The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, closely followed by London 2012, have been cause for major public celebration.
For many businesses, however, these have flagged up a new set of issues for their digital infrastructure as workers seek to avoid disruption by working from home. This includes issues such as managing remote security, system robustness and service reliance as well as how to accommodate increasingly high volumes of remote access to enterprise platforms. And as we wave goodbye to these major events, these issues won’t go away. Maintaining continuity in the face of seasonal disruption, whether caused by holidays, events or severe weather will continue to challenge UK businesses.
To boost their remote working capabilities many smaller businesses are turning to solutions such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Applications and Software as a Service (AaaS and SaaS) and Mobile Cloud. In parallel, some are moving their core systems and applications into the cloud, creating a unique opportunity to become faster, leaner and more competitive.
As these technologies blur application boundaries, the challenge for business is how to manage this new environment efficiently, securely and cost-effectively. Ultimately, they need to make it convenient and secure for their increasingly mobile and disparate workforce to utilise any enterprise applications from any device, anywhere.
The Rise of Virtual Platforms
For many that means turning to cloud – but not necessarily the commodity based public cloud currently pushed by big brand wholesale suppliers. For web, security, line of business, ERP, CRM, Digital Media and database services, an enterprise-style ‘private cloud’ is the true hero.
It can provide pre-configured solutions that not only offer the flexible anytime, anyplace access but with the peace of mind that comes with guaranteed uptime for critical infrastructure applications and secure platforms for customer specific remote application hosting.
Private cloud applications sit in dedicated virtual machines not shared with other clients as they would be in a traditional multi-tenanted environment. This allows you to lock down your cloud environment completely by adding Managed Firewalls, SSL VPN and Two Factor Authentication. For businesses that require even tighter controls, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can hold the key to secure remote access using their existing systems and applications. VDI is the practice of hosting a desktop operating system within a virtual machine (VM) running on a hosted, centralised or remote server.
VDI provides secure hosting and access to a company’s desktop applications within a totally controlled and managed environment. It enables users to run Windows 7, for example, and execute all their enterprise applications from a range of consumer devices, such as iPads, while still meeting security and compliance requirements. This is particularly useful if operating in heavily regulated industries or when dealing with sensitive customer information.
With VDI, secure, controlled access to data can be supplied via stringent authenticated connections which operate over wholly owned or third party infrastructure; maintaining complete control over data integrity, security and performance. Many VDIs incorporate high performance firewalls on VPN devices and application security. They should also offer hot failover back-up and restore options to keep system available at all times.
Allowing applications to be combined onto one interface without huge upfront cost for upgrades, Private Cloud hosting and VDI allow businesses to improve their access, speed, efficiency, and productivity. They also ensure that SMBs can keep their IT infrastructure live – so they can survive and thrive – whatever the season throws their way.