Why Schools Are Adopting Amazon WorkSpaces for Distance Learning

Colleges, universities, and K-12 schools continue to turn to Amazon WorkSpaces as a crucial element in their distance learning strategies. The popular “Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)” solution from Amazon Web Services (AWS) enables your IT department to provide students and faculty access to their desktops and applications – from anywhere, on any device. In addition, remote desktops can be scaled up and scaled down in real-time through the power of the AWS cloud. This allows for greater flexibility, especially in a world where schools must plan for unscheduled lockdowns and quarantine procedures.

What is Amazon WorkSpaces?

Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed, persistent desktop virtualization service enabling your users to access the data, applications, and resources they need, anywhere, anytime, from any supported device. This cloud-first solution provisions either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to students and faculty across the globe. The features below outline the tremendous functionality available to your IT department when designing custom virtual desktop experiences for students and faculty.


  • Choose your operating system (Windows or Amazon Linux) and select from a range of hardware configurations, software configurations, and AWS Regions.
  • Choose your protocol: PCoIP or WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP).
  • Connect to your WorkSpace and pick up from right where you left off. Provides a persistent desktop experience.
  • Provides the flexibility of either monthly or hourly billing.
  • Deploy and manage applications for your Windows WorkSpaces by using Amazon WorkSpaces Application Manager (Amazon WAM).
  • For Windows desktops, you can bring your own licenses and applications, or purchase them from the AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps.
  • Create a standalone managed directory for your users or connect your virtual desktop to your on-premises directory so that your users can use their existing credentials to obtain seamless access to school resources.
  • Use the same tools to manage virtual desktops that you use to manage on-premises desktops.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) for additional security.
  • AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) to encrypt data at rest, disk I/O, and volume snapshots.
  • Control the IP addresses from which users are allowed to access their resources.

Amazon WorkSpaces: Benefits for Schools and Distance Learning

School systems across the globe are realizing the huge benefits of embracing the cloud and Amazon WorkSpaces as part of their Distance Learning strategy. Here are some of the benefits to your IT department in provisioning and managing your remote desktop environment.

Amazon WorkSpaces is Easy to Use

Amazon WorkSpaces is easy to configure, easy to deploy, and easy to integrate existing users. Installation and deployment for this product takes about an hour.

Enhanced Security and Access Control

WorkSpaces is deployed within an Amazon Virtual Private Network (VPN). This provides users access to persistent encrypted storage volumes through the AWS cloud and integrated with AWS Key Management Services. In short, the data flows through enterprise-grade encryption independent of the network access endpoint, resulting in higher-tiered security.

Streamlined Deployment and Management of Applications

IT departments now have the capability to configure thousands of computers and deploy them to students and faculty in a matter of minutes. Using the power of AWS cloud, you can easily select options for processors, memory, and storage and deploy those resources for as many workstations you need – anytime, anywhere!

Seamless Integration into Active Directory

Amazon WorkSpaces uses directories to store and manage information for your WorkSpaces and users. For your directory, you can choose from Simple AD, AD Connector, or AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Managed Microsoft AD. In addition, you can establish a trust relationship between your AWS Managed Microsoft AD directory and your on-premises domain.

Amazon WorkSpaces Supports Multiple Devices

Since WorkSpaces supports Linux, macOS, and Windows, the number of device types supported is staggering. This includes monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, headsets, webcams, and other peripherals. For your IT department, the solution could save potentially thousands of dollars (if not millions) on costly hardware refreshes.

Amazon AppStream 2.0 Adds More Muscle to Distance Learning

As robust as Amazon WorkSpaces is, the robust desktop streaming solution does have a few limitations. Amazon AppStream 2.0 fills in the gaps by enabling apps built for specific devices to be accessed by any device. For example, there are applications that only run on Chromebooks, and can’t be accessed through Surface devices. With AppStream 2.0, those same Chromebook applications are now available to users on Surface devices, as well as all desktop, laptop, and tablet devices. In short, this solution perfectly complements Amazon WorkSpaces and creates a more immersive distance learning experience for both students and faculty. In addition, this application streaming service saves schools thousands of dollars on costly hardware upgrades and refreshes.

Working with an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner

As easy as it is to implement Amazon Workspaces into your distance learning strategy, there are still ever-evolving AWS best practices that you may not be aware of. An AWS Advanced Consulting Partner possesses access to resources and enablement programs designed to educate you on best cloud practices. In addition, AWS Advanced Consulting Partners streamline your cloud deployments with their bench of industry-certified cloud engineers.

Think of AWS Advanced Consulting Partners as an extended bench of your IT team. Utilize them as much, or as little, as you need to achieve your distance learning goals for your school system.

To discover more about Amazon WorkSpaces, please contact Strategic Communications by visiting https://www.yourstrategic.com/contact-us.

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