Published 1 Dec 2020

Supporting a dispersed workforce: how to balance freedom and control

By, Pulsant

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One of the many challenges 2020 has brought is the mass migration to remote working for businesses across the UK.  And with guidance on home working not set to change imminently and the benefits of remote working continuing to rise to the fore, many organisations now envision operating with some degree of remote working permanently.

However, with the shift to a more flexible and remote working, comes increased risks and reduced control. Employees are no longer accessing their desktops and networks from within the confines of the office environment where you can be confident data and confidentiality remains protected. So, the question then arises – what infrastructure do you need to provide your remote workers the freedom they need, whilst also retaining control?

Is VDI the answer?

There are many different solutions available to enhance and improve remote working, including VPNs and remote management tools to name a few. However, more and more firms are turning towards virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as the answer. VDI is not new – it’s been around for well over a decade. But with the promise of benefits such as improved security, productivity and efficiency, it’s a solution that should not be discarded.

Essentially, VDI is a form of desktop virtualisation that allows users to log in to their own desktop from any device and any location. The desktop operating system is hosted on a central server in a data centre and the virtual desktop image delivered over a network to the endpoint device. This offers benefits such as improved efficiency and productivity, reduced costs and greater security and control.

The rise of VDI is largely being driven by organisations’ requirements to consider standardisation, control and management of services to a dispersed workforce. Virtual desktops can present a consistent, controlled desktop application environment, with data not residing on the local machine, but within the data centre.

Choosing the right virtual desktop for you

Many organisations have some form of desktop virtualisation already. However, the problem is traditionally most VDI solutions have been designed to support a small fraction of the workforce. Yet, with many companies’ whole employee base now working from home, organisations need a long-term solution that can provide a consistent and user-friendly experience for a wider user base.

The key to success when implementing VDI is to look for a system that is easy to deploy and use. The main goal of VDI is to simplify management, not add further complexity, so user experience is key.

If you get this right, VDI offers a number of advantages including increased user mobility and ease of access, scalable computing power, consistent user experience and centralised security and control.

The centralised management system enables you to effectively monitor and manage the entire infrastructure from a single dashboard. Even when installing new components or configuring a multisite environment, there’s no need to log in to other remote servers. Less people are required to manage your IT estate and you updates, patches, and other maintenance problems can be simplifies, making IT jobs easier.

In fact, Teacher Stern recently described moving across to a virtual desktop infrastructure with Pulsant Cloud Desktop as a “monumental leap forward” in terms of its IT system stability.

“Moving from a remote desktop setup to a virtual desktop infrastructure was a monumental leap forward in terms of our system stability. With the support of Pulsant, we have been able to enhance performance, improve user experience and increase productivity, all while reducing our operational spend. The team have been great to work with, have excellent technical knowledge, and delivered a great service every step of the way.”

Andy Cecil, IT Programme Manager, Teacher Stern

Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand

Remote working isn’t going away and to remain competitive you need to provide your employees with the right IT to enable them flexibility in where and how they work. But making widespread infrastructure changes isn’t always easy – as well as the IT itself, you need to ensure you get buy in from stakeholders and employees are onboard and open to the new systems.

For busy IT teams that are already faced with a number of additional challenges posed by the new environment, switching to new infrastructure can feel like an added complication at a time when further change is best kept to a minimum. But with the support of a trusted partner, you can align your business objectives with VDI deployment models, implement the right technology for your unique needs and remove the burden from ongoing management.  As a result, you can maintain the benefits and feel of a office environment whilst capitalising on the benefits of a dispersed workforce.