Business operations no longer follow a status quo, and the way we do business has forever changed especially since the beginning of 2020. Where we once planned for all our employees to be in the workplace this is just simply no longer a given. We have been forced to think differently and how we manage and deploy endpoints requires a mindset shift as well. Where we typically only deployed PC’s and virtual desktops in the past, we are now reconsidering strategies for many reasons. A full physical PC or similar endpoint is not always practical and allocating resources to users to give them access to a full virtual desktop can be too costly & complex for many organizations. Today we are going to examine the mindset shift required to understand when to deploy secure applications through virtual application delivery instead of virtual desktops when one size doesn’t fit all. Let’s look!
The mindset shift required
Regardless of the industry or vertical the technology you deploy serves, the days of deploying a full physical PC to every user in the enterprise should be reconsidered. Why? First and foremost, security. Ransomware alone is expected to impact a business every 11 seconds this calendar year. Also, consider the risk of placing a full desktop; that requires routine updates and continual security assessments, in a physical space close to the customer. A physical PC could be hacked, or even stolen with company intellectual property and data that shouldn’t be available publicly. Beyond the physical PC, let’s break down a couple other popular options such as full virtual desktops and virtual secure applications.
- Full Virtual Desktops – For the business user that truly needs a full desktop. It runs securely from your datacenter and can be delivered to any endpoint (PC, thin client, tablet, etc.). Being a full operating system, ongoing security updates will be required, and the other primary challenges revolve around cost and resource consumption (CPU, memory, disk).
- Virtual Secure Applications – A great option for securely delivering enterprise applications to any endpoint (PC, thin client, tablet, etc.) directly from the browser, without the cost & complexity of virtual desktops.
Are you thinking differently yet? Do you really have users that need a full desktop (physical or virtual), or are virtual secure applications perhaps the most secure and simplest way forward? I know the mindset shift here can be a hard change to accept, but at the end of the day what do your users really need to access to do their jobs? After you do some business-level discovery you will likely find it’s some combination of all of these.
Finding the right way forward
Now that you are thinking differently, let’s look at how to begin transitioning away from a full desktop approach. It starts with planning and working with the business. This is a process I have worked through business wide a few times in my career. The most notable one was for a large healthcare organization. The challenge the organization was facing was keeping up with the constant security vulnerabilities that need to be remediated monthly for the approximately 10,000 full desktops and laptops deployed organization wide. When evaluating the work effort to maintain the PCs in comparison to the security risk it was determined that change was needed. Here are the steps that were taken:
- Evaluate the endpoint location – For example, was it bedside by the patient, at a nursing station still near the customer, in a secured workroom, breakroom or at a business users’ desk?
- Application assessment – Fully inventory and understand applications deployed by IT or by the user to determine need. For example, some user departments purchased software outside of IT, and through this research it was determined that many of these applications were not needed due to other corporate software being able to accomplish the same functionality.
- Test virtual secure applications – Once we had our list of applications for deployment, we found a way to deliver them virtually, and most importantly did validation testing. We had great success in this process and found that all applications we wanted to deploy virtually could be.
- Evaluate possible approved endpoint types for deployment – To ensure security many users went from a full PC or laptop to a thin client with applications secured in the data center. This minimized the security footprint significantly creating the comfortable feeling of a desktop experience without the risks. Additionally, some virtual desktops were deployed, but we struggled to find the use cases, and then some business users still received full PCs and laptops; however, this was the exception.
- Business user validation testing – This is a critical step because most users are going to resist change and still want what they previously had. So, for each business use case, be sure to bring your power users in for validation testing to ensure the business buy-in for successful adoption.
Virtual secure applications – your strategy should include them!
One thing we have all learned in the past year with the pandemic is that we need to be willing to pivot away from our previous strategies to new ones for business survival and success. Making decisions around how to deliver applications to our enterprise users is one of those key areas with remote workforces being part of the foreseeable future. This required pivot includes rethinking the need for the full Windows desktop (physical or virtual). Enterprise users shouldn’t be treated as if one size fits all when the work they do is not the same. And you will find that for the most simple and secure access to their business-critical applications, secure virtual app delivery will likely provide them exactly what they need.
So, I leave you with one research question today, what percentage of your workforce really needs a full desktop?
Cameyo is the secure Virtual Application Delivery platform for any Digital Workspace. Cameyo makes it simple, secure, and cost-effective to deliver Windows and internal web applications to any device from the browser, all without the cost and complexity of virtual desktops or VPNs. By enabling organizations to provide their people with secure access to the business-critical apps they need to stay productive from anywhere, Cameyo helps make remote & hybrid work, work. Hundreds of enterprises and organizations utilize Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery solution to deliver applications to hundreds of thousands of daily active users worldwide. To learn more, visit https://cameyo.com
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