from the end user perspective is almost nil,” Pruger said. “WaaS providers do all the management on the backend and virtual desktops don’t build up as much junk as the physical machine.”
He added that companies should never have to buy a server again, only to have it depreciate in 3-5 years year or become obsolete even sooner.
“Most companies want to move from capital expenditure to operational expenditure,” he said, and use of WaaS supports that goal. “Now companies have predictable, fixed IT expenses per employee.”
WaaS services complement corporate strategies for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), an approach that is heavily in demand by employees, especially Millennials.
“Employees can bring any device they want because all it’s going to be is a conduit to their desktop in the cloud,” Pruger said.
He mentioned that CloudJumper clients affected by the recent floods in Texas benefited from BYOD and remote access.
“Thanks to WaaS, employees who were unable to get to their offices could work from home using their computers,” he said.
Eliminated IT Hassles
WaaS brings all the company’s desktops to the cloud, eliminating IT hassles. This includes:
- Cloud storage;
- Backup and offsite replication;
- Dedicated business servers;
- MS Office 365 support;
- 24/7 Support.
WaaS offloads all software application and network management so IT can focus on deploying new technologies and systems.
WaaS solutions lock down the desktop, storing data in state-of-the-art, SSAE 16 certified Tier 4 data centers and supports disaster recovery, backups on daily and weekly intervals and built-in protection from hackers and viruses.
Simplified File Storage
No longer will businesses be faced with multiple file servers housed in disparate locations, making it difficult to share data or applications. WaaS houses everything in one place.
|Benefits of Using WaaS||Description|
|Increased Employee Productivity||WaaS solutions boost employee productivity by granting access to critical applications and data from any location, transcending geographical limitations.|
|Enhanced Work-life Balance||Employees can achieve a better work-life balance by working from home when necessary, without compromising technology quality. WaaS providers ensure consistent software updates and user experiences.|
|Consistency of Environment||WaaS guarantees that all employees, regardless of their tenure, have access to the same set of applications, fostering a uniform work environment that facilitates collaboration.|
|Lowered Cost||WaaS reduces the cost of supporting end-user devices significantly. Backend management by WaaS providers minimizes the accumulation of unnecessary data and eliminates the need to invest in servers that quickly depreciate.|
|BYOD Support||WaaS complements Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, enabling employees to use their preferred devices as conduits to access their desktops in the cloud.|
|Eliminated IT Hassles||WaaS relocates all company desktops to the cloud, eliminating IT hassles and responsibilities. This includes cloud storage, backup, offsite replication, dedicated business servers, MS Office 365 support, and 24/7 support.|
|Better Security||WaaS solutions enhance data security by locking down desktops, storing data in secure Tier 4 data centers, and providing robust disaster recovery, daily and weekly backups, and protection against hackers and viruses.|
|Simplified File Storage||WaaS consolidates file storage in one centralized location, eliminating the complexity of managing multiple file servers in disparate locations. This promotes streamlined data sharing and accessibility.|
Cost to Use WaaS
Although prices vary, Pruger said that small businesses could expect to pay, on average, $100 – $150 per month per employee from the MSP. Typically, that also includes management of the physical devices.
“Once they use the virtual workspace, their costs for management of the physical machine drops to almost nothing,” Pruger said. “Also, because the price for WaaS solutions is so low, MSPs can scale their business without having to dramatically increase resource allocations to hire new employees. And they don’t have to be experts in all of the apps available within the WaaS environment either.”
How Do I Get Started Using WaaS?
Several WaaS providers dot the landscape, though none predominate. Most do not work directly with the end user, however, but partner with managed services providers who perform that service.
It’s best to contact an MSP in your area. If none exist or don’t offer WaaS solutions, then call one of the companies below. Perhaps they can direct you to an MSP who can help.
- Artisan Infrastructure;
- The Sixth Flag;
- EaseTechnologies, Inc.
IT services, MSP, telecom or ISVs can also contact these firms to learn more about the benefits of offering white-label WaaS solutions to their clients. CloudJumper, in particular, is actively recruiting managed service providers to either resell or white-label a WaaS environment.
The Shaping of Modern Workspaces with WaaS
Workspace as a Service (WaaS) is revolutionizing the way businesses operate in an increasingly digital world. Here, we delve into the dynamic landscape of WaaS and its transformative impact:
- Defining WaaS: Workspace as a Service (WaaS) is a virtual desktop solution that liberates employees, granting them access to office applications and data from any device, anywhere. This flexibility transcends geographical limitations, enabling users to choose between desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
- Cloud-Powered Transition: WaaS marks the pinnacle of office application evolution, transitioning from on-premise setups to cloud-based “as a service” solutions. This migration empowers organizations with scalability, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness.
