Feeds

Managing and supporting the flexible desktop

What, where and how?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Desktop Strategy Many organisations nowadays crave the ability to offer employees “flexible” desktops. This is seen as a way of keeping pace with more mobile, flexible working practices by providing access to the same corporate desktop systems from any, or at least approved, Internet-connected devices.

You can achieve this by virtualising applications or other desktop components using VDI, remote desktop or terminal services deployments. No surprise then that some Reg readers are turning to virtualisation technologies, including those for virtual application and profile access, to realise the benefits of increased desktop flexibility.

IT departments are implementing virtualised desktop environments to consolidate, standardise and streamline IT resource management and delivery, including licensing compliance. Instead of full PC workstation hardware, users get more flexible access, where thin clients can cut the costs of hardware and power, and virtual profiles can offer access to a personalised desktop from pretty much anywhere.

Managing and supporting more flexible desktops is not just about buying new client devices and servers though. Automating many routine PC and software maintenance tasks can offset the management load of increased uptime and security that often accompanies the delivery of increased flexibility for the end user. Organisations can also vary the degree of resources, such as processing, storage, and networking, that are needed depending on the type and scope of virtualisation technology deployment. A different or new sets of management tools may also be needed.

IT management tools must meet clearly defined resource and policy enforcement needs, according to Quocirca analyst and director, Bob Tarzey. He said research has shown that ensuring the right resources are allocated demands an understanding of the likely future requirements when desktop workloads are provisioned. For example, virtualised desktop workloads may need plenty of storage allocated to ensure users can always save their work - although thin provisioning allows you to pre-allocate storage.

The planning phase of workload requirements is the time to ensure that appropriate security is in place and that the software used by the workload is fully licensed. "Once workloads are deployed, it is necessary to measure their activity and monitor the environment they are running in," said Tarzey.

This may sometimes mean allocating more resources or perhaps moving workloads from one virtual or physical IT environment to another, and ensuring that security and compliance policies are maintained. For example you may want to ensure that users can process and store personal data in permitted locations, firmly within corporate firewalls, with encrypted transmission across a VPN.

Of course, flexible desktop initiatives need to mitigate risks from an increased reliance on connectivity to corporate or public networks for IT delivery. Putting stronger identity and access management and intrusion protection systems in place is a cost no organisation can afford to leave out of a desktop virtualisation project.

To overcome any difficulties that may affect virtualisation or the delivery of complex applications, including multimedia ones, testing, migrating and monitoring the software estate in the new desktop environment is also important, as well as setting up and maintaining driver updates for printers and other peripherals across a greater variety of access endpoints.

Major vendors are responding to demand for more flexible desktop provisioning with licensing changes. Last July, Microsoft eliminated the need for Windows Client Software Assurance customers to buy a separate licence to access its operating system in a VDI environment, folding virtual desktop access rights into its enterprise-level Software Assurance licence. It also extended access rights to virtual Windows desktops and Microsoft Office applications hosted on VDI and remote desktop technology via secondary, non-corporate network devices, such as home PCs.

Whatever the technology investment, IT datacentre managers should give full consideration to the backend impact of more flexible desktops. Without these considerations, any intended benefits might be hard to realise for IT, as well not apparent to, or at worse counterproductive for, the end user. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.