With a virtual desktop, everything that you see on your computer screen (the operating system) is actually located on a server rather than on your computer's local drive.
An article on BNews explains what virtual desktops are and how they are being used. Here are some things nonprofits should know about a virtual user interface:
You won't know the difference.
Seriously, if no one told you the OS was on an external server, rather than on your computer, you would not know.
Virtual OS systems are shared.
Rather than having one OS to a system, an OS can be distributed to multiple computers.
You can customize the experience.
User accounts are stored on the server with the OS, allowing individual employees to access their version of the virtual desktop.
Decrease hardware wear-n-tear.
A big problem for nonprofits is the cost of hardware. Did you know computers should be replaced approximately every 3 years? Desktop virtualization can keep a computer in better shape longer because the RAM and hard drive are not being used excessively to maintain the virtual desktop.
Hardware costs will not only drop, but nonprofits can see decreases in costs from electricity, maintenance, and licensing.
Access from outside the office.
If your nonprofit allows you to access the servers via the cloud or a virtual private network (VPN), staff are able to access their virtual desktop when they are away from the office.
When you accidentally spill your coffee on your computer or drop your work laptop, you risk losing all the data on the hard drive. If the desktop is stored on an external server, the individual hardware units are not as big of a concern.