Remote desktop technologies have long been rooted in the IT tradition, but the pandemic emergency, as has happened for many other digital applications, has presented them with a condition of unexpected popularity. In fact, alongside the “traditional” remote assistance function, there is a definite need for teleworking and intelligent working support. Thanks to their practicality, remote Desktop and, more generally, desktop virtualization technologies (VDI) find themselves at the center of a debate that sees the emergence of new cloud-based business models, such as Desktop as a Service (DaaS). This cloud service could represent the optimal solution for remote working needs.
So let’s see what the conditions that make the use of a remote desktop environment desirable, in light of what has been the emergency linked to Covid-19 and in the perspective of the new normal that awaits us in the coming years when we will see stabilization of an increasingly hybrid conception of the workplace, responding to actual smart working are.
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Teleworking And Smart Working
Operational continuity was reflected in two conditions: teleworking and intelligent working, united by a remote disease concerning the office but somewhat different at the organizational model level.
Teleworking coincides with carrying out the work in the office in the same manner: approximately the same hours, the same tasks and the same organizational model. On the other hand, smart working refers more specifically to a flexible condition, more functional to achieving specific objectives than to simply satisfying some rigid pre-set routines. The agile organization that supports innovative working processes should make the worker more efficient and guarantee greater freedom in reconciling professional needs with those that cannot be postponed from private life.
In teleworking conditions, the minimum objective for a company is to achieve the same level of efficiency that it would have with the same employees in the office. At the same time, in the cases of adopting actual smart working, the benefits deriving from a model more agile should increase performance, even quite significantly in the case of a strategy aimed at continuous improvement.
Even in different conditions, teleworking and smart working enable a need for remote access to the corporate IT infrastructure, where you can find the operational tools necessary to carry out your work. This condition is ensured by remote desktop systems, which allow access to physical or virtual machines, with the possibility of using the most modern Desktop as a Service (DaaS) environments in the cloud. This increasingly widespread model has all the credentials to become an absolute operating standard.
Remote Desktop: What It Is And How It Works
In its natural condition, the remote Desktop consists of remotely accessing one’s PC in the office using another computer device, whether a PC or a mobile device. Thanks to a direct connection between two devices, the user can remotely control a machine by accessing its resources, including access to the data present on any company server. Once a remote desktop service has been enabled, it is possible to control a machine remotely, using the same input devices (e.g., mouse and keyboard) of the machine with which you interact to connect. On our monitor, we will then see the Desktop of the machine to which we are connected remotely, and from there, we will be able to access all practical applications.
In the most specific condition, to enable access to a remote desktop, you need a network connection and, preferably, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection, a virtual private network capable of guaranteeing satisfactory conditions of privacy and data security through a reserved communication channel between devices, with the practical advantage that they do not necessarily have to be connected to the same local network (e.g., LAN).
Remote desktop systems are present as integrated services in the most popular operating systems (at least in the professional versions) or through third-party applications, which use different interfaces and protocols to substantially achieve the same goal: to allow a user to manage one or more machines remotely.
Remote desktop services were born in the first place to connect physical machines and allow, for example, IT management and maintenance by systems engineers rather than remote access to files and applications by end users. Remote connection is a concept that also applies very efficiently to virtualization. It is, in fact, possible to connect to a desktop operating system installed on a virtual machine. This condition allows you to take advantage of a wide range of benefits offered by virtualization technologies, both in terms of operational flexibility and general security, even in remote connections.
Desktop Virtualization: Flexibility And Security
Virtual desktops can be understood as an additional level of demonetization compared to connecting directly to a physical machine through the network. The desktop environment is virtualized on a server, physical or virtual, which the end user can access from any location on the web. Compared to the “traditional” remote Desktop, a virtual desktop allows you to enjoy greater flexibility and scalability, typical of a VDI ( Virtual Desktop Infrastructure ) system.
To have a simple perception of the difference between a remote desktop on a physical machine and a virtual desktop, it is sufficient to pay attention to the fact that the former will always remain limited, for better or for worse, by the specifications of the machine itself, which can become redundant or insufficient to vary the operational needs of the end user. In the case of virtualization, mainly when it relies on cloud infrastructure, it is possible to create a scalable condition whereby as needs change, the system can reallocate, even automatically, the necessary resources to satisfy any request dynamically.
Another benefit of desktop virtualization is security. While connecting to a remote desktop on a physical machine presents several apparent vulnerabilities, accentuated by the fact that users connect from locations beyond the centralized control of corporate IT, a virtual desktop is easily isolated from external threats. Centralizing security allows you to implement authentication and control services that are easier to control and present a condition that is easier to remedy should a threat arise.
In the event of a viral infection, the virtual Desktop remains isolated from the hypervisor and, more generally, from the physical server hosting it. To restore it, it will be sufficient to reproduce an instance or a snapshot that is believed to be reliable. In the case of a remote desktop on a physical machine, an infection could force you to restore the entire system, with a higher risk of data loss. Using a virtual desktop also discourages the loss of sensitive data from the company, as it reduces the possibility that the user has to transfer them locally to carry out the planned operations. The most sensitive points, which correspond to the devices with which users connect remotely,
Desktop virtualization is possible both on-premises and in the cloud. This infrastructural environment can enable accurate business models based exclusively on services, as has been happening for a long time with application software.
Desktop As A Service: The New Cloud-Native Business Model
The Desktop offers an additional level of remoting as a Service (DaaS) model, implemented natively on a cloud platform. In addition to all the general advantages of the cloud, relating to the exemption for companies from the investment in a proprietary IT infrastructure and the functional scalability to the number of resources required, a DaaS allows you to have an almost immediate desktop environment accessible through a simple browser from any device. A turnkey approach will enable you to be immediately operational without dealing with those that often result in lengthy and complex configuration and maintenance processes.
Thanks to the continuous work carried out by the service provider, a DaaS offers the end user, in a transparent way, the most up-to-date version of the applications, exempting the corporate IT from those interventions that would be necessary with on-premises desktop installations.
These conditions, valuable and functional for teleworking, become a highly advantageous operating condition in the case of intelligent working, providing a decidedly more agile and varied organizational model in the configuration required by its users.
Remote Desktop And Smart Working: The Central Role Of Change Management
Regardless of the type of remote Desktop to be used, it is necessary, or in any case desirable, to face a change management process to introduce essential changes in the company that does not reside only in the work tool but, above all, in the mindset that employees must adapt to increase its efficiency in the context of digital transformation.
In the case of smart working, it is essential to understand the meaning of the change in the organizational model above all. As long as an employee is limited to the eight-hour vision typical of traditional office life, it is unlikely that he will be able to capitalize on the investments and efforts made by the company to modernize its IT equipment.
Rather than imposing certain variations in the work pipelines “from above,” it is, in fact, preferable to support a transition by proceeding in stages, to implement the new tools with functional timelines for the adaptation of the workings by the teams that support them. However efficient, the latest technologies risk becoming ineffective or underused if they are not supported by the widespread consensus in recognizing and putting the new working methods envisaged into practice.