How businesses can effectively empower remote working

May 07, 2020 07:55
Photo: Reuters

Many companies are increasingly offering their employees the opportunity and the capability to work from home or remotely. This model offers both the company and the employee many benefits but as we have seen from the widening global spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, probably the most important benefit is business continuity. In times of crises, most companies will have business continuity practices that would include dividing their workforce and having half work from home to mitigate the risk of losing their entire workforce should infection take place at the workplace.

Even if business continuity wasn’t a factor, companies that have a broad and geographically diverse employee base need a way to optimize workloads, as well as deliver secure, rich content to their staff. A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables remote employees to accomplish many of their tasks, often from remote locations or via mobile, and also allows the employer to ensure that the employee’s working environment fits the expected standard.

Compelling benefits but watch for traps

A study by the Harvard Business Review compared two groups over a nine-month period - one group worked in the office, meanwhile, another group worked from home. The group working from home completed an average of 13.5% more calls, recorded significantly fewer sick leave and helped their companies save on office space setup, furniture and equipment.

However, there are some potential risks with a telecommuting workforce. One is concerns over security and data breaches especially if your remote employees are connecting to the company server on their own devices. Businesses of all sizes are being hit by cyber-attacks that drain millions of dollars and damage consumer trust, according to the Cost of Cybercrime 2019 Study. Information loss, together with business disruption, accounted for over 75% of total business losses from cybercrime.

Security problems occur during remote working when there is a lack of a proper system and patching on software. Besides, many companies do not have a regular plan on updating their IT systems, which creates potential security risk.

Use VDI to Accommodate Remote Workers

Providing each worker with their own high-performing computing system with a complex user interface can be costly, and it is difficult to achieve sustainable management by the IT department. VDI provides an alternative that allows easier and more secure management, easier protection from disaster, and greater affordability. With the virtualization between server and desktop, VDI can consolidate both the hardware and software into a single computing system for higher efficiency, ensuring consistent performance, no matter the devices are working onsite or from home. Moreover, VDI gives employees access to the same desktop, files and information whether they are using a desktop computer at home, operating a secondary computer in a new location, or working with smartphones.

With robust VDI, desktops are hosted in the corporate data center and can be accessed from anywhere and any devices, empowered by the increased data security, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for desktops, and the greater breakthrough in performance over physical endpoints. Most of all, organizations can be a lot more agile with the ability to address a wide range of desktop users — utilizing various devices while fulfilling different desktop compute requirements and applications. All the merits translate to a new way that can optimize, control, and deliver commercial content in an effective way.

The power of the device used to access the virtual desktop has little impact on performance, as the work and storage are performed by the host computer’s hardware. If your remote employee is located far from your main office, VDI makes it easy to have them travel in their own area on your behalf, allowing you to support new business models and improve both IT operation and user satisfaction.

Zero Downtime to Work from Home and Anywhere

Next-generation VDI implementation relies on persistent desktops. Those VDI images are the complete desktop images where all customization and state are retained between sessions. As a result, persistent desktops consume dramatically more storage space per desktop, but are more flexible and Ideal for productivity, catering to the needs of users. This ensures your entire workforce has the exact suite of applications they need, and every device is kept up to date. Once desktops become stateful and large percentages of the organization utilize the VDI infrastructure, availability becomes a chief concern to avoid user downtime.

Virtual workspaces are designed to deliver regular security updates with no downtime for users. The system is maintained by multiple layers of protection: the latest software, patches and service packs. IT staff are then able to block cyber-attacks at ease.

For organizations looking to implement VDI, it is essential to consider its performance, ease of use, and scalability that eliminate complexity from VDI. Remote working is an inevitable trend under the complex business world full of uncertainties and opportunities, and solution options like VDI allows businesses to seamlessly maintain the benefits as if working in a single office location, even if additional remote employees are added to empower the workforce, and meet the needs of users while achieving administrative simplicity and saving on costs.

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Country Manager, Hong Kong & Macau, Pure Storage