Making Azure-Powered Workspaces a Reality
This post originally appeared on the RES blog before the company was acquired by Ivanti in July 2017.
As organizations continue to evaluate how to best leverage cloud infrastructure, many common barriers arise. This is especially true when we talk to customers about considering moving workloads onto Azure to provide workers a digital workspace experience powered 100% by cloud. RES and Microsoft Azure are helping organizations get one step closer to realizing the scalability benefits, time savings and potential cost reduction of hosting fully functioning workspaces within the cloud.
If you’ve investigated Azure or another cloud platform to power your workspaces, you probably uncovered few common concerns shared with other enterprises. While technologies like Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and Citrix make it technically possible to host workspace instances from Azure, there are often too many gaps that prevent this from being a viable desktop model across an organization. I’m talking specifically about user experience, security and your IT team’s capacity to manage yet another delivery platform. These concerns present obstacles for many organizations, and in many cases, are preventing them from maximizing the potential of cloud.
Today, you’ll find RES ONE Workspace in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. With this RES offering, many of the hurdles around user acceptance, security and manageability are minimized. Let’s talk about each of these challenges a bit more:
- User experience: The likelihood of user acceptance is a key indicator of technology adoption. Workers simply will not tolerate a step down in their user experience, even if cloud proves beneficial for IT teams. The ability to personalize a workspace and have a consistent experience across different devices and delivery models is critical to providing a positive user experience for today’s workforce. That means that workers will expect to have their same experience that they have today on their virtual and/or physical desktops within their new cloud-powered workspace, and any less than this could be detrimental to a project’s success. RES ensures that all user settings, personalization and data roam with a worker no matter how their workspace is being delivered. This capability becomes instrumental to successfully introducing workspaces powered by Azure.
- Security: Just because a workspace moves into the cloud doesn’t mean the growing number of attacks on your workers will diminish. Cyber threats like ransomware, phishing scams and other forms of malware still pose a risk to workers as they continue to be targeted in attackers’ hopes that they will open an infected file or link and release harmful malware into your environment. Risk is elevated further when unnecessary admin rights are granted, opening your environment to even more vulnerability. The need for people-centric security controls persists when workspaces are run in Azure and should carry over from existing physical and virtual desktop environments. The security rules need to be stringent enough to reduce risks, without hindering productivity, and RES does this by replacing static security policies with dynamic, context aware rules that strike the right balance between security and flexibility.
- Manageability: In a perfect world, today’s delivery models would give-way to new and improved infrastructure, and IT’s job would be easier. In the real world, new technologies like cloud are additive, and IT is tasked with moving their business forward with the latest and greatest technologies, while still carrying the burden of maintaining and investing in legacy infrastructure. For most organizations, their future will be highly hybrid, in many cases IT being tasked to manage physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures and the mix of physical, virtual and cloud applications being used intermittingly within those delivery models. This is not an easy task. IT needs management capabilities that are not siloed within these technology types – it needs solutions, like RES, that allow for streamlined management of these hybrid platforms and apps. Without a way to unify management, IT teams will lose too much time maintaining systems and forfeit the majority of value that technologies like cloud offer.
With these challenges, it’s no surprise that organizations are treading lightly with their plans to a substantial number of workspaces within Azure or another cloud. For most customers, their adoption of cloud is being viewed more as a transformation, a journey that’s in early stages with a lot of potential ahead, but also quite a bit of uncertainty. Working closely with Azure, RES is excited to help organizations overcome their hesitations and be at the forefront of cloud-powered workspace adoption.
*Following the launch of RES ONE Enterprise on February 21, 2017, RES ONE Service Store is now RES ONE Identity Director and RES ONE Suite is now RES ONE Enterprise.