Cybersecurity and Compliance with Desktop-as-a-Service

  • By The Cloud Factory
  • January 5, 2023

Desktop-as-a-Service is a way for organizations to provide desktop applications over a network. With this service, an organization does not actually execute the applications on servers in the data centre but instead utilizes remote display protocols to give the user a localized look and feel. Though, in many ways, a good Desktop-as-a-Service provider like Azure provides better security than traditional hard-wired desktop computing as it takes care of many essential security practices such as software configurations to ensure that users execute software securely. However, the question is why is it important to manage security in the virtual desktop environment?

The answer is simple: the probability of data breach increases in the cloud environment if proper security and compliance protocols are not implemented. For instance, 79% of companies have experienced a cloud data breach in the last 18 months. That is the reason many companies are concerned about the cybersecurity and compliance issues arising in such solutions, while taking advantage of its benefits.

Read More: An Introduction to Desktop-as-a-Service: Windows 365 And Azure Virtual Desktop

It is your responsibility to ensure the security of your cloud infrastructure. Desktop-as-a-Service requires more security layers to prevent internal and external cyber-attacks.

This post will discuss best practices to secure your virtual desktop environment:

1. Enable Multifactor Authentication

Users can sign into Azure Virtual Desktop from anywhere using different types of clients. That makes it difficult to manage security settings. Multifactor authentication provides extra protection by requiring users to know their password and something else unique before they can log in. In some cases, the deployment of MFA/2FA can cause obstacles for users as it slows down their ability to do their job, but it is important from security standpoint.

2. Conditional Access System

The problem discussed in the multifactor authentication can be addressed largely through Conditional Access System that allows to selectively apply these measures on a case by case basis based on the sensitivity of information being accessed through the service. With Conditional Access feature, which comes in-built in a standard Desktop-as-a-Service such as Azure or Microsoft, you can prevent unauthorized users from accessing your virtual desktop environment.

Enabling Conditional Access allows you to quickly decide who your user is and whether they can access Azure Virtual Desktop. The solution works across-computer, tablet, and phone environments as well as on demand.

3. Restrict User Access

Restricting access to selected data is an effective way of protecting sensitive information. Access to data is controlled by various security gates, such as group memberships and network policies, that can be applied to your Virtual Desktop-as-a-Service environment. Achieving zero trust on Azure becomes essential in ensuring data protection. Limit Azure users’ access to sensitive data by giving them a specific token that they will have to provide to each request. Also, monitor and track all the interactions with your VDI environment ensures that your data access is safe and secure.

4. Use a Key Management Solution

To keep data safe from cyber threats and malicious users, Azure offers a robust tool like Azure Key Vault. The vault can be used as a key management tool that can help secure keys and secrets like API credentials. During application development, these keys are not hard coded within the app or platform itself; instead, they are retrieved from the vault at runtime through API calls or other programmatic access. Only the developers that created these keys can grant access for usage in development or testing. These keys can be stored on the cloud and accessed globally without additional hardware costs.

5. Keep Audit Logs Safe and Maintain Regular Monitoring

To discover a breach, you need to locate the source. Activity logs can prove a tremendous asset because they can tell you which system was responsible for the breach. For instance, just by tracking activity logs, you can know what has been happening in your organization.
In the Microsoft Virtual Desktop environment, there are enough features, tools and functionalities through which you can easily monitor logs from multiple sources like activity logs, session hosts, key vault logs etc. For example, Microsoft Defender for Cloud can protect your session hosts from next-generation threats. If you use a partner endpoint solution, ensure that the solution can verify its state.

Managing Compliance

It is important that you review your organization's regulatory compliance policies with your compliance team and implement the appropriate controls for your Azure Virtual Desktop landing zone. That is where Microsoft offers an advantage. Using Microsoft Defender for Cloud can help streamline your process for meeting regulatory compliance requirements through its regulatory compliance dashboard. You can easily add built-in or customized compliance standards to the dashboard.


To survive in today's competitive marketplace, businesses must be able to pivot quickly to changing markets and demands. Cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service allows them to do so by providing flexibility, scalability, reduced costs and increased security. However, managing security and meeting compliance and governance norms are crucial for instilling confidence among users.

Drop an email to set up a 30-minutes call to know more about how you can leverage Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop to meet the demands of the hybrid era.