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May 12, 2015

Enabling the Mobile Enterprise with the Cloud-based Desktop

Sean McAvan, Managing Director of NaviSite Europe, on the pain points businesses are facing in enabling a mobile management strategy.


In the modern workplace, it is becoming increasingly rare to find an enterprise that is not, to some extent, a mobile one. If employees are enabled to use mobile devices to carry out even simple work-related tasks, such as accessing emails, they’re part of a mobile enterprise. But as cloud technologies and device policies expand the boundaries of what tasks can be performed on mobile devices, it is clear that the ‘mobile enterprise’ is a dynamic and evolving concept.

Growth of the Mobile Enterprise

Promising increased productivity, greater worker flexibility and satisfaction, the growing trend towards enterprise mobility is evident. According to a Gartner study, the use of mobile technology will continue to grow exponentially through to 2018. In turn, BYOD programmes are expected to double or even triple the number of the mobile workers. The race towards mobility is also reflective of a growing expectation, from employees able to work from any location whilst having access to their necessary data and applications.

With the proliferation of the ‘anytime, anywhere’ workforce, it’s no wonder that in a recent NaviSite survey 94 per cent of UK businesses cited that enabling mobility was one of their top priorities this year. However, alongside the potential for increased productivity, flexibility and employee satisfaction, comes the IT challenge of managing the proliferation of mobile devices and BYOD initiatives. In spite of the willingness to enable a mobile workforce, 68 per cent of UK businesses still do not have even a BYOD policy in place; nearly half of these cite a lack of IT team resources and skills as posing the biggest challenge to implementing one.

Although implementing a sound BYOD policy can provide many benefits to organisations, the secure management of such policies can be a serious challenge for IT departments. To best reap the benefits of mobility, many organisations now see the cloud as the tool that can manage BYOD polices whilst also ensuring data security.

Desktop-as-a-Service and Mobile Working

Moving from on-premise virtual desktop infrastructures, businesses are increasingly choosing to adopt the hosted, cloud-based model of Desktop-as-a-Service. DaaS, however, is not only being adopted by businesses seeking to gain control over their desktop environments and make them more cost-efficient, but also those seeking to increase employee mobility and implement BYOD policies.

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With DaaS and Enterprise Mobility Management, organisations are able to provide full desktop services accessible from any end-point device whilst allowing IT departments to maintain complete control over corporate data and software on the end-point device. DaaS’ seamless anytime, anywhere access to the organisation’s desktop allows businesses to adopt a BYOD policy that maximises employee productivity whilst ensuring corporate data security and integrity. Even on native clients such as iOS and Android devices, DaaS users can access their corporate desktops, applications, and data anytime and from any device.

With the flexibility of deploying DaaS, organisations are able to support a broader spectrum of workers. As telecommuters make up an increasingly large part of the workforce each year, businesses need solutions that give workers the tools required to be productive, regardless of the location or the device they are working from. A cloud-based DaaS solution not only makes the deployment of BYOD policies more straightforward, but also helps organisations support geographically dispersed workers more easily in a cost-effective and secure manner.

Securing the Mobile Enterprise

Enabling higher employee productivity, however, is not the only business concern when evaluating and deploying mobility solutions. In NaviSite’s survey, 43 per cent of UK businesses replied that securely managing data available to remote and / or temporary workers is the main consideration in evaluating mobility solutions.

Although the proliferation of personal devices used for business purposes has the potential to cut costs and increase the mobility and productivity of workers, it can also make it difficult for IT departments to securely manage access to corporate data. By pairing BYOD programmes with DaaS solutions, organisations can gain greater visibility and control over the desktop environment as all the data is stored in the cloud. This means that if an employee loses their device, the organisation’s data remains uncompromised as it never lived on the device.

Equipping temporary, contractual or task specific workers with the necessary data and software tools for them to carry out their task without compromising wider corporate data and compliance standards can be a strenuous task. DaaS, however, allows organisations to effectively and efficiently deploy and control specific access across a set of end-user devices, ensuring that security and compliance requirements are met, whilst giving workers the tools needed to carry out their specific tasks from any location.

That mobile devices and technologies are changing the way we work is undeniable. As flexible and mobile working becomes increasingly accessible, employee expectations of being enabled to work in these ways will grow. Cloud-based desktop solutions such as DaaS not only allow organisations to meet employee expectations, but also the organisations’ need to ensure the integrity and security of their data.

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