IDC predicts that by 2020, 50% of Global 2000 companies will need to deliver digitally-enhanced products, services, and experiences in order to remain competitive and relevant. For many businesses this change will be significant and challenging, and the equivalent of ‘changing a plane’s wings in-flight’.
Day-to-day productivity will need to be maintained while new, innovative digital solutions are brought to market. At the same time; security threats are increasing, working practices are evolving, and IT budgets are likely to remain flat.
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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is an established, mature, but often under utilised technology that helps address all these areas. It uses the same underlying virtualisation technology that many organisations have already deployed to optimise server capacity in their data centres and is in use around the world in organisations from small businesses right up to global multinationals.
Desktop virtualisation can be utilised to address three areas of digital transformation.
1. Keeping up in a time of change
Developing innovative new products, services and experiences will require new IT approaches that in turn will require new platforms and skills. But businesses need to keep running while these new initiatives are pursued. In short, resources need to be freed up – which means existing infrastructure and processes must become more efficient.
One area where efficiencies can be achieved is in the area of desktop computing. Traditional deployment methods to PCs and laptops typically use a lot of IT resources in repetitive tasks, and the power and flexibility which makes PCs such an attractive tool, tends also to lead to high support call volumes as computer users inadvertently change setups that IT have worked hard to optimise.
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Desktop virtualisation centralises the delivery of desktop computing while maintaining the same PC experience that users are familiar with, creating greater economies of scale. For example, streaming, lets full Windows environments be built ‘on the fly’ providing even greater efficiencies for the IT team.
In addition, any issues experienced by the user can be centrally investigated and resolved, eliminating the need for a member of the IT team to visit the user’s desk. Utilising thin clients on the user’s desk improves reliability and, in the rare cases of a hardware issue, a simple device swap out gets the user back working and productive.
2. Guarding against evolving cyber threats
IT security is the second pillar of transformation within the workplace. The battle against cybercrime is being fought through every layer of enterprises’ organisation and infrastructure, but it is the endpoint that should be causing CIOs sleepless nights. 70% of successful data breaches originated at the endpoint in 2016, according to IDC, while three out of four employees at European companies will fully buy into the mobile way by 2018.
The devices they need to achieve this are rich repositories of corporate data, applications and resources, much of it highly confidential, which require the most stringent protection – while, of course, ensuring that this does not hamper the mobile employee.
Against this challenging backdrop, organisations need to consider a strategy which enables them to manage data centrally, securely and flexibly. Through desktop virtualisation, companies gain 360-degree visibility over their data and more easily assess and detect threats as they arise, making IT departments more coherent as a result.
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Through this approach, data does not sit on any particular device. This could undercut ransomware attacks as it deprives hackers of the ability to hold individual employees to ransom and also disincentives them using email spam as they wouldn’t be able to extract any data from the victim’s device.
Thin clients are far more resistant to malware with the most secure thin clients having no published API which can be exploited. For organisations looking to ensure endpoint data is inaccessible to would-be hackers, end-to-end advanced threat protection software, file-level encryption and authentication can be utilised. With cyberattacks becoming increasingly diverse and shape-shifting, organisations need to put in place comprehensive security solutions and enable privileged access to data.
3. A consistent IT experience, anywhere, on any device
The third pillar of digital transformation is the provision of consistent application and data access regardless of location or device.
When working with a distributed web of devices across multiple platforms, organisations face a number of difficulties in ensuring manageability and security of their users. Yet they need to ensure employees remain mobile and flexible, while keeping data secure.
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In highly secure industries such as finance, government and research, where data on devices is undesirable, specialist devices such as mobile thin clients can be used, enabling workers to make use of their laptop functionality, whilst keeping all information in the data centre. Once an organisation has deployed VDI, it now has in place a future-ready platform, into which future generations of efficient, low power, portable devices can be integrated.
Building the pillars for digital adoption
Organisations must adapt IT processes to ensure technological innovation is not dampened by tightening budgets; secure user information and conform with ever-tightening regulations, all while improving the experience of an increasingly mobile workforce.
To address these challenges, many businesses already place their trust in desktop virtualisation. Incorporating a range of devices, and with the correct security measures in place, VDI can be the enabler organisations require to take their first steps into a new digital era.
Sourced by David Angwin, director, marketing, Dell Cloud Client-Computing, Dell EMEA