Employee Experience

Keep your workforce productive, even when disaster strikes

If there’s one thing that’s certain, besides death and taxes, it’s the unpredictability of Nature. I was reminded of this recently, when my colleagues in Boston were buried under piles of snow, and thousands of people couldn’t drive into the office. Has your organization ever experienced anything like this?


Has a storm, earthquake, power outage or cybersecurity attack ever separated your workers from their desktops and applications? No business is exempt from disaster these days, so even if you haven’t experienced one yet, it’s important to have a recovery plan in place.

One organization we spoke to calculate that they lost $4,000 per day for every employee that loses access to their desktop. And many go out of business following a major disaster. It’s clear that organizations should have a solid disaster recovery plan in place. Yet, research states that 60% of companies do not have a fully documented disaster recovery plan (The State of Global Disaster Recovery Preparedness 2014 Annual Survey).  Although some organizations have disaster recovery plans, these plans primarily cover infrastructure, not the desktops and apps workers rely on to do their jobs.

There are reasons for this. Until recently, there haven’t been many viable options when it comes to a DR plan for your workforce, or workforce continuity. Of those organizations that have a real plan for workforce continuity, we find that most are either trying to use on-premises VDI or some sort of physical desktop DR strategy. While these solutions may work, they’re not feasible for the majority of organizations.

The goal of a great workforce continuity strategy is to provide a solution that can be used in emergency scenarios or a disaster scenario. Which means that purchasing on-premises VDI infrastructure is a costly proposition if those VDI desktops are not being used full-time. The other option is purchasing a physical desktop DR solution where you get temporary office space or a mobile unit with some PC’s. But enterprises are often concerned about the high price of physical desktop DR and the fact that any temporary facility needs to be in a location easily accessed by your whole workforce. For disasters that are regional in nature (like an earthquake), having a physical desktop DR solution doesn’t do you much good.

The good news is there’s a more reliable, simple and cost-effective way to keep workers productive in any event that prevents access to the office: VMware Horizon Air Desktop DR. We just made this new service generally available in November 2014 and here are some of the reasons why customers are considering it:

  • A functioning emergency desktop:  Cloud-hosted desktops are always available, even when your office facilities aren’t. Users can access their emergency desktop from any device, whether it’s a laptop, a tablet, or even a browser. When they access their emergency desktop, they get a fully functional workspace that has your organizations corporate image, apps and access to corporate resources.
  • It’s simple and affordable:  It’s a fraction of the cost of physical desktop DR and there’s no need for physical infrastructure. That means no equipment purchasing, no maintenance and no burden on your IT team. You just reserve desktop capacity like an insurance policy for your workforce. When you want to gain access to your emergency desktops, you just notify VMware.

Horizon Air Desktop DR

For instance, one of our customers, a major sports franchise, was considering VMware vCloud Air for infrastructure DR and also wanted to have a plan for their workforce.  They took advantage of Horizon Air Desktop DR. A major factor that influenced their decision was the ability to put their emergency desktops in the same datacenter as the infrastructure they are replicating with vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. With one vendor they can protect their infrastructure and their workforce.

As this company, and others, have realized, you can’t prevent disasters. But you can prepare so that workforce continuity isn’t at risk. Just look to the cloud.  If you want to see how easy it is to get protected with Horizon Air Desktop DR, click here.