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Should IT use desktop management tools in the cloud?

Desktop management was more straightforward before cloud computing came along. With cloud-based desktop management tools, organizations must choose wisely.

On-premises desktop management tools are no longer the only game in town. Like many other utilities, desktop management...

tools are now available in the cloud.

But just because IT can take something to the cloud doesn't necessarily mean it should. As a result, it's important for IT professionals to evaluate the benefits of desktop management tools in the cloud and on-premises.

When deciding between desktop management tools in the cloud or on-premises, IT pros should start by examining the features available in each tool. Cloud-based tools work much better than they did even a couple of years ago. On-premises tools, on the other hand, have historically been more feature-rich than their cloud counterparts, so it's very important to make sure that the product IT selects meets the needs of the organization.

Use cases for desktop management tools in the cloud

Desktop management tools really excel in two main areas in the cloud. First, they are well-suited to large organizations with more than one office. If an organization's users are scattered across multiple offices, IT pros are probably going to have an easier time managing those users' desktops through a cloud-based product. The very nature of desktop management tools in the cloud makes them an ideal choice for organizations that have desktops in multiple locations because it cuts down the cost of installing the tools on each device. It also reduces the need for IT to travel to different office locations to maintain users' desktops.

Cloud-based services almost always cost more than on-premises options in the long run, because of the ongoing costs.

A second situation that may warrant the use of desktop management tools in the cloud is in organizations where users work remotely and use a variety of mobile devices. There are, of course, mobile device management products that can run on premises, but cloud service providers are often better equipped to handle a mixture of PCs and mobile devices.

Cost comparison

One more issue IT pros must consider is pricing. The initial cost of implementing on-premises desktop management tools is almost always significant because IT also has to purchase the software licenses it requires and the hardware to run the management tool. These are generally one-time costs, however.

On the other hand, a cloud tool allows an organization to avoid the startup costs because the vendor takes care of all the back-end infrastructure. The cloud provider will even guarantee that the software is installed correctly. The one area where costs can add up, though, is with the subscription fees IT must pay to use the service. In fact, cloud-based services almost always cost more than on-premises options in the long run, because of the ongoing costs.

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