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Better Business Continuity With the Digital Workspace

How VMware Workspace ONE can help employers during a sudden work-from-home scenario.

Mar 9, 2020 6 minute read

The above statement is the guiding principle of the Digital Workspace Practice at WWT. I was reminded again of its relevance when I recently attended a meeting at the headquarters of a company whose global reach includes facilities and employees in China.

Upon entering the lobby, I saw staff members at a desk with a monitor and what looked like a camera pointing at the incoming walkway. I assumed they were simply recording or photographing incoming persons for security purposes. However after passing the desk, I looked back and saw that the device was a thermal imaging system.

A monitor showed a readout from the device with large numbers listing the temperature of the person being evaluated. Staff members were scanning people with the thermal imaging system to detect if they had a fever as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. Anyone whose temperature exceeded a specified threshold was denied entry. 

I began to think: What is the business impact if an employee is denied access? And, how does a business change if the number employees denied access increases dramatically? 

Business continuity versus disaster recovery

The current focus on the coronavirus provides a reminder of the critical need for businesses large and small to develop plans to ensure business continuity (BC) against such a threat.

This is fundamentally different than planning for disaster recovery (DR). Unfortunately, the two are often conflated. 

While DR focuses on the restoration of services and resources after a catastrophic event, BC focuses on maintaining regular business operations throughout an event or threat to normal processes. 

I like to think of it this way. DR focuses on the infrastructure and data — replacing data center resources, restoring data from backups, replication points, etc. — BC focuses on people and workflows. How do employees continue to get their jobs done and keep business running throughout a disruption?

Many IT organizations dedicate considerable time and treasure to the creation and testing of DR plans focused on the data center. Often, however, users are forgotten. 

Yes, it’s important to get an SQL database back online and associated applications functional, but does it matter if no one can access them?

WWT has evaluated, tested and deployed several methods and solutions for empowering users to be productive wherever they are

In our opinion, Workspace ONE by VMware provides the best solution with a number of capabilities that play key roles in enabling and improving BC.

Here's a look at four ways Workspace ONE improves business continuity. 

Access to applications from anywhere, at any time, on any device

As part of the Workspace ONE platform, VMware Horizon provides desktop and application virtualization (e.g. VDI and RDS). It creates and manages virtual Windows and Linux desktops and applications that may be accessed from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

These resources may be hosted on-premises (Horizon 7); in a public cloud (Horizon on VMC on AWS, Horizon Cloud on IBM Cloud or Horizon Cloud on Azure); or a hybrid combination of both. 

They provide high-performance user experiences without the need for full-device VPN connections to access corporate resources. The user experience is equivalent, if in fact not better, working remotely than being in the office. Employees can keep the business running from wherever they are, and from whatever device they can access. 

You don't need a VPN to connect to office workstations

It's important to note that the high-performance, secure remote access capabilities provided by VMware Horizon are not limited to virtual desktops and applications. 

These benefits may be extended to PCs located in the office, making them remotely accessible from anywhere via any device. 

Instead of launching a VPN connection on a corporate managed laptop from home (or any untrusted network) and then relying on suboptimal display protocols such as RDP through the VPN tunnel to connect to a remote PC, an employee may simply connect from any available device and have a highly secured and optimized experience. 

This capability may be a great starting point for businesses that do not have virtual desktops or applications today but would benefit tremendously from a remote PC access solution that doesn’t rely on corporate-managed laptops or desktops. 

Up-to-date devices without the corporate network

When you take a holistic approach to digital workspace, you also gain the ability to maintain management of devices regardless of connection to a managed network.

Many enterprise endpoint management technologies rely on the devices being connected to a managed LAN/WAN with GigE performance. But what happens when the devices are not connected? What happens when the workforce is shifted off-site due to travel or contagious disease concerns

For many, the available bandwidth doesn’t facilitate a quality VPN connection (if at all), so their devices may be unreachable, and correspondingly unmanaged, for an extended period of time. 

However, by shifting to a more modern device management methodology via Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), devices are managed by an architecture which is designed to function over untrusted or trusted networks of varying bandwidth. 

This ensures that corporate-managed devices may continue to be managed and secured wherever and whenever a device connects to the internet, keeping devices in compliance and keeping the employees productive. 

Enabling and integrating collaboration tools

Communication and collaboration are core components to any business and critical parts of the digital workspace. 

Very few job roles can successfully be completed in isolation, and business can thrive when employees collaborate. 

At WWT, for instance, we depend on the development of high-performance teams to serve our customers, solve tough problems and run our business. 

As a global company, our teams are frequently geographically distributed. For example, I'm part of the EUC Global Engineering Team. None of us live in the same state and we’re spread across four time zones. 

We support the company globally, so we may be working with account teams and clients from anywhere in the world at any given time. 

The use of team collaboration software, audio and video conferencing, IM/chat/presence systems and other tools is essential.

Making these tools simple, reliable and frictionless is paramount to making teams and businesses borderless and productive. Workspace ONE integrations with these tools provide an excellent employee experience regardless of location, time zone or device availability.

Conclusion

New threats and disruptions will continue to arise. Solid business continuity plans and technologies are crucial for businesses not just to survive but also thrive during these times. 

Crafting a holistic approach to end-user computing in general — and using Workspace ONE in particular — will enable employees to stay productive wherever they are and keep the business growing, no office required. 

One of the best ways to get started is by getting hands-on experience with VMware Workspace ONE through our on-demand labs

You can also connect with me. I'm happy to discuss any questions you have about BC as it relates to your particular business requirements. 

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