The Best Way to Manage Microsoft Windows? The Perfect “PC.”

You’ve heard this story and if you’re involved in IT you’ve probably lived it. Today, either you’re managing hordes of physical PCs and other devices, or you’re trying to stay on top of on-premises VDI complexity and reliability challenges, or both. You may even be starting to evaluate cloud desktop options (in which case, you are on the right track!) When you think about it, this decades-long effort to improve end-user computing efficiency and performance while reducing costs is a quest. Our CEO, Amitabh Sinha, has met with hundreds of CIOs and IT teams, and he had an epiphany: Enterprises have been seeking the Perfect PC™. We think it really rings true. Think about all the hoops you’ve jumped through over the years to improve the computing experience for users – all in the name of efficiency, productivity, and serving your customers well. Technically, in the age of virtualization and the public cloud, it’s more accurate to say we are on a quest for the perfect personal computing method, since the actual device used is only part of the “perfection equation.”

But the “perfect personal computing method” does not sound nearly as good as the “Perfect PC” now does it?

It’s true that one company’s idea of perfect is often different than another’s – that’s why the Perfect PC must be flexible. It’s a foundational quality because there are so many uses cases and users with a variety of requirements. So back to the question at hand: What is the best way to provide end-users with access to the compute resources they need to be productive? How can enterprises balance this with the flexibility, security, and performance they need for business agility and risk management? How can centralization and automation make IT teams – and your enterprise – more productive? Let’s discuss your options.

A Few Options for the Perfect PC

You can corral Windows with management tools

There are many tools available, such as Microsoft SCCM, to help streamline the upkeep of thousands of enterprise PCs, but the reality is that even with these tools, how can you possibly stay on top of such a large number of endpoints distributed all over the world? You can’t. It’s too resource-intensive. And today the risk of a single unpatched PC is too great. Oh and there’s your hardware refresh cycle every 3-4 years. You can make it much easier on yourself – why not?!

You can centralize Windows with VDI

That’s what VDI is all about. Centralize everything in the data center and deliver Windows desktops and apps securely to any device, anywhere. This sounds great except for a few things, beginning with the “anywhere” part. The reality is that if you’re lucky enough to live in Sydney, but your company’s data center is in Dallas, when you try to get some work done your performance is going to suffer. Latency is a physics problem that’s not going away anytime soon. So, while many customers did gain some security benefits from VDI, there is a substantial cost: Productivity. Add up slow performance, unhappy users, difficulty scaling and ever-increasing OpEx to deal with all the complexity, and what do you have? A compelling opportunity to rethink your IT strategy.

You can get rid of Windows and switch to Chromebooks

Chromebooks and Android devices are the popular crowd these days, especially with Millenials. This generation and those following it are always-on; they are accustomed to being connected to modern web apps, using a variety of portable devices, and everything just works. With greater than 70% market share in schools, it’s likely that much of their tech education happened on a Chromebook. There’s little doubt that Chromebooks and Android will continue to play an important role as these tech influencers fill the job market.

Enterprise Requirements for the Perfect PC

What’s cool about the Perfect PC is that it’s not an end game; it’s a journey with an ever-evolving landscape. It’s based on Workspot’s Cloud Desktop Fabric™ architecture, which provides the flexibility and scalability you’ll need to keep up with technology shifts and changing business demands.  So what would the Perfect PC accomplish? As we’ve said, enterprises’ definition of “perfect” will vary, but what they need to achieve with the Perfect PC has common threads. Our enterprise customers tell us there are 4 key requirements at the top of their lists:

The Perfect PC must improve my security posture

There’s a lot of talk in information security circles about the Zero Trust Security model. This is a perspective that assumes every request for access to your corporate information assets  – devices, networks, applications, etc. – is a breach.  The bottom line is “never trust, always verify.” The principle of least privileged access is essential to the model, which allows users access to precisely what they need, and nothing more, on a just-in-time basis, to conduct their work. CISOs and IT leaders are constantly looking for ways to contribute to their Zero Trust posture. Workspot augments enterprise security via our cloud-native architecture all the way through to the Workspot Client that resides on users’ devices. A crucial design decision that enables us to participate in Zero Trust Security models is our control plane and data plane separation. No other vendor has done this. It means that cloud desktop provisioning and management controls are completely separate from your data. Your data never enters Workspot Control. We can’t see it. This is not the case with other vendors’ solutions. Zero Trust means that you don’t trust anyone, not even the vendor of your cloud desktop service. Our advice? Ask vendors really hard security questions. And for end-user computing that enhances your security posture? Workspot. Check.

