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“Status-Quo” or “Status-Go” in a BYOD World?

By Mike Marx, VMware EUC Consultant

Why do virtual desktop implementations always follow the Status-Quo?  Numerous times, I have encountered administrators that are fearful of change for one reason or another.  An exciting virtual desktop strategy will quickly change into a routine humdrum desktop replacement project when the only incentive seems to be: “This is the way we always do it and we can’t change.”

I remember taking a bold step into uncharted territory when I was managing an IT department for a University back in the early 2000s.  At that time, allowing customers to bring their own computers and access internal network resources was unheard of! This strategy is now commonly called BYOD. [Bring Your Own Device] My strategy was out of the box, had new challenges and requirements, but quickly brought value and a competitive edge to the University.  I completely attribute the success of that project to the shared knowledge of the strategy.  Everyone from top management down to the support desk was aware of the strategy and contributed to the initiative.  There were technical challenges and support challenges, but everyone was engaged, creative, and knew why we were entering this “Bold New World.”

Culture change takes time and everyone wants to do things better.  Somewhere along the way, the virtual desktop strategy has simply become the Status-Quo running on virtual hardware.  Companies must listen to their employees and develop the virtual desktop strategy to effectively deliver productive tools to their end-users.  Some do, but it appears that listening is where the strategy ends in most cases.

A virtual desktop strategy is flexible, it is efficient, it is easy to support and is exciting.  It can provide everything that end-users want.  In short, it challenges the Status-Quo and promotes productivity and creativity.  I encourage companies to develop their virtual desktop strategy and challenge their engineers and support staff to come up with creative ways to change the Status-Quo. Too often, we [IT] end up creating new ways to prevent end-users from utilizing their desktop as a creative tool.

When you are considering implementing per the Status-Quo, keep these points in mind…

Remember when you wanted:

  • A Mainframe terminal…
  • A Desktop PC…
  • A Laptop PC
  • A Blackberry…
  • A Smart-phone …
  • An iPad…

It’s time for Status-Go!

-Mike Marx

Mike Marx is a Senior Consultant with the End User Computing group at VMware.  He has been an active consultant using VMware technologies since 2005.  He is certified in VCP, VSP, VTSP, VCA-DT and VCP-DT, as well as an expert in VMware View, Thinapp, vSphere and SRM.

 

2 thoughts on ““Status-Quo” or “Status-Go” in a BYOD World?

  1. Sebastian Velez

    Definitely the Status-Go is a must nowadays but how would you deal with the security risks and BYOD support?

    Reply
  2. Mike Marx

    Security and support don’t necessarily become complicated in a BYOD environment. Each organization is unique, but generally speaking all security efforts can now be focused on the border firewall into the VDI environment. Knowing the remote protocol and where the traffic is originating from [Security Server/Connection server] follows a standard practice everyone is comfortable with – allowing only known sources and ports into a typical DMZ zone. The strategy is similar and by combining features like VShield endpoint, it becomes easier to manage and scalable.

    Data access needs to be designed to your organization’s requirements. It can be controlled globally with View’s USB redirection policy and/or with applications that control all removable drives if granularity is necessary. Keep in mind that data access issues exist today with portable laptops. The portable nature of a laptop becomes difficult to manage in regulated environments like HIPPA, SOX, etc. When VDI environments are self-contained and provide only the desktop UI, data is inherently controlled and secure. This requires a complete understanding of how users need to access their data and designing the solution accordingly.

    Client device support is an interesting topic. The ‘Status-Quo’ is to wholly support anything attached to the company network. In a BYOD environment the device support typically stops with the installation of the client application allowing the Help Desk tasks to become easier. The end-point device configuration and operating system become the responsibility of the owner; end-users need to understand this through communication. I’ve experienced customers that offer zero clients to their full-time work-at-home employees and also provide floating offices with terminals for visiting employees. It worked well, but the key was communication and working with end-users to let them know what options are available to them and allow end users to help define the solution.

    Think of it like the car you drive to work… Your employer will provide you a parking spot and just wants you to arrive at work. How you get there and what you drive is up to you and is not ‘maintained’ by your employer.

    Reply

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