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Requirements to consider before implementing Remote Desktop Services

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RDS
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As valuable educational tool, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) solutions have become useful for many universities. As a powerful way to connect with students via a remote desktop connection. An RDS server offers access to apps, resources and documentation that would otherwise be inaccessible to students at home.

When considering an RD gateway within a higher education facility, it’s important to know more about the requirements needed before and during implementation.

What is RDS?

RDS, or Remote Desktop Services, is a remote desktop connection that higher education organizations can implement to allow for the virtual access of desktops and applications. Instead of installing software on specific devices, users can instead log into an online server to access resources remotely from any location.

Due to this flexibility, RDS servers work well within higher education, allowing access from various devices without the extensive costs of multiple licences for apps and software across individual devices.

What requirements should you consider before implementing RDS?

Before implementing RDS within an organizations, there are a number of important factors to be considered to ensure that the solution runs well and provides students with the software and apps they need, when they need it.

Hardware requirements

While those accessing a remote desktop connection won’t need computing power to run apps and desktops, RDS still requires a host server to function. That means investment in a powerful server that can meet student demand and allow access to potentially hundreds of users at a single time is important. As such, the processor, memory and network of an RDS solution require significant investment to run correctly.

System requirements

In addition to the physical side of having an RDS server, there’s also the system requirements of your remote desktop sessions to consider. That means having the right technology in place to handle constant usage and students having the right software and compatible devices for consistent access.

With a specific system required, there may be limits to what students can access and the functionality of the system for individual students. This is especially true with Windows-based servers, where workarounds for other operating systems will be required to provide the same degree of accessibility to everyone.

For easier access to apps and software for remote services, solutions such as AppsAnywhere can offer a way to provide this and a continuity of education for students, no matter where they are.

Licensing requirements

Licensing should also be considered when implementing RDS within an organization. Depending on the apps or software required, a Client Access License or a Subscriber Access License for use with any Microsoft based server will be required.

It’s also important to determine how many licenses are needed to meet the demands of students and what is included or not allowed as part of individual software and app licenses. The number of licenses should always exceed the number of students to ensure consistent access, even as the number of students grows and changes.

Finding out if additional licenses or permissions are required for the specific apps, resources or tools being used will be essential for an effective end solution, depending on the number of students accessing the terminal server. Many educational resources require a per-user license, which means that access through a virtual desktop still requires individual logins or a different form or licensing altogether which may have an increased cost.

Learn more about licensing for RDS solutions by reading our guide.

Server requirements

Consistency and quality require investment, which is particularly important for the server used for an RDS solution. Determining usage requirements before implementation can be a challenge for any organization, making it difficult to know how the server will run until it’s live. In higher education, where consistent accessibility is essential, that means the server will need to have enough capacity for expansion.

The server itself needs to be powerful enough to withstand heavy usage and high numbers of students accessing it at the same time. Beyond this, it’s also crucial that the chosen server provides the best service to students. Lag, long load times and even potential crashes and timeouts can harm student’s access to the system, making it much more difficult for them to access the resources and apps they need to succeed.

Security requirements

Security is a crucial element in any form of technology used within higher education. The session host server used for the desktop connection is no exception to this. Having the proper security in place to provide the best possible standard of service to students consistently will help to keep the system safe from outside attacks but maintain student satisfaction. An unprotected RDP server is a risk to the whole organization and it’s vitally important that suitable measures are in place from implementation.

These measures should include, at the minimum, high-level encryption and network-level authentication to prevent access from malware or other malicious sources. Limiting user logins can also help to ensure a higher standard of protection and the inclusion of changing passwords and similar features. In addition, once students leave the organization, unused logins should be removed from the system.

While RDS solutions have become popular for many higher education facilities, this doesn’t mean they are the only option on the market. At Software2, solutions such as AppsAnywhere provide cost-effective solutions that provide students with the access they need, when they need it.

Get in touch with our team today to find out more about RDS solutions and other remote learning solutions from Software2.