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Virtual desktops are often touted for their ability to improve productivity, increase security, make IT management easier and more. These benefits alone are often worth adopting virtual desktops or desktops as a service (DaaS), but it can sometimes be hard to imagine how these cloud based desktops will be used.
Here are four real-world uses cases where virtual desktops can help organizations put those conceptual benefits to use.
We’re in the midst of a major business transition toward remote working. With more than 50% of employees expected to work remotely by 2020, organizations are beginning to embrace this shift and the benefits that come with it. However, the change in how people work is compelling a change in how companies manage employees.
With employees decentralized and largely using personal devices for work, organizations must now figure out a new way to address traditional IT tasks, such as:
Virtual desktops essentially keep all aspects of desktop management in-house – regardless of where employees are located. IT teams apply the appropriate security and controls by use case and can easily push updates and patches as needed (with little to no disruption to an employee’s work day). Opting for virtual desktops also lets organizations determine which operating system is best for its needs and ensure that OS and any necessary applications are delivered to all employees across locations and endpoint devices.
Additionally, virtual desktops keep corporate data and information off individual endpoints, limiting what is exposed if an unauthorized user accesses a remote employee’s device.
Third party contractors are a vital component of today’s business environment. They allow organizations to scale as needed and easily bring on expertise without adding full time headcount. More than 80% of organizations have increased the number of third party contractors they work with in the past year, with an average of 181 vendors now accessing corporate networks every week, according to Bomgar’s Secure Access Threat Report 2017.
However, third party contractors can present a major security risk if not managed correctly. The Bomgar report found that only 37% of companies are confident in their ability to track the number of vendors accessing business systems and only 66% of businesses tailor vendor access to specific systems and applications. With so little insight, oversight and control, it’s unsurprising that 67% of organizations also report that they have experienced a data breach that can be traced to vendor access.
The ability to easily limit the data, systems and applications third party contractors can access is crucial to data security and protecting corporate IP. Virtual desktop golden images make handling these situations easy. Create a golden image based on each vendor use case and those controls are applied to anyone using a secure desktop provisioned off that image. With the right controls in place, no data can be saved to the local environment or an external drive, meaning once you revoke access to a virtual desktop the contractor no longer has any access to your information.
Merging two organizations is no easy task, and the longer the process takes, the more productivity can suffer. During M&A transitions, getting all teams – regardless of location – using the same systems with the same level of security and compliance controls quickly can be critical to bringing an entire organization into compliance and preventing any productivity hiccups.
Virtual desktops offer an easy-to-implement stop gap that allows teams to continue working while tightening security across locations until more permanent changes can be fully implemented. Existing golden images can be used for similar use cases and new golden images can easily be create to address new user groups. IT teams can provision and manage these desktops from a central location and the virtual desktops will work with any endpoint, negating the need for an immediate hardware refresh and avoiding any application compatibility issues.
The recent WannaCry ransomware attack reminded the world how important data backups, disaster recovery and business continuity are. But it doesn’t take a major cyberattack to disrupt business continuity. Something as little as an inaccessible office (i.e. a blizzard, flooding, a power outage to the building) or an employee who unexpectedly needs to stay home (home repair, sick child, etc.) can affect the productivity of one person or an entire office.
If employees have their work computers with them then they can keep working. But if they don’t, they’re stuck not working for the day … or even longer. Virtual desktops offer secure desktop access from any device with an internet connection, meaning employees can use a personal computer at home to access their work desktop. Everything will be exactly where they left it and the employee will have access to all the necessary software and applications, regardless of the model and operating system on their personal device. Any work they do and data they save is within the virtual desktop (not on their local device) mitigating the risk of misplaced work and accidental data exposure that could constitute a data breach. They’re working on their secure work computer, just using a different device.
Those are just a few of the most common reasons organizations turn to virtual desktops. Other quickly emerging uses include extending a HIPAA or PCI compliant workspaces to end users (particularly within contact centers, retail and telemedicine settings) and making business critical applications compatible with BYOD programs.
Looking at desktop virtualization from this angle makes it easier to see how the more conceptual benefits of improved productivity, increased security and easier IT management can be applied to and achieved within the real world use cases today’s organizations are facing.
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