Last week I attended the Convenzis Healthcare Digital Technology event in London. Attended by 100+ professionals from NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital and The Department of Health, the event focused on several digital advancements taking place across the UK including AI, process automation, security, analytics and the digital workspace of 2020. In addition to some engaging keynotes on Data, AI and Robot Process Automation (RPA), one common thread of conversation throughout the day, was the need to enable more agile working and ensure Business Continuity.
Allowing employees to work differently, however, is not limited to the healthcare industry. In recent weeks, I have hosted several conversations with various organisations (across multiple verticals) about the need to change how the workspace is delivered. In particular, the impact of the global Coronavirus outbreak is bringing this topic into the light faster than before, as companies seek swift, more secure and manageable ways to support growing remote and work-from-home workforces.
Company policies to protect the health of employees are being enacted with direction to stay home if sick or work from home, if possible, to ensure worker wellbeing. In fact, the CDC last week advised that remote work could emerge as a vital public health strategy and the World Health Organization is actively now promoting the need to enable “teleworking across your organization. For some, this move is an easy one, but IT still must ensure data security, optimize employee data access and manage governance requirements, especially at the endpoint.
It’s not just the risk of global disease that’s driving the need for a more agile workforce either. Global warming, fires, sandstorms, parental care, geopolitical shifts (like Brexit), talent retention, and so many other very ‘human’ and real issues are now commonplace, forcing organizations to rethink how they attract, manage, and maintain the most precious of resources – your employees. No longer is agile working simply a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a true need.
Time for a New Way of Working
Over the last 20 years, the IT world has been perpetually developing better and better technologies to enable employees to work remotely. Dial up connectivity and flexible voice communication evolved to high-speed mobile access, robust VDI and application virtualization, and smart devices (like phones and tablets). Now the evolution has moved into the era of cloud workspaces and desktop-as-a-service solutions to further worker agility to meet new expectations for remote working.
Of course, for those of us in the end user computing (EUC) industry, this concept is by no means new. But, while the benefits of employee productivity and agility haven’t always justified the return on investment, that time has changed. Today’s workforce demands for a new way to work are tipping the scale. And IT must find a way to support this remote work movement while preserving security, adhering to compliance requirements and conserving budget by efficiently leveraging existing investments.
DaaS and IGEL
At this inflection point of the agile workforce, DaaS offers a secure, scalable solution to enable working from home. Cloud delivered Windows desktops from Microsoft (WVD), Citrix Cloud, VMware and Amazon workspaces enable IT to scale and deploy critical line of business applications and Windows 10 desktops to remote workers. To further help secure and ease the consumption of virtualized desktops, the IGEL operating system and UD Pocket can be deployed to any x86 device, turning it into a secure workspace, pre configured to connect to the cloud delivered applications. With a web browser and support for 90+ technologies built in, the read only Linux operating system ensures that users working from home are secure and yet productive, even when using their own Macbook, PC or Laptop. Secure remote configuration and management is possible thanks to the IGEL Cloud Gateway ensuring that IT has complete visibility and control from endpoint to the cloud.
To further ease the deployment and evaluation of IGEL solutions, IGEL will be releasing 11.3.500 of the IGEL OS on April 1st. This release will provide a fully functioning, time-limited (30 days) environment which no longer requires registration on boot, nor requires a licence to be deployed in the 1st 30 days. Every customer can extend the overall trial period to 90 days by registering the at IGEL. This registration also enables codec packs. Should partners or customers look to extend the evaluation licence at scale, IGEL is happy to discuss on a case by case basis.