2020 was a once-in-a-generation event that forever changed the way we work, learn, shop, receive healthcare, keep in touch with loved ones and live. Telemedicine, delivery services and virtual meetings have been around for years, but the adoption rates and the experience just never seemed to live up to the expectations. We saw education, healthcare and corporate organizations change operations in a matter of weeks vs. the years that would be expected to build infrastructure, develop tools and garner widespread adoption.
We are now a year past that original change and are starting to see some form of a return to normalcy. Now is the time to catch our breath, review the changes that were implemented overnight and decide what changes we should keep and what we can improve.
A VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solution should be a topic of discussion for all organizations that are revisiting how they will provide their new remote workforce with secure access to the network for the necessary data and tools to complete their work while offsite. A VDI solution can be built and managed alongside your current infrastructure or can be deployed via cloud offerings as a service. Here are a few items to consider as you review the potential to introduce a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to your organization:
Deploying a VDI solution centralizes the management of updates/patches, tools and monitoring to an environment that is easier to manage and more agile to respond to staffing growth. You will no longer need to image and ship laptops or have staff waiting on repairs while their work device is shipped across the country. The staff will be able to access a full desktop experience with all their files, tools and security already configured from any internet connected device.
The great benefit with laptops is that they can go anywhere. One of the challenges for IT managers is controlling and managing the device security for a fleet of mobile devices. Many office buildings are equipped with badged door access and security cameras. With a remote workforce, we have migrated to a multitude of different homes with varying degrees of security. Ensuring that all these devices, now in the wild, are compliant for hard drive encryption and software updates can become a large challenge. VDI removes this risk by storing all data within the corporate infrastructure and the management of updates/monitoring is centralized.
Deploying new software packages to a fleet of laptops remotely can be challenging, even with enterprise software packaging tools, as some devices may require manual intervention to complete the install due to hardware, software and access issues. With a VDI solution, this is managed via gold images and the desktop environment for thousands of users can be updated within hours. The resources provided to staff to complete their job is also flexible in a VDI environment. Deployed a new version of an application and the memory requirements increased beyond the current deployment? With individual laptops, staff will need to bring in their device or ship it in for upgrades. With VDI, an updated session can be deployed within the same day to support the new requirements assuming you have the resources available in your VDI farm.
Flexibility for Staff
Ever need to complete one quick task on the go only to realize you forgot your laptop? With VDI, you now have the flexibility to access your full desktop experience from any internet connected device. This would even include a tablet or smartphone (hopefully it is a small task you need to complete if using a smartphone, as a five inch screen can be a challenge for larger tasks). Another excellent use case that improves flexibility for staff is VDI for healthcare. Medical staff often travel long distances moving from room to room. Without a VDI solution they may carry a laptop, push a WOW (Workstation on Wheels) or collect information on paper to be recorded later. A virtual desktop allows a medical practitioner to access and roam their full desktop from room to room and in between floors without the need to lug a laptop or push a bulky cart between rooms.
Determining how many VDI sessions you have running, reviewing utilization trends and assessing the hardware/license resources being used in your farm is as simple as a few reports or dashboards. With physical devices, performing equipment refresh, provision equipment for new hires, locating devices that have not checked in and capacity planning all present large challenges for IT managers. VDI helps to remove these challenges with the central management of resources and by adding reporting to help you make decisions on what is needed to support your work force.
Want to learn more about the benefits and next steps to deploy a VDI solution to your new remote workforce? Check out iVision’s digital workspace capabilities.