Small businesses face numerous challenges on a daily basis, but enabling their employees to work on any device, anywhere in the office, shouldn’t be giving them a headache. With today’s offices, workers are more likely to grab their phone or tablet when they move from their desk than a notepad and pen. As such, SMEs who want to stay ahead of the times need to look for ways to ensure their employees can access their work and business applications on their mobile devices.
Moreover, if you and your team travel for work, you’ll need to access your business applications and current work files from any location around the world and on any mobile device such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop. If this sounds like a massive and expensive challenge for your IT department, think again because this kind of capability is not as hard as it sounds and is certainly possible on SME budgets. Here are some tips on how to make this possible for your business.
Keep it simple for IT
Your IT manager needs to enable employees to access their work applications, data and desktops on any device they choose, at any time and in any location. At the same time, IT must keep your network and data secure, ensure GDPR compliance, and keep applications up-to-date.
With a potentially wide variety and number of mobile devices to manage, it’s a headache for IT to impose security software and add updates and patches on them all individually. The answer is remote application delivery (RAS) and virtual desktops, which allows employees to access any Windows® application, along with their files and desktops, on their mobile devices with everything safely and easily managed by IT from a central dashboard interface.
In practice: Although remote application delivery and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can be complex and expensive, there are some easy-to-use and cost-effective solutions around so check the market carefully and don’t assume that the big brand solutions are the best.
Work, not stress
Mobile working should be fast, simple, stress-free, and therefore productive. From the employee’s point of view, if they’re using their own smartphone or tablet to access work applications, they'll want to be able to use it in a way they feel most comfortable with. Employees who frequently travel or are out of the office for business meetings also need to be able to access corporate resources from anywhere, at any time. For this, your business requires a seamless and consistent end-user experience for all applications across all devices regardless of their OS platform.
In practice: Look for an easy-to-install software solution that lets your team seamlessly and securely access their work from any device running Windows®, Linux, Mac®, iOS, Android™, Thin Client, Chromebook™, Raspberry Pi, and more. They should also be able to work on their chosen device using the gestures they are familiar with so that they don’t have to experience a steep learning curve.
With virtual application delivery, IT departments can take control of security because shared applications and data resources accessed over a mobile network can be saved in a closed-off central server. Through using virtual images, this data need never actually leave the server, making it super secure and IT can even remotely ensure a strict separation between corporate and personal data.
In practice: By delivering server-based desktops and applications from a central location, IT managers can easily back up endpoints, deploy and maintain security, and meet compliance regulations. Look for a solution that adds extra layers of protection such as multifactor authentication, smart card authentication, advanced encryption protocols and a granular level of filtering.
Out of the cloud
Cloud computing solves the problem of mobile and remote working as it is the environment that enables remote application delivery and VDI. With this type of solution, you’ll be able to fully embrace working on any device from any location to benefit from productivity gains while ensuring data security. Some solutions can require a high spend on expensive hardware, licences and software add-ons, but there are high quality but cost-effective offerings on the market.
In practice: Find a solution with a simple licensing package that includes all available services and a clean upgrade path for scalability as this will keep costs down. You also want easy configuration and fast installation so you and your team can be up and running with mobile and remote working in less than five minutes.
The sky’s the limit
If you haven’t already made the move to cloud-based processes, the desire to enable mobile working might be a good reason to do so. In addition to mobility, the best thing about cloud technology is that it’s continuing to grow and develop every day. When it comes to what will be possible in the future, the sky’s the limit and the beauty of RAS is that all your technology and security updates will always be up-to-date, ensuring you and your employees have a continually productive experience.
About the Author
Paul Fisher is a technical consultant at Parallels, and a technical advisor for the Parallels Remote Application Server and PMM products, assisting customers and partners to test, architect and implement these solutions.