- Comprehensive WaaS Ecosystem: WaaS platforms offer comprehensive toolsets, encompassing antivirus software, backup solutions, productivity suites like Office 365, accounting software, and a rich repository of over 2,200 applications in the case of CloudJumper.
- Small Business Advantage: WaaS is a lifeline for small businesses lacking the internal resources and infrastructure to manage IT services independently. It offers enterprise-level technology without the complexity and costs.
- Flexibility for Dynamic Labor Needs: WaaS accommodates businesses with fluctuating labor demands and remote workforces. For instance, accounting firms can scale up during tax season with freelancers working remotely, all seamlessly supported by WaaS.
|Aspect of WaaS||Description|
|Defining WaaS||Workspace as a Service (WaaS) provides employees with access to office applications and data from any device, transcending geographical boundaries. It caters to desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, offering unprecedented flexibility.|
|Cloud-Powered Transition||WaaS represents the evolution of office applications from traditional on-premise setups to cloud-based "as a service" solutions. This transition unlocks scalability, accessibility, and cost-efficiency, redefining how organizations operate in a digital era.|
|Comprehensive WaaS Ecosystem||WaaS platforms offer a comprehensive ecosystem, including antivirus software, backup solutions, productivity suites like Office 365, accounting software, and a vast library of over 2,200 applications, exemplified by CloudJumper.|
|Small Business Advantage||Small businesses benefit immensely from WaaS, gaining access to enterprise-level technology without the need for extensive internal resources and infrastructure. This affordability and simplicity level the playing field for smaller enterprises.|
|Flexibility for Dynamic Labor||WaaS's flexibility suits businesses with dynamic labor needs, such as accounting firms that expand their workforce during peak tax seasons, utilizing remote freelancers. This adaptability supports efficient scaling and remote work arrangements.|
The Soaring Growth of WaaS
WaaS adoption is soaring:
- Transparency Market Research (TMR) anticipates a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.10% in the global WaaS market from 2015 to 2022.
- Sectors like education and healthcare are poised for even more remarkable growth, with projected CAGRs of 13% and 12.9%, respectively.
- Valued at $7.4 billion (USD) in 2014, the market is projected to surge to $18.3 billion by 2022.
Navigating the WaaS Landscape: A Path to Modern Workspaces
Workspace as a Service (WaaS) continues to redefine the workplace, offering flexibility and efficiency. Here, we explore further aspects of WaaS and its impact on the modern business ecosystem:
- Scalability for Growing Businesses: WaaS is a boon for expanding businesses, as it adapts effortlessly to shifting workforce demands. Whether your organization is onboarding new employees or downsizing after peak seasons, WaaS scales to meet your needs without major infrastructure overhauls.
- Global Accessibility: In our interconnected world, WaaS transcends geographical boundaries. Employees worldwide can access their virtual workspaces with ease, fostering global collaboration and eliminating geographical constraints.
- Resource Allocation Efficiency: WaaS optimizes resource allocation by minimizing the need for on-site IT hardware and personnel. Companies can direct their resources toward strategic initiatives and innovation rather than routine maintenance.
- Adaptive Business Models: Businesses with varying labor requirements throughout the year, such as tax preparation firms, find WaaS indispensable. It enables swift adaptation to workforce fluctuations, ensuring operational efficiency during busy and lean periods.
WaaS: A Future-Proof Approach to Modern Work Environments
Workspace as a Service (WaaS) stands at the forefront of modern work environments, providing a glimpse into the future of work. As we delve deeper into the realm of WaaS, we uncover additional facets that illuminate its transformative potential:
- Adaptive Business Continuity: WaaS offers a robust solution for business continuity and disaster recovery. In the face of unforeseen disruptions, such as natural disasters or global events like the recent pandemic, WaaS ensures that employees can seamlessly switch to remote work without compromising productivity.
- Global Collaboration: With WaaS, organizations can foster global collaboration effortlessly. Teams distributed across different time zones and locations can access the same virtual workspace, enhancing teamwork and innovation on a global scale.
- Sustainability: WaaS aligns with sustainability goals by reducing the environmental impact of IT infrastructure. The shift to cloud-based resources minimizes the need for physical servers and hardware, contributing to a greener and more eco-conscious workspace.
- Customization and Scalability: WaaS solutions offer customization options to tailor virtual workspaces to the specific needs of different departments or roles within an organization. This flexibility ensures that employees have access to the tools and applications essential for their tasks. As businesses grow, WaaS scales seamlessly to accommodate increased workloads and user demands.