The proliferation of PC hardware and software in the marketplace has long made PCs complicated endpoints to configure, manage, secure and maintain.
These complexities can leave users and organizations vulnerable to support and security problems if they are understaffed or lack the proper training. Business and IT leaders constantly seek ways to mitigate endpoint risks and costs, and one approach they can take is to enter a PC-as-a-service licensing agreement.
What is PCaaS?
A PC as a service (PCaaS) model is an agreement where organizations pay vendors to handle hardware lifecycle management from device distribution to device retirement. An organization can forego traditional PC ownership in favor of this leasing model where the PC hardware and often software such as the operating system and key applications are procured through a fixed-duration lease or subscription.
The key to PCaaS is support for the endpoint's complete lifecycle for the duration of the service. An organization selects the PC model, software suite or bundle that includes both of those and perhaps a variety of related services such as on-site support or remote data backup. The PCaaS provider then prepares and ships the PCs to the business, assists with deployment if needed and maintains the fleet through monitoring and maintenance. When the lifecycle ends, organizations then return PCs to the PCaaS vendors and refresh the fleet.
Organizations can enter a PCaaS agreement to offload more everyday IT tasks to outside vendors. This allows IT staff to focus on more mission-critical operations and strategic planning. Financially, the capital cost of large-scale PC procurement and software licensing is replaced with an Opex model where costs are paid monthly and spread over the lease term. This provides more spending certainty for organizations, which can help in some situations.
7 benefits that PCaaS can provide
Like any business technology, organizations need to learn all about the service's benefits and what value it could provide. Here are seven positive effects that a PCaaS agreement could provide.
1. A wide array of available endpoints
PCaaS vendors such as Dell and HPE manufacture a wide array of PCs ranging from entry-level systems to powerful graphics-accelerated platforms. Most, if not all, of these PCs are included in PCaaS plans, so organizations can select the best PC model to fit user needs. Customers can also make alterations to these endpoints within the PCaaS plan. They can tailor the endpoints to optimize performance, storage and other attributes.
2. Streamlined PC deployment and retirement
PCaaS vendors are experts at volume system configuration, delivery logistics and deployment. With the help of these vendors, organizations can evaluate their business needs and provide professional support for system installation and integration into the business environment. Conversely, PCaaS providers supply the shipping and logistics expertise to remove, wipe data from, and warehouse the retired systems. This relieves a significant administrative burden from organizations.
3. Outsourced monitoring and support
Managing and supporting a high volume of PC endpoints can be an enormous burden on IT departments. PCaaS providers can configure a fleet of PCs with telemetry to monitor the health configuration of every system and automatically report issues or events that might cause PC downtime. This telemetry can automatically create help desk tickets with the PCaaS provider that handles 24/7 support and troubleshooting requests directly.
4. Endpoint cost control
Organizations can find PCaaS attractive because of the Opex cost model, allowing them to acquire a complete fleet of endpoints and address the cost as a recurring monthly expense rather than a large initial capital outlay. The recurring cost also includes support throughout the entire PC lifecycle, so no additional costs are involved for troubleshooting, removal, disposal or other issues that might pop up. The leasing model can be easier for a business to budget and track financially.
5. PCaaS contract flexibility
Cost control isn't simply a matter of converting Capex to Opex. PCaaS providers can offer a variety of payment lifecycle options, such as:
- Conventional lease: Pay over time, often with an option to own the endpoints.
- Lease to own: Pay over time with the intention to own.
- Software payments: Spread the cost of software over time.
- Metered use: Pay based on the amount of system utilization -- known as pay-per-use.
- Flexible payments: Scale systems and payments up or down or opt for system upgrades within the contract term.
6. Endpoint security
PC endpoints present one of the broadest attack vectors and biggest threats to enterprise security. These security threats stem from the many different OEMs, numerous OS versions and updates, unmonitored configurations, uncertain software versions and countless other variations between individual PCs.
PCaaS agreements can provide hundreds and thousands of identical PCs with PCaaS security services to help prevent and remediate attacks, encrypt data and support secure access from any device location. Organizations can implement and maintain these security capabilities across the entire PCaaS fleet to ensure a consistent security posture.
7. Accelerated endpoint refresh cycles
PCs that organizations purchase and own tend to remain in use far beyond their ideal lifecycle as executives and IT leaders try to extract maximum value from their hardware investments. However, this can result in higher maintenance costs and potential security vulnerabilities.
The limited duration of PCaaS contracts ensures that endpoints are retired and replaced regularly, bringing new endpoint technologies into the enterprise on a broader and more frequent basis. This approach can optimize hardware performance and ensure the devices enable high productivity within these organizations.