Remote work solutions

Author: Ryan Beauchamp, Solution Architect, CDW Canada

With the number of remote work solutions available these days, there’s more availability of information than ever before. We get asked what the best solution is for remote workers every day. The pandemic has created a surge of requests for remote workspaces as so many organizations have sent their staff home. This shift, however, has shown organizations that remote workers can be as productive as they would be in-office, and because of this, the solutions they initially put in place as temporary remote work solutions are becoming long-term solutions and the core to an organization’s success.

Now that remote work is no longer seen as temporary, many organizations are asking the question of “which solution is the right one for the long term?”. When answering that question, there are a number of factors that to consider to ensure the end solution meets both organization and coworker needs and wants, and is also cost-effective and high performing. These factors are:

  • Do we need desktops or applications?
  • What performance do we need?
  • Where is our data located?
  • Do we want to buy hardware or use the cloud?
  • Do we invest in software/hardware or buy a service?
  • How do we secure and protect our data when users are at home?

Hosted Applications

Hosted applications have been around for a long time and should still be on every organization’s radar. It is also important to note that you do not always need a complete virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) configuration to allow remote users to access a few applications that need to be run close to the backend systems.

Additionally, hosted applications are also the leader when it comes to densification of users. The amount of infrastructure needed to run published applications for 200 users is almost 50% less. I am reminded of an old saying, “Don’t use a sledgehammer when a scalpel will do”. Consider what your need is and whether publishing applications are the right fit.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Recently there has been a growing shift toward VDI over than hosted applications. This trend is great if you are looking to refresh your PCs and laptop fleet, standardize and streamline users’ windows experience, increase velocity in application updates or just increase the security posture of your organization, as VDI allows you to ensure complete security over your data.

The past five years have brought drastic improvements to VDI and how we manage these virtualized desktops. VDI is the right choice when you want give users a consistent user experience, both internally and externally. It will strengthen your security, increase productivity and reduce strain on your desktop management provisioning. The tools within VDI also give administrators the ability to separate the Windows OS from the applications, which can change how your teams manage application versions and windows patches separately.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

The newcomer on the block is Desktop as a Service (DaaS). With the global pandemic this year we saw companies rapidly adopting new work from home strategies, and DaaS was on the front lines to provide these solutions. Every public cloud vendor includes a DaaS now, with the two most notable being Azure and AWS. The benefit of DaaS is that the services are quick and easy to deploy, do not require large infrastructure design and can be easily managed through a web portal. You also do not need to worry about performance of the system because this is guaranteed by the provider.

This all sounds good right? So why wouldn’t every organization go with this solution? The reason is simple – latency. Traditional applications work on a front-end and back-end design, by moving to a DaaS solution your front-end application clients will be pushed to the cloud, and depending on where your application back-end is hosted, your applications could suffer performance degradation due to the data round trip latency. When evaluating DaaS you will need to be highly critical about what applications will be on your desktop, how your users will access resources and where those resources are located. You will also want to ensure that you have proper security controls in place and that all your corporate policies will work with this service.

No matter what remote work solution you are looking at, the first question you should ask yourself is what type of user experience you are looking for. User experience in the world of end user computing is paramount, because in order for your solution to be successful, you require user adoption and satisfaction.

The CDW team has helped many clients transform to work from home powerhouses and have many successful deployments under their belts. If you want to learn more about what long term remote work solution will work best for you and your employees, visit cdw.ca/solutions or contact your CDW account team.

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