Story image

Connecting the dots between BYOD and the cloud

11 Dec 17

“The only constant is change” is a term that aptly describes the rapid evolution of technology.

In some cases, novel developments that did not initially appear to be disruptive – such as the first touch-screen smartphone and tablet, would completely upend mobility and how we communicate.

Meanwhile, PCs and laptops have also grown to become an inextricable part of business.

In our fast-paced world of rapid changes, how can enterprises navigate the road ahead and successfully leverage mobility and the cloud and bring their business to the next level?

The current state of IT

There is no question that organisations are looking to digital transformation (DX) as the catalyst to more efficiently and effectively utilise technology.

Despite disagreement over how to pull off a successful DX, any meaningful revamp must encompass not just an evaluation of the organisation’s current needs, but also how it can help support or accomplish the DX journey.

The enterprise environment today is one cluttered with a plethora of hardware such as PCs, laptops and smartphones, and topped off with a mix of software ranging from legacy client-server applications to modern web and mobile apps.

A unified device management strategy powered by the right client virtualisation technology can hence go a long way towards helping organisations focus on long-term objectives such as their DX endeavors.

The pull of mobility

According to a report from IDC, BYOD is a prevalent trend among organisations in Asia, with countries in ASEAN as well as Australia leading the way when it comes to support for BYO.

More than five out of 10 organisations in the region either already have a BYO policy in place for mobile devices and laptops, or are planning to roll out an initiative within the next 12 months.

Such a mixed bag of devices and policies does create significant challenges for IT in managing and supporting these devices, as well as providing a seamless access to corporate resources to them.

Enterprises can’t ditch their legacy servers overnight, however, and it is unsurprising that they have turned to virtualisation technology to effectively deploy applications to user-owned devices.

This number is even higher for corporate-liable mobile devices with nearly four out of 10 organisations using either remote application publishing or virtual desktop infrastructure to support application deployment and access, according to the IDC report.

This confirms the view on how virtualisation technology enables mobile access for enterprises.

Virtual desktop infrastructure

The appeal of virtual desktop technology is easy to understand, given its ability to help organisations unify their device management, tap on the power of mobility and keep a lid on costs.

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) based in Melbourne, Australia for instance, leveraged virtualisation to successfully transform its ageing infrastructure.

Having expanded rapidly over the past 20 years, VACCHO employs more than 1,500 individuals distributed across 35 towns and cities across Victoria.

Aside from a disparate mix of devices running Windows, macOS, Android and iOS that employees were using, the infrastructure was also badly outdated and peppered with unsupported versions of software such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

VACCHO turned to virtual desktop infrastructure as part of its digital transformation to modernise both ageing infrastructure and end-user devices.

This allowed data to be kept on a central server with encrypted connections and secured against external threats, while employees could access the data and applications they need wherever they are and on the device of their choosing.

Moving to the cloud

When it comes to the cloud, companies and organisations have become more comfortable with running critical business workloads there.

Connectivity is no longer a major concern, alleviated by the ubiquity of mobile devices and the prevalence of high-speed mobile connectivity. It is easy to see this acceptance of the cloud extending to the desktops and applications as well.

With the cloud, organisations can take this further by leveraging its flexibility for rapid and cost-effective deployments.

By turning to a public cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, enterprises can leverage virtual desktop infrastructure to achieve digital transformation and mobility, but without the cost and complexity of procuring new physical hardware.

Aside from converting capital expenses into operational costs, reliability is also improved but leaving the hardware management to the experts and by designing inherent redundancy with the use of multiple regions.

Moreover, scalability can also be achieved with the use of cloud-based load balancers, easy monitoring and allocating of bandwidth, and ready access to storage without the delays of the hardware procurement process.

Of course, the cloud isn’t a panacea for software licensing considerations, which will necessarily vary depending on organisation needs and deployment strategy.

On this front, the onus is up to organisations to evaluate and decide on the best solution based their requirements and what can deliver the lowest total cost of ownership.

In this era of pervasive BYOD and the cloud, enterprises will be glad to know that they can connect the dots between their existing and legacy enterprise platforms, mobility and the cloud to digitally transform their organisations with a flexible and cost-effective solution.

Article by Kevin Greely, general manager, Parallels Asia Pacific