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From a tactic to remain agile during the pandemic to a competitive differentiator for organisations, hybrid working has become a core part of both employee demands and business strategies. This has driven exponential growth for end-user computing (EUC) technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). VDI, if executed wisely, can significantly help businesses to meet employee demands while driving scalability. The technology allows organisations to provide a better experience to their employees without jeopardising the security of their digital assets.
Today, VDI not only serves as a technology to support a hybrid working environment, but also helps organisations reduce operational costs, minimise cyber risks, and boost productivity. In 2023 when global businesses are planning to squeeze their budgets due to the economic uncertainty, the technology can be a game changer.
VDI: A Must-Have in 2023
Hybrid working is still sought-after by employees in 2023 and is likely to be in demand in the near future. Meanwhile, the current economic uncertainty is leading businesses to reduce their budgets. To cater to both employee demands and business needs, organisations must lean on VDI that can enable companies to embrace hybrid settings without putting pressure on their IT budgets.
With VDI, businesses can minimise costs on hardware setup and maintenance. Furthermore, VDI also helps organisations reduce operational expenses and subscription fees. The technology also eliminates the need to invest in endpoint technology as all processing happens on an online server.
What’s more, VDI simplifies IT management, with businesses able to control all assets from a single location. When new versions of applications are released, they can be added to a centralised desktop image rather than being installed and then maintained on tens of thousands of end-user devices. It is also seamless to onboard new employees. IT administrators simply deploy the base image of what their desktops should look like. This saves valuable desktop management time and quickly returns the user to productivity. State-of-the-art VDI technology is a ‘must have’ in 2023 as it not only reduces expenses but also allows businesses to save time and enhance the employee experience.
Key Challenges During Implementation
Nothing derails a VDI project faster than the failure to prioritise user experience. VDI projects fail when organisations do not understand the needs of their end-user. Communication and expectation management is critical. Responsive desktops and applications are important, but they should not be the only consideration. Login time, for example, is a performance metric with high visibility and impact in healthcare settings where clinicians move from location to location. Enabling the fast and smooth flow of login processes is crucial in this environment to ensure user satisfaction.
Administrative experience is also important in determining overall satisfaction with a VDI solution. If the governance is complicated, developers are more likely to make errors that affect users and cause delays. A variety of factors contribute to the complexity of a VDI project. Meeting strict feature and performance requirements while taking availability and security concerns into account is therefore just as important as ensuring transparency and continuous
reduction of complexity. Otherwise, maintaining the solution causes extensive effort in terms of monitoring, costs and quickly becomes a security risk.
Attentive planning, selection and implementation of a soulution’s architecture is therefore crucial. The possible economic changes within a company should be taken into account with its current situation and requirements. While an over-specified VDI environment increases up-front costs, an under-specified design can cause major problems over a period of time. When changing requirements for bandwidth and capacity for servers, storage systems and networks are difficult or impossible to respond to.
Harnessing the Power of VDI Appropriately
While VDI enhances mobility and remote access to mission-critical applications, it also raises serious security concerns. An insecure device, stolen password or compromised user desktop session can easily expose an organisation to ransomware, malware, insider threats and network sniffing.
Securing a virtualised environment requires more than cutting-edge tools. Best practices can go a long way toward safeguarding mission-critical systems and confidential data. One step is setting controls to disable a device in local mode if it is not synchronised within a predetermined time interval. This allows companies to stay ahead of hackers on the lookout for new ways to outsmart security protocols.
Furthermore, organisations can adopt Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), that treats every user with zero trust and requires each individual to meet the same criteria to successfully login and gain access. Regardless of the user being internal or external - ZTA requires the same level of authentication at the time of login. However, ZTA does not stop here, the user-activity is monitored throughout the session and trust status is questioned at frequent intervals to ensure a high level of security. This makes ZTA an ideal choice for organisations looking to strengthen their cybersecurity while embracing hybrid working.
The growing adoption of hybrid, multi-cloud, and hyper-convergence environments is changing virtualisation in complex ways, putting security professionals on the edge. Virtualisation has altered the way data centres operate, forcing the upgrade of legacy systems and pushing organisations toward more scalable and robust infrastructure deployments. In 2023, organisations who deploy VDI must do it in combination with appropriate security layers and solutions to ensure it is effective yet secure.