*This post originally appeared on the AppSense blog prior to the rebrand in January 2017, when AppSense, LANDESK, Shavlik, Wavelink, and HEAT Software merged under the new name Ivanti.

2016 was an interesting year for those of us who work in end user computing (EUC). Technology has continued to evolve; user expectations have continued to rise, and the risk of cyberthreats on the user endpoint has increased significantly. Just managing these three elements is a challenge – but trying to balance them can at times seem impossible.

Let’s start with technology. In 2016 we saw updates to Windows 10, the release of Windows Server 2016, more and more users moving to Office 365, and numerous application delivery and virtualisation technologies like Numecent and CloudHouse start to change the way we deliver and manage applications.

Post-Windows XP migrations, IT has made a good start at increasing user productivity, providing users with improved remote access, access to file and sync solutions, and workspaces that provide unprecedented performance, even when virtualised, thanks to the likes of Nutanix and Atlantis.

While there are now multiple vendors, technologies and solutions to allow IT to deliver operating systems, applications and data to users, not one of those vendors can support every use case. Hence, we are still very much in a hybrid world when it comes to EUC.

In September 2016, we also saw Windows 10 break through the 400M device mark. With more desktops now running Windows 10, (although arguably a large proportion of them in the home), and the continued consumerisation of IT, user expectation has never been higher. These expectations intensify the demands that users, business units, and ultimately the enterprise place on IT. More than ever, IT needs to deliver the best user experience—and deliver it faster, with greater agility, and via environments that are familiar, responsive and flexible.

Sadly, 2016 also saw an increase in cyber threats targeted at end users and their ever-mobile workspace. The perimeter is no longer under attack. Instead, ransomware is being used to specifically target the endpoint and its users. Over 60% of ransomware now comes in via email, and user data, machines and organizations are being held ransom for significant financial gain and/or to deliberately cause havoc using sophisticated social engineering techniques.

We could argue that this increase in ransomware attacks is a direct result of IT trying to improve user experience and meet user expectations. For many, gone are the days of “locking down” a desktop or restricting the users so they couldn’t run or change the make up of the Windows Gold build. For some time, specifically on Windows platforms, users have been given the “keys to the kingdom” and have been able to freely run, execute, install and configure their Windows-based desktop in an effort to provide an improved user experience and greater productivity.

If managing a hybrid mish-mash of technologies and ensuring a 1st class user experience wasn’t hard enough, omnipresent security threats have now made the role of managing EUC harder than ever before.

And 2017 shows NO sign of being any different—but, by monitoring the EUC market, and working intensely with our customers and channel partners, AppSense has continued to evolve, improve, simplify and innovate on the core concept of helping our customers balance technology, user expectation and security—an IT Nirvana we refer to as Secure User Environment Management. Simply put, we’re helping IT secure and optimize the user workspace by managing the user independently of the underlying platform, OS and application.

Today, AppSense is pleased announce the latest version of our DesktopNow suite – v10.1. DesktopNow 10.1 builds on the themes of end point security and simplified IT management balanced by a great user experience introduced in 10.0.

DesktopNow helps IT to Manage, Secure and Optimize the user workspace, providing the following benefits:

  • Enabling IT to manage users across multiple platforms and operating systems
  • Delivering a consistent and high-performing user experience regardless of how desktops and applications are being delivered
  • Securing the user, their data, applications and the operating system.

DesktopNow 10.1 manages users across OS and platforms in these areas:

  • Provides a centralized approach to managing users regardless of location, OS or app delivery
  • Provides a powerful contextual rules engine which enables secure user mobility
  • Reduces the cost associated with multiple images, operating systems and application packaging
  • Reduces capital expenditure by auditing and controlling licenced and compliant software
  • Reduces cost associated with hardware and images by increasing user capacity upto 40%
  • Reduces operational cost by removing profile related support calls and integrating user environment management into existing ISTM tools and workflow

DesktopNow 10.1 improves user experience in the following areas:

  • Improved user desktop and application profile capabilities to provide faster logons and application launch times
  • Additional contextual rules in the Application Control function improve user protections but still allow them to install and run the applications and tools they require
  • Data, profiles and security settings are synchronised across multiple platforms and devices without changing user workflows

DesktopNow 10.1 secures endpoints in the following areas:

  • Protects against unknown ransomware attacks and unauthorised executables
  • Ensures users documents and files are securely backed up, stored centrally and yet are easily accessible without the need for corporate VPN
  • Ensures users are only able to run and access applications and data they are entitled to based on context
  • Dynamically changes security policies for offline workers, remote VDI staff and those that move locations

The DesktopNow 10.1 release builds on the success of v10 and continues to enable IT to manage and secure without comprising user experience. In particular it extends all this goodness to Windows Server 2016, and delivers improved support for Windows 10.

V10.1 is faster, more secure and offers greater support to IT to deliver the very best user experience when migrating and managing users across their estate.

Over the next couple of days, watch this space! Each member of our Product Management team will highlight the new and updated fucntionality in their products.