The Future of Work is Here — and It’s Radically Flexible
The vital role a remote access solution plays in modernizing your workplace
Business as usual is never coming back — or at least not in the way it once was. The global pandemic has impacted nearly every industry and has fundamentally altered how we work. Even businesses that were known for stringent in-office protocols have made sweeping changes to support remote employees and a hybrid workforce.
The past few years have spurred real shifts and transformed work/life as we know it. Employees are challenging traditional ways of thinking, demanding more flexible accommodations, and ultimately deciding that it’s time to shake up the status quo. In response, organizations are re-evaluating the policies and strategies that worked pre-pandemic. Forward thinking leaders have realized that, in regard to the workplace, the post-COVID era is poised for big changes. They are embracing technology that not only capitalizes on evolving dynamics but can provide a strategic business advantage to a distributed workforce in a hybrid world.
Remote access plays an instrumental role in the revolution of the workplace and is a core component of the future of work. As a provider of enterprise-grade remote access software, Leostream has assisted large organizations across nearly every major industry in making remote desktops possible. In this whitepaper, we’re sharing insights into using the Leostream Platform to enable key themes impacting the enterprise and the future of the workplace.
Changing Workforce Expectations Requires a Response
As companies forge a path forward, it’s important to realize that the world of work is different. Radical flexibility about when, where, and how much people work is a key trend that is gaining rapid momentum. Gartner reports that, “75% of the workforce expects flexible working arrangements and 39% would leave their current positions if their employees were to go back to a fully on-site model”.1
Meeting these expectations is more attainable across some industries than others. Obviously, remote work is impractical for tasks that require people to physically be on-site. For example, a surgeon can’t perform an operation from home! That said, the vast majority of industries are capable of providing remote options for many users and tasks.
So, why is it that even when remote access is possible, some organizations and entire industries have shied away from making the shift?
In the past, there simply wasn’t enough demand from workers or pressure on organizations for improved flexibility. That pressure now exists. Other reasons why industries have been slow to adopt remote access is the perception that it’s too difficult to meet certain security or workflow requirements — which is often the cause for hesitation amongst organizations in the government, healthcare, and financial sectors. This perception can be put to rest as the right technology is available to meet even the strictest security practices and advanced workflows.
Confronted with such profound changes, organizations must overcome the hurdles or risk falling behind.
The Future of Work is Here with Leostream
If your enterprise has been at a crossroads on how to restructure its technology to support remote and hybrid workers, then it’s in good company. Countless organizations have turned to Leostream to help keep employees engaged and productive with reliable access to corporate resources.
The Leostream Platform embodies two decades of research and development in enabling hosted desktop environments, including on-premises VDI and workstations, hybrid cloud, and high-performance display protocols. According to Storage Review, the Leostream Platform has proven to be one of the world’s most robust desktop-connection management platforms with a remote-access feature set that allows today’s enterprises to choose the best-of-breed components to satisfy complex security, cost, and flexibility needs.
What’s more is that our customer success team is here to help. As pioneers in the virtual desktop and hosted application space, we are experts at ensuring that your environment supports every aspect of your organization’s unique IT needs. The Leostream Customer Success team is available to make recommendations on the various components of your environment and can assist in architecting your design.
Preparing for Shifting Dynamics and Leveraging Leostream
As you prioritize and prepare for the future of work, Leostream can