In response to the pandemic, workers were sent to work from home in droves to comply with government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
And businesses had to rethink the way their employees worked.
Companies that already had remote access to their desktops or implemented Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) mitigated security threats and increased efficiencies – without saddling their teams with a complicated setup.
Those who were a couple of steps behind now find themselves rushing to adopt VDI so they can give their people more flexibility now and are prepared for any future disruptions.
“2020 caused all of us to think differently about how we work.”
How Does Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Work?
Virtual desktop infrastructure gives employees access to a virtualized desktop, hosted remotely, for your business. An employee can simply login to access their workstation from any device, anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.
VDI includes the software, hardware and other resources required to virtualize a standard desktop system so end-users can access, process, manage and store data without requiring on-premises hardware and software.
Mitigating the Threat of a Cyberattack
Although businesses of any size are susceptible to cyberattack, 80 percent of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are concerned they will fall victim to a cyber incident according to Continuum’s The State of SMB Cyber Security report. According to CSO, 26 percent of the IT leaders and security experts surveyed in late March 2020 saw an increase in cyberattacks in the wake of the work-from-home shift the pandemic accelerated.
Most SMBs are not equipped to properly prevent or respond to a cyberattack without support in part because 62 percent lack in-house security expertise and resources, according to the Continuum study. With a relatively low bar to breach, the lack of cybersecurity expertise may lead to more attacks.
The impact of a cyberattack is significant. Businesses receive a financial hit in terms of time and effort dealing with a data breach or other incident. But there are also consequences — loss of data, customers, confidence, reputation and more.
This was the concern when COVID-19 hit: The fast adoption of personal devices for business use would lead to security breaches that would be hard to control and address.
VDI enhances security for organizations that have moved to more remote work. IT controls software configurations and applies the latest security upgrades. In addition, data is stored in a centralized location, allowing less opportunity for breaches through individual Wi-Fi connections.
IT departments have a more holistic view of the system and can intervene quicker and easier if security anomalies are identified. If an endpoint – such as a laptop or phone – is ever stolen, organizations don’t have to worry. There’s no company information living on the device.
Flexibility to Shift Operations as Needed
Another way COVID-19 highlighted the advantages of VDI was the flexibility it provided companies to quickly shift to operating remotely. Regardless of an employee’s personally owned device or desktop setup, they could easily log in to the system and have access to all the files, programs and data they used in the office.
Having that ability when the pandemic struck was a convenience and lifesaver for many organizations, and since VDI can scale up and down they were able to benefit without making huge infrastructure investments.
Better Employee User Experience = Better Customer Experience
Companies faced the reality of helping employees stay productive by giving them the tools to succeed as they shifted to remote work with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. If employees were able to continue to serve customers in the same way they were able to pre-pandemic, then the customer experience remained positive.
VDI enables users to access all their critical programs and systems, including web applications, ecommerce, Cloud ERP and more with one password. Graphic designers, engineers or architects who work with particular applications may also access what they need remotely.
VDI gives IT departments greater control and transparency of the entire system to better manage and monitor enterprise resources and misuse.
"It creates an easier load on IT, where they can focus on more mission-critical items for the company."
If a company-owned device gets lost, an IT team just has to replace it, but doesn’t have to worry about what’s on it (because there is no confidential information on there). What’s more, companies don’t have to hand out expensive laptops or other equipment. They can provide what’s referred to as “dumb terminals,” and as long as an employee has access to the internet, they can access their applications and files.
Sustainable Benefits of VDI
While COVID-19 may have driven workers home and changed how IT teams thought about how they managed technology, the advantages of VDI don’t just go away once the pandemic is over.
"The fact that they can work remotely truly anywhere and leverage this from any type of device, under security with data protection, that's pretty powerful stuff."
Regardless of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, employees and contractors may likely continue using their own devices. That can potentially expose your organization to security compliance gaps and can complicate IT management. With VDI, organizations can ensure their mission-critical business applications are secure and accessible. Ultimately, it’s like having an office available on-demand, with improved security, flexibility and efficiency.
Want to learn more about a technology solution that empowers your people to access their business applications securely from anywhere, anytime and any device? Check out our video:Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): The End-User Experience Amplified.