At the beginning of this year, there was no real consensus in the business world around the topic of remote working.
Some businesses felt that having all of their employees in one central office was the key to business success, while others felt that offering their employees a more flexible approach to work was key to their success. Employees themselves had very different views on the matter as well.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything changed – virtually overnight. Many businesses found themselves having to allow their employees to work remotely so that they could not only comply with the lockdown restrictions but guarantee business continuity as well.
These extraordinary levels of remote working brought about many challenges for businesses, especially those who had never dealt with it before. Challenges such as accessibility, employee productivity and data security.
Many office-based companies had to overhaul their working practices overnight, and many soon discovered that they didn’t have the right technology in house to enable remote working at scale. This was particularly true for those businesses who relied on sophisticated hardware to run graphically-intensive applications – such as architecture and engineering.
Without the correct hardware and software in place, remote employees will find themselves dealing with programmes that are lagging due to the machines they are running on not being fit for purpose. And this can lead to frustration, which can adversely affect levels of productivity and can also reduce motivation.
However, these issues can easily be solved if you have the right technology in place. ebb3 has worked with many clients, helping them to adopt new technologies which have helped them to bridge this gap quickly without busting their IT budgets.
One of these new technologies that has really helped many businesses this year is virtualisation.
Virtualisation is the term used to describe the process of creating virtual versions of an operating system or hardware platform. This means that multiple virtual machines can be hosted on alternative devices, with each machine running different applications or operating systems.
What virtualisation does is allow remote workers who work with graphics to access the most demanding software from any location on any device, as long as they have an internet connection. Another important thing that virtualisation can do, especially this year, is to allow remote workers to work from home in the same way as they would do in the office – giving them a sense of familiarity during this otherwise chaotic time.
For businesses who are already running on-premise applications, the switch to virtual workstations through virtual apps and desktops makes it easier to transition to a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) operating model, making the most of the remote hardware available.
DaaS allows employees to maximise their working output at what is a critical time for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) strategies. Virtual workspaces also mean that location barriers are broken down, and so businesses can offer all of their employees a high-performing workspace – even if the personal device they are using is older.
Now that we’ve talked about how accessible virtualisation is, we need to talk about security. Specifically, the security of data that is being accessed by employees on personal devices at home through cloud-hosted desktops.
With virtualisation and managed services in place, security patches can be applied to all employees in one go – which removes the responsibility of performing updates by the users, which may have resulted in the compromise of data, or loss of data in the past.
Switching to secure hosted desktops for all (or some) of your employees is also a relatively speedy and simple process – which is crucial for those businesses that need to adapt to remote working environments immediately, as it was earlier this year. If needed, employees can use their own personal device – even if it is the most basic laptop or desktop – as all of the processing power comes from the cloud-based server.
Existing on-premise applications can, more often than not, be moved to the hosted desktop environment quickly and efficiently as well. This is known as Application-as-a-Service (AaaS) and it allows businesses to move their legacy applications onto a secure and more accessible cloud-hosted environment which is off-premise.
AaaS is gaining in popularity as the installation, maintenance and updating of applications can be a hefty task for IT professionals to complete on all devices in use by remote workers. The use of virtualisation, however, means this task can be completed quickly as all employees would have immediate access to the latest version of the application.
The impact of COVID-19 on working practices has meant a steep learning curve for many businesses, but the future of work looks bright. Virtualisation allows businesses to make the change to remote working for employees quick and easy, during what many have found to be otherwise difficult times.
If you want to learn more about virtualisation and how it can help to keep your business turning over and your employees productive please call us on 0203 8181 000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org