Survey: VDI a Priority for Improving Remote User Experience

Contributed By Dan O’Farrell, Senior Director, Product Marketing at IGEL

As remote working becomes a standard business operation, and not just a reaction to the pandemic, a survey of end user computing (EUC) professionals reveals organizations are taking a serious, in-depth look at what it takes to give remote users a digital workspace experience as satisfying and secure as what they are accustomed to in the office. The global survey found 61 percent named user experience the most significant challenge they faced when shifting to a work-from-home model.

In looking at improving the user experience, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is at the top of the list with 58 percent naming VDI as a priority. It is followed by more adoption of cloud workspaces and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) at 44 percent. Other significant technologies being considered, following the pandemic, are centralized endpoint management (38 percent) and moving Windows to the cloud and off the desktop (30 percent). Each of these solutions puts control back into the hands of IT for greater security and policy management, while further empowering remote users with the data and application access they need for high productivity.

Additional survey highlights are:

  • Once the effects of the pandemic are over, as many as 39 percent expect more than 50 percent of their employees to continue working from home.
  • After user experience the second highest concern is endpoint security (47 percent).
  • Other security challenges noted include – policy control (43 percent), VPN issues (42 percent) and unpatched devices accessing the network (21 percent).
  • Security risk at remote endpoints is a concern, notably that IT can’t effectively manage remote software, OS upgrades and patching for their remote systems (34 percent). \
  • Ransomware attack (24 percent) at a home-based endpoint device.
  • Improving identity and access management is a priority over the next year (52 percent).

The remote work shift is driving organizations to readjust their perception and support of where and how people work. Rather than view remote workspaces as a secondary, and perhaps infrequent adjunct to on-premises computing, the new approach is to think of all workspaces as digital – a combination of desktops, applications and services delivered from the cloud.

In this model the endpoint device and its operating system are critical. The security perimeter moves to the edge user devices, where all endpoints are governed by a centralized management system and any user can conveniently and securely access their profile from their home, local satellite office, or the corporate campus. What they’re using no longer limits their productivity since their profile is stored virtually and accessible on any device they use.

Work from anywhere is becoming the new theme, with remote working a large part of the impetus for this shift. Organizations are looking to provide their people with a consistent user profile and easy, secure access whether they’re switching devices, workstations, or locations. Some of the user experience and security enhancements IT is focusing on include:

  • Visibility is Key – Whether you are deploying desktops and applications from the cloud or locally on traditional laptops, the need to complement endpoint management solutions with digital user experience tools is key. Measuring user productivity and employee wellbeing can be achieved using several solutions that can also help improve security and compliance.
  • Passwordless Authentication – The need to secure the endpoint and the employee is paramount in the work-from-anywhere era. Ensuring that the employee that is logging on is who they say they have never been more important. Eliminating passwords for employees removes the friction often associated with passwords and delivers increased security for online connections, while providing higher levels of identity assertion for organizations.
  • Contextual Access Control – While hosted desktops can ensure that data and applications are held in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, the need to provide contextual, secure access has become more important. This contextual control involves providing policy-based access to remote data and applications based on not just the employee, but their device, its status, its location, and other important factors. But understanding who, what and from where an employee is logging on can help with data security and compliance.

Organizations also are looking further at workspace architecture improvements to lower IT costs and lighten the IT resource load. Adoption of a non-Windows endpoint OS and the conversion of more user devices into cloud-enabled endpoints are on the radar. As solutions to enable VDI, DaaS and the move of Windows to the cloud, these improvements indicate that EUC professionals are looking at the future of their user digital workspace architecture and how they will improve deployment speed for that architecture, while lowering costs.

Moving forward, close attention to the needs of users, along with ensuring security and simplified management for IT, will help organizations integrate remote working into the norm as part of the everyday operations of a successful EUC environment.

About the Author — Dan O’Farrell (pictured) is the Sr. Director of Product Marketing for IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces and secure endpoints.