Tuesday, 11th December 2018

Thin Clients: Aligning IT with the modern working environment

Thin client technology suffers from an image problem. Although proven as a secure, easy to manage desktop technology, many IT professionals think it is limited to use-cases such as call centres and task-oriented workers. But these same IT professionals and their organisations are missing out. By David Angwin, Director, EMEA, Dell EMC.

Thin clients and desktop virtualisation are a perfect match for today’s modern working environment, with its demands for rich immersive computing accessible from anywhere.And this is achievable while simplifying management, enhancing security and reducing cost.As a result, the desktop virtualisation market is forecast to grow by 35% over the next three years.


Let’s take a closer look at what is driving this growth:

Desktop virtualisation is very much in tune with the trends of the modern working environment. It makes Windows 10 migration easier and creates a new approach to dynamic and flexible working. But that’s not all, resellers also love them for the following reasons:

1.Plugging into the modern working environment

Employees today are no longer chained to their desks, many enjoy working where is most convenient to them. Often, this means a business will have half of its workforce in the office and the other half working from home. But to make this work, IT professionals must be able to deploy technology connecting their employees to the business while providing a seamless and secure experience. Thin clients are a ready-made option, providing an easy-to-manage solution with no local storage, simple remote access and easy installation in employees’ homes. All while leaving no room for IT maintenance or data recovery problems.

In many respects, desktop virtualisation is changing the very definition of mobility. By nature, many associate employee mobility with the need to carry their hardware with them wherever they go. But with thin clients, this no longer needs to happen. Employees can log on to their system at home or in the office and still maintain access to the same applications and files – without the need to carry the equipment on the commute.

2.Onboarding talent anytime, anywhere

Business today moves so quickly that leaders often need to scale their workforce up and down as required in real-time. This means that they often need fast access to technology without the risks of being saddled with the costs of unused hardware if the business needs to be scaled down. Thin client technology is flexible enough to accommodate these requirements, allowing managers to boost and reduce compute needs as and when it is needed. This is a flexible approach which negates the need for heavy investment in technology and allows businesses to nurture talent from anywhere in the world.

Yet, they also have a role to play in attracting new recruits and top talent. The fiercely competitive market place for IT talent means employees can pick and choose their employer based upon the best package deal. Naturally, technology, and the scope it offers for new and exciting projects has an important role to play here. For many IT professionals, the reality is that they spend too much time on desktop maintenance and software patches to work on the projects that will drive the business forward. But with the strong performance and reliability of thin clients, IT leaders have more time and resource to allocate to those projects which use exciting technology such as AI or robotics.

3.Creating a more secure end-user environment

Client virtualisation is inherently more secure than the traditional desktop alternative. Not having data on the user device is an obvious benefit, but the security benefits go much further. Easier and faster deployment of patches and updates ensures better device compliance - a feature which would have removed the WannaCry vulnerability for many organisations. Meanwhile, access rules based on location and network, reduce risks for mobile workers; provisioning a clean operating system at every login removes persistent malware; and sandboxing legacy applications – such as those that require Windows XP – removes otherwise unavoidable weak points.

Finally, latest generations offer biometric authentication to ensure that the user gaining access to the device is not only the correct user, but one physically present. Businesses are only as strong as their weakest link but it’s this level of protection which is creating a secure working environment.

4.Increasing employee productivity

Did you know that IT downtime costs businesses an average of £3.6 million every year? Or that IT outages are to blame for an average of 545 hours of lost staff productivity annually? These are eye watering amounts that have a significant impact on employee productivity at work. The good news is that thin client technology has a role to play in counteracting such figures. And that’s because desktop virtualisation is extremely resilient, helping companies to keep their workforce on the job by reducing IT down-time to a matter of minutes.

5.Making deployment easy

For the channel, client virtualisation has historically been difficult to implement. Previously, the technology was complex and required hard-to-find expert consultants to ensure projects were a success. Now, with hyper-converged appliances and proven designs, the technology is much easier and faster to deploy and only requires readily available consultancy skills. For resellers, thin clients and desktop virtualisation offer the opportunity to increase revenues by enabling customers to create a modern working environment – for which they are so closely aligned.

Keeping pace with the demands of the modern workplace is no mean feat but one trend that you can guarantee, is that traditional desktop programmes will start to be phased out and replaced by new applications built to be web-native. This is precisely why the thin client resurgence isn’t going to slow down any time soon for resellers. As we edge closer to this new era of human-machine partnerships, they will play a more important role than ever before, in establishing a new way for businesses to optimise IT resources while rewarding employees with the flexible, dynamic work environment which they desire.

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