As more and more people spend at least some of their working week out of the office, companies need to provide anywhere, anytime access to business applications and services from a variety of devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. These devices are just as likely to be owned by employees (Bring Your Own Device) as by the employer (including Choose Your Own Device).
What the analysts say
- Over 70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018 (Forrester)
- Businesses will start to look beyond BYOD, adopting a more managed approach to device usage, particularly where sensitive data is involved (Ovum – 2015 trends)
- By 2018, 40 per cent of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for non-mobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors and conference room.... Wi-Fi brings workers the ability to choose any device and move anywhere without worry (Gartner)
Fordway has helped many organisations develop and implement flexible working and /or BYOD, as well as developing a flexible working solution for its own staff.
As a first step, we recommend classifying users according to their job requirements and need, and then providing the relevant device, services and applications using a virtualised solution. Further information about user classification is available in our White Paper.
There are three ways of implementing a virtualised solution to support both flexible working and BYOD.
- Run a hosted or virtual corporate desktop which the user can access through their device, using software such as Quest, Citrix or VMware.
All the device needs is the appropriate client software or web browser. This solution is largely device independent, so will work with everything from a tablet to an Android phone. It needs appropriate back end support and processing and means that the user cannot work on corporate applications unless they are connected to the network. It can also be set up so the user can only access the desktop from known IP addresses. It is important to ensure that the device is reasonably secure and not infected, with appropriate virus protection.
- Install client hypervisors and desktop check-in/check-out software on the device, such as MokaFive. This is particularly useful for laptops.
This is a higher impact solution as the IT team needs to configure the user device and install the client hypervisor to accept the virtual desktop. It works by partitioning the hard drive into business and personal areas and can then be run locally, so is a good solution if the user needs to work offline. When the user goes online it checks back into the server (using a VMware/Citrix solution) or synchronises (using MokaFive/Quest). However it will not work with all devices as you cannot run a full corporate desktop on devices such as an iPad.
- Repackage applications to be accessed through a portal (similar to iTunes).
This requires either application streaming or the creation of lightweight clients which can run on a smartphone or tablet, which have just enough intelligence to run basic functions, while most of the processing is carried out by the web-based back end. This becomes more difficult if the user wants to run ‘large’ applications such as SAP or Microsoft Office. This is where most people believe desktops are heading, with a web portal used to display available applications to the user accessible from a wide range of devices and operating systems.