The Perfect PC should deliver outstanding performance

People may talk about protocols and which one is better/faster, but that’s an old conversation. When it comes to performance, the real issue, as we’ve pointed out, is latency. People using a legacy virtual desktop when they are located far away from the data center are going to have poor performance. Throw any protocol in the mix and the latency is still a problem. So to deliver performance that makes your users happy (even CAD engineers!), you solve the latency problem by placing Workspot cloud desktops in the cloud region closest to your users, which is typically less than 50ms away. They won’t even notice they are remote. Outstanding performance that is often even better than a physical desktop or workstation? Workspot. Check.

The Perfect PC must simplify IT for my organization (aren’t you tired of empty “simplicity” promises!?)

Everyone knows that the effort involved in managing hundreds or thousands of physical endpoints is time-consuming and fraught with risk; how can you possibly make sure every endpoint people use for work is secure? There’s nothing simple about managing this many physical devices, even with best of breed management tools. With on-premises VDI, the complexity (and associated OpEx costs) are well-known. But those same vendors who promised that VDI would simplify IT are now making the same simplicity promise with the cloud-hosted versions of their products – and they describe this as “turnkey” too. Wait, what? Putting an outdated VDI architecture in the cloud doesn’t simplify anything. And there’s nothing turnkey about it, at least not by our definition.

Here is what massive IT simplification looks like: Workspot helps move your Windows 10 desktop workloads to the public cloud and we take the SLA off your hands. You provision and manage your cloud desktops, all over the world, through a single web console. Spin up new desktops in minutes when you need them, and you never spend time managing infrastructure or parsing cloud desktop bills (just enjoy the flat-rate pricing!). Your cloud desktop service is always up to date and continually adding cool, new features. You can even have standby cloud desktops that IT can activate with one click during a business continuity event. Let’s face it –  you and your team have better things to do than micromanage a bunch of infrastructure. For true simplicity? Workspot. Check.

The Perfect PC must be customizable

Some vendors take a rudimentary approach to cloud desktops. That is to say, the cloud desktop is one-size-fits-all, which can work for small companies. In contrast, Workspot’s turnkey cloud desktop and workstation service was built for simplicity, while meeting enterprise requirements. You shouldn’t have to change the management tools you use or settle for a vanilla, server-based Windows 10 “experience” instead of a real Windows 10 desktop. You should be able to customize your cloud desktops with your Windows 10 corporate image and apply your existing security policies and MFA (such as Azure Active Directory or Okta), and you shouldn’t have to train your staff to use IT processes that someone else, who does not understand your company, dreamed up. Workspot is the only turnkey, cloud desktop service with customizable everything, ready to meet the unique needs of enterprises. Check.

How to Build  the Perfect PC

There are 4 components to the Perfect PC, and you can mix and match to get what you need for every use case you need to address because as we know, one size does not fit all!

  1. A low-cost endpoint: Microsoft Surface Go, Chromebook, and Android phones are popular with our customers. Have power users? You can easily connect these devices to a keyboard and multiple monitors when you need large-screen productivity.
  2. A wireless network: Today it’s WLAN or 4G, soon you’ll have 5G.
  3. A high-performance Windows 10 cloud desktop that’s 50ms or less away from each user – Workspot!
  4. An elastic, global public cloud: Today Workspot works closely with Microsoft, and we deploy cloud desktops and GPU workstations across 56+ Azure regions.

 

If you’re ready to explore the possibilities for your organization, let’s talk. We’ll schedule some time with one of our product experts who can show you how it works!