Should I Switch to Windows Virtual Desktops? Pros & Cons of Cloud-based Workstations

Should I Switch to Windows Virtual Desktops? Pros & Cons of Cloud-based Workstations

On September 30, 2019, Microsoft made a pretty big announcement impacting the future of how businesses work. They announced the global availability of their new Windows Virtual Desktop.

For companies that have fully embraced cloud solutions, like Office 365 and instant chat tools, using virtual computer desktop environments will seem like a natural progression. But for others that are still getting used to trusting the cloud, it could sound like something that’s just too different.

There’s no denying that virtualization of software has boosted productivity, mobility, and connectivity within offices. By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will be completely cloud-based.

But there are certain considerations to look at when deciding to go “full-cloud” and make your PCs virtual.

Next, we’ll go over what Windows Virtual Desktop is and the pros and cons to consider before switching from physical to virtual PCs.

What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

The fact that Microsoft is putting their money behind a virtual desktop means they think they’re going to be the “next big thing” that offices adopt as a standard for their workflows.

The Windows Virtual Desktop is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs what you consider “your computer” on the cloud.

This means that instead of loading windows on your hard drive along with all the programs, software, drivers, files, and everything else a computer typically holds, it’s loaded in Azure, on a virtual server, and it can be accessed by any device (computer or mobile device).

Just imagine being able to take your computer with you anywhere you go, with all your settings, files, etc., but without having to actually carry the physical device. This freedom and accessibility from anywhere is what makes virtual desktops such an exciting advancement.

Some of the features of Windows Virtual Desktop include:

  • Provides users with the only multi-session Windows 10 desktop
  • Easily scalable
  • Additional optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus
  • Deploy new desktop environments for employees in minutes
  • Virtualize both desktops and apps
  • Comes with free extended security updates for Windows 7 (for those that can’t upgrade by its EOL date)

Windows Virtual Desktop: Pros & Cons

There are a lot of advantages to moving your desktops to the cloud, just as there is with cloud applications, but there are also some drawbacks to consider. A move to a fully cloud-based office workflow might not be right for every business, especially if you’re in a more remote area without reliable high-speed internet.

Here are the pros and cons to think about before deciding whether or not to upgrade to Windows Virtual Desktops.


How easy it is to access your workstation has a direct impact on productivity. If you work from home and work, having to share files between two computers can be cumbersome and being able to log into the exact same computer no matter where you are could save a lot of time.

But if you’re suffering an internet outage, that means you can’t get to your computer to work at all, which is a disadvantage.

Virtual Desktop Pros:

  • You can access your desktop environment from anywhere
  • You can use a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or PC to access your workspace
  • Setting up remote workers on company work environments is easier

Virtual Desktop Cons:

  • You need to have an internet connection to get to your computer desktop
  • If your Wi-Fi connection is spotty that can mean annoying lags in performance


Data breaches, malware infections, and viruses seem to become a bigger threat each year that goes by. Ensuring all your workstations are secure and continuously updated with patches is vital to your company’s health and wellbeing.

Virtual Desktop Pros:

  • Microsoft invests over $1 billion each year in cybersecurity research and development
  • Azure has more compliance certifications than any other cloud provider
  • A cloud environment makes it easy to ensure all your workstations are updated regularly and you can easily implement security policies

Virtual Desktop Cons:

  • You need to rely on a third party (Microsoft) for hosting of your computer environments
  • Unless you do a local backup, you don’t have your data on premise

Cost of Ownership

When looking at the cost difference between a standard PC and a virtual desktop, comparing a subscription model with a one-time purchase is one consideration, just like it is with cloud services. But another important consideration is the hardware savings.

When you use virtual desktops the physical PC you use to access it does not need to be particularly robust or have a lot of storage, so you can buy lower priced models while still having very robust PC environment.

Virtual Desktop Pros:

  • Low start up costs (they vary according to configuration, but an average is $4.59 per user per month)
  • Save on hardware expenses
  • Your Windows OS is always the current version

Virtual Desktop Cons:

  • You have to pay monthly rather than owning the desktop environment
  • Over time, cost of ownership can flip to being more expensive for virtual desktops (If you don’t update your Windows version or buy new computers)

Are Virtual Desktops Right for Your Office?

Do virtual desktops sound intriguing, but you’re not quite sure how they’ll work? Excedeo can answer all your questions and help you take an objective look at your business and evaluate just how much Windows Virtual Desktops might save you.

Book your free risk assessment now!