Virtual workspaces can be a great way to give remote workers access to the same systems and resources. These environments can be a great way to maximize your potential. Here are some tips.
Many companies have supported remote access in the past two years thanks to the pandemic. In some cases, they have closed down physical sites and allowed remote workers to work 100% remotely. This has allowed workers and organizations to save money, as they have reduced or eliminated on-premises resources. It also saved commute costs and vehicle maintenance.
Remote access to a large workforce with varying needs and requirements can be done easily. Rather than dealing with deploying thick client applications to user workstations or having to wade through headaches over providing a multitude of firewall access requests for these workstations to help employees do their job, a centralized internal (whether on-premises or cloud-based) environment to provide a “single pane of glass” point of access is a better solution.
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The virtual workspace is also known as VDI or virtual desktop infrastructure. This allows companies to provision virtual machines for users that they can then get on the VPN and connect to and have the applications and access they need—and these machines can be properly secured. You can set up access and applications on a per user or group basis. It’s simple in theory, but there are some complex challenges, which I discussed with Nerdio CEO and co-founder Vadim Vladimirskiy.
“Traditional virtual desktop infrastructure solutions are known to be highly complex, costly to license and difficult to manage because they are usually deployed with on-premises architecture, which requires highly skilled VDI engineers to manage, maintain and support,” Vladimirskiy said. “They also require a heavy investment in infrastructure, and costly long-term license agreements. In addition to staffing and maintenance challenges, virtual workspaces provided by legacy solutions often offer a poor user experience in the form of slow login times and limited access to the apps and data users need to remain productive.”
Vladimirsky warned about the potential dangers that limiting employee experiences can lead to employee disengagement, loyalty, and retention issues. These limitations can increase the risk of shadow IT services that allow unauthorized tools to access and store data.
Vladimirskiy pointed out that legacy VDI solutions can also result in vendor lock-in and often contain proprietary technologies or require substantial training/certifications to effectively use the technology. These can greatly affect a business’s ability to change solutions or directions if they encounter issues managing or scaling virtual workspaces.
Vladimirskiy recommends new cloud-based VDI solutions such as Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365 Cloud PCs. These provide the redundancy that is essential if you’re going to rely on an eggs-in-one-basket solution.
“By delivering the virtual workspace from the cloud as a desktop-as-a-service solution, the cost, complexity and management obstacles that traditionally come with offering virtual workspaces can be avoided. Vladimirskiy explained that virtual workspaces can be scaled easily, are less costly, and are easier to manage. This allows for faster deployments to remote employees.
Other benefits include increased access to apps and data that users need to be productive, decreased security risk by minimizing the attack surface and integrated identity and access management technology to ensure only authorized access.
We discussed some other risks that are not security-related.
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Vladimirskiy said that there’s always the possibility of incorrect architecture configurations and optimization mistakes adding unnecessary expense. Cloud-based solutions may be seen as risky by some organizations because public clouds are typically consumed and computing costs can fluctuate unpredictably. There are many cloud-based solutions that can help organizations keep their budgets in line and reduce costs. These intelligent automation platforms are designed to reduce costs and improve IT efficiency by enabling cloud-enabled virtual desktops such as AVD.
Then, we focused on the most important things that employees and businesses want from the virtual workplace experience.
“Ultimately, employees want to remain productive and engaged in every environment and location they work, while having high-performance access to the apps and data they need to get their job done. Employees also want to be able work on their preferred devices and have full access to Windows. Vladimirskiy stated that this can increase employee engagement and make it easier for users to achieve their goals, no matter what format.
Both of us agreed that employees need to be empowered with end-user computing. This will help them stay productive, engaged, and collaborative. Employees can work from anywhere, with the best tools and environments. This can improve business productivity and grow their businesses.
Vladimrskiy concluded by emphasizing that “cloud-delivered desktops are an ideal solution to meet today’s increased demand for workplace agility–remote, in office or hybrid–without the risk and cost of the architecture lock-in that has traditionally come from on-premises VDI deployments.”