In today’s world of pandemics and work from home (WFH) employment strategies, we have learned to rely more and more on software solutions that bring the office experience into our home offices. We also continue to seek superior user experiences (UI) on our endpoints that aren’t affected by distance – regardless of where we may be outside our actual offices.
One tool that we can use to achieve the ultimate remote working experience is Remote Desktop Services.
What is Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?
Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is Microsoft’s service for application and desktop virtualization. Administrators can use RDS – formerly known as Terminal Services – to deliver pre-packaged and pre-configured applications to meet custom working requirements for remote clients using laptops or thin clients.
The servers do the donkey work of hosting the software, allocating resources, and sharing it with all authorized users. Meanwhile, the remote users get all the shared resources they need without the burden of having to care for or catering to the resources’ hosting, running, management, and maintenance.
The administrators can enable their users with the latest most secure software solutions while they also have full control over the access and can, thus, protect both users and assets.
How does Remote Desktop Services work?
Basically, when Remote Desktop Services has been implemented, it runs on a Windows server – the host – that powers the operating system and applications running on top of it. It creates a virtual desktop that it then projects on the clients’ devices using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). It then proceeds to capture mouse and keyboard inputs from the clients’ devices and sends them back to the server for further actions or responses.
The ten benefits of using Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
1. Leverage legacy devices
Businesses can use or recycle their older computers – they can use their less-capable computers and yet work using the latest technologies. As long as there is a browser and a stable Internet (or LAN) connection, the clients’ endpoints will perform as well as the latest devices, no matter how old the devices may be. Of course, some minimum requirements still need to be met.
2. Enable workers
The ability to access the latest technology means the users will be able to perform better at their assigned tasks. Arming personnel with the right tools results in a more efficient, accurate, and informed workforce. This translates into healthy profits for the businesses employing them.
3. Remote work
Apart from being efficient, the users will also be able to work from home – or anywhere else they may prefer to work from. It makes the employees happy while assuring the business that productivity will not be interrupted because of, say, COVID 19 restrictions. Businesses save on overhead and maintenance of physical structures like buildings and offices.
4. Central storage of data
Remote connection plus platforms like AWS, Azure or GCP create the perfect cloud computing environment that also includes centralized storage in the architecture. There are many advantages here, including:
- Should a user lose data there will always be a copy stored in the cloud
- A secure storage service provided by a professional data hosting company
- No need for businesses to run their own server rooms hire the tech knowhow to maintain it
- The technology behind these storages means read/write processes are also quick and accurate
5. The currency of technology is guaranteed
All software and hardware that is shared by the desktop services providers are kept current, updated, and secured. The administrators can provide the best and latest solutions on the market – sometimes at a fraction of the licensing costs it would take to install them individually on the clients’ side. A central update strategy ensures all users have the latest solutions to work on.
6. Security is guaranteed too
The currency of technology also includes the security systems protecting the entire service providers’ infrastructures. This means the software – like antiviruses, anti-malware, peripheral defense systems, data monitoring tools, and every other software – used to keep data, devices, and networks safe are always current and centrally updated.
7. Easy scalability
Data and processing power requirements increase in proportion to a business’ growth rate. And, should they require more resources to cater to a higher quota of resources – or even due to sudden surges during peak hours, for example – it is easy to quickly scale the current resources to meet the demands.
In fact, most service providers can scale their services with a few clicks.
8. It is cheaper
When a business adopts RDS its IT budget will almost always get smaller. They don’t have to worry about upgrades for software or hardware, licensing issues aren’t as costly, there is no need to keep buying or upgrading to newer versions of the latest technologies, and there is also no need for a server room or an IT lab. All of these features are handled by the service provider.
9. The ability to use any operating system or device
The clients don’t have to all be using Windows to connect to the RDS server. There is no need for conformity – the client can have a Linux machine and use their browsers to connect to the RDS web services. And they can even do it from their Android or iOS mobile devices.
10. Local administrators have full control
Finally, we come to the main reason most businesses opt for remote desktop services – full control over all computers, servers, and workspaces. Administrators can share resources that they deem important to each user, and nothing more. They decide who accesses what and can easily add or remove or applications.
How setup and configure Remote Desktop Services
Here’s a video that shows how to setup Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server 2016:
Things to consider when implementing Remote Desktop Services
Here are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to implementing Remote Desktop Services:
- Licensing – when a business implements an RDS server it needs to consider the licensing requirements which depend on the number of users, applications, and software in use.
- A powerful backend – while the clients do not need anything more than a decent device with a stable and fast Internet connection, the host machine still needs to be powerful enough to carry all their processing powers. The CPU, memory, network, and bandwidth need serious investments.
- Reliable server security – both the host machine and the virtual sessions need to be protected. The server needs to be protected from hackers and malicious users trying to connect from the outside or users trying to exploit vulnerabilities and escape their containers to interact directly with the host’s operating system. Servers should be patched, maintained, and protected at all times.
- High availability – failover mechanisms should be in place – a powerful UPS system, a secondary machine that has a duplicate of each role and services captured on it, and a network configuration that keeps the server online even when the primary connection is down, are some examples of maintaining RDS high availability.
RDS requires the careful installation and management
Let us leave you with a few words of advice: An RDS server is a server that requires expertise when it comes to each step of its lifecycle – from installation to configuration and management during its entire lifetime. Ensuring optimization at all stages of this cycle requires the skills of a certified Microsoft professional. Whenever possible, a business must hire qualified personnel to do the job correctly. A correct installation saves time and money and ensures security all around.