July 18, 2019

Virtual desktop vs physical desktop

virtual desktop vs desktop

Let’s be real:

Your team would jump at the chance to work from home, at least some of the time.

Unfortunately, this often leads to security problems that are difficult and expensive to manage.

But does it have to be that way?


It’s now possible for staff to safely access their workspace from anywhere in the world, using virtual desktop software that requires no IT expertise from your company, because all the technical support is provided.

This means you:

  • save resources
  • improve productivity
  • give people another reason to stay loyal to your organisation

Our article explores the benefits of using a virtual workspace instead of a physical desktop.

But first:

What is a computer desktop?

Most office employees can’t succeed at their jobs without using their computer desktop on a daily basis. 

This is where they find all of the files, images, toolbars, programs, documents, notes and software needed to perform well in their roles.

There are two different types of computer desktops:

  1. Physical desktop
  2. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

Virtual desktop vs physical desktop

Physical desktop

All data is stored on a single device.

The upside of this traditional approach?

Businesses don’t pay for extra storage, because each PC contains the entire operating system, settings and applications that individuals need to do their work.


This vital information can only be accessed on that machine in that particular location.

Employees who wish to access their PC desktop from another location need to install special remote access software that provides access to your desktop, this isn't an easy undertaking, and without careful consideration, you can expose your work space to bad actors.

Key challenges of using a physical desktop:

  • A drain on IT resources
  • It’s difficult for staff to work remotely
  • The threat of cybercrime 

A drain on IT resources:

It’s time-consuming to patch, backup and maintain an entire fleet of computers. Onsite servers attract hefty upfront costs and only last three to five years. 

You also need to hire skilled IT staff to manage your infrastructure, but they’re not cheap or easy to find. 

Case in point:

Less than 5000 Australian students graduated in ICT each year, according to a report by Deloitte. It’s little wonder that giants like Telstra are moving their technical jobs offshore, in light of this skills shortage.

It’s difficult for staff to work remotely:

A physical desktop is designed to operate in the environment it was set up in, rather than be used on multiple devices in different locations.

Staff are bound to the office most of the time, because working remotely demands too much effort.

Why is this a problem?

  • Work-life balance is a priority for Australians, if a Randstad survey is anything to go by. Most people prefer to spend 30 per cent of their business hours working remotely. You risk losing valuable staff to your competitors, if you don’t make virtual workspaces a viable option.
  • Frustrated staff are less productive when they can’t work from home. Think about how disruptive it is when an employee takes time off because their child is unwell. Imagine how much they would accomplish if they could login to their virtual desktop at convenient hours from their own space?
  • Your talent pool is smaller, because you can’t engage interstate or global employees without worrying about data being compromised. Industries facing skills shortages would certainly benefit from throwing out a wider net.

Managers worry about cybercrime threats:

Businesses of all sizes are being hit by cyber attacks that drain millions of dollars and shatter consumer trust, according to the 2019 Cost of Cybercrime Study

Security problems occur when staff work remotely without a proper system in place, because there’s no patching on software. 

For example, there are huge risks associated with sharing data using popular tools such as Dropbox.

Not to mention:

Many companies don’t update their IT systems on a regular basis, which puts them in the line of fire.

It’s difficult to put onsite work stations on the same patch level at the best of times, let alone provide access to remote users!

Virtual desktop solution

There’s nothing on a physical desktop that users can’t find on a virtual version.

But there’s a key difference:

Authorised workers can securely access a virtual desktop from any location or device with internet access.

They’re not confined to one computer and can easily tap into their usual resources, when working from home or elsewhere.

This process is called desktop virtualisation. 

What is desktop virtualisation?

The desktop operating system is hosted remotely on a separate server, so none of the data is stored on the local device. Authorised users can access the operating system, software and hardware by logging into the cloud.

The virtualisation process separates desktop applications from the physical computer.

VDI software isn’t confined to a single location - it can run on multiple machines through a network.

What’s more:

Computers can host several desktops at a time, which is convenient for those who “wear many hats”. For example, this allows an individual to easily switch between their work desktop, personal desktop and hobby desktop on their home computer.

Desktop virtualisation benefits (VDI for small business):

  • Save money on IT resources
  • Increase productivity and revenue
  • Higher staff satisfaction and retention rates
  • Superior data protection
  • Expand your talent pool
  • Staff can move around the office

Save money on IT resources

There’s no need to worry about installation or technical support. Your provider handles this, as part of your monthly fee for the virtual desktop software.

This brings you savings between 30 and 50 per cent of what you usually spend on maintenance.

Not bad.

Especially when you consider this:

Most companies are increasing their IT budgets so they can upgrade old technology, according to research by Spiceworks

But managers using virtual workplaces get to spend that money elsewhere, since vendors provide the latest infrastructure that’s accessible through the cloud. 

Higher productivity and revenue

You no longer have to wonder if remote employees spend the day checking social media, instead of filing reports. 

A number of studies suggest that flexible working arrangements lead to more productivity, not less.

For example, Chinese travel company Ctrip allowed staff to work from home for nine months.

The results?

Remote staff made 13.5 per cent more calls than office workers, as reported by Harvard Business Review

We’re not surprised by this, having witnessed one of our long-term accounting clients boost their productivity by 20 per cent.

Virtual workspaces give staff access to their data and applications around the clock, so they’re able to get more done when it best suits them. 

An article in Forbes also claims that businesses can save thousands of dollars per month, for every person who works from home. 

Improve staff satisfaction and retention rates

Organisations that offer flexible work arrangements are more likely to retain satisfied employees.

Remember the Ctrip pilot that we discussed earlier?

It turns out that people who worked from home during that period also felt more satisfied and quit at half the rate of their colleagues in the office.

A poll by Hays shows that most staff recognise the importance of setting up workplaces that accommodate the unique needs of employees.

Peace of mind that data is protected at all times

Virtual workspaces are designed to deliver regular security updates with no downtime for the user. The system is maintained by multiple layers of protection: the latest software, patches and service packs. 

Managers don’t have to do anything to block cyber attacks, since the service provider handles all the safeguards. The cloud is more secure than hosting yourself! 

Expand your talent pool

It’s easy for businesses to share data with interstate or international workers in a secure manner. This gives companies stronger recruitment options, because there are more candidates to choose from.

Onsite employees can move around the office

A virtual workplace enables people to sit in teams and collaborate with different staff on a daily basis, depending on the project they’re working on. 

Is virtual desktop infrastructure suitable for your business?

  • Do most of your employees work on desktop computers, instead of laptops?
  • Does your company use more than a few servers?
  • Is there a need for staff to work from home, or remotely?
  • Does it make sense for staff to rotate desks in the office?
  • Are you worried you might run out of storage capacity as your team expands?
  • Do you want peace of mind around cyber security, without managing it yourself?
  • Would you prefer for all IT maintenance to be out of your hands?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, your team would benefit from using virtual desktops instead of physical desktops.

Find out how we can help you build a virtual workplace...

Amaze has been in Australia for twenty years, with 100 per cent data retention rate.

We understand how frustrating it is for managers to lose talented employees who value their work-life balance, so we’ve created the best virtual desktop software.

Our promise to clients:

  • You can forget about your IT and focus on other tasks. We handle it all.
  • No costly add-ons for installation, upgrades, security and maintenance. 
  • Huge cost savings for your business
  • We resolve your technical problems quickly with local support
  • You have full control over your data, which is backed up daily
  • Our insurance protects against theft, fire and unexpected risks


Businesses with virtual workplaces retain loyal staff, attract the best candidates and impress clients with their efficiency.

Contact our expert team to book a free consultation:

  1. We organise a free demo and quote
  2. Migration occurs over the closest weekend (if you desire)
  3. The system is running and we’re on call to support you 24 hours a day

We look forward to speaking with you!

Back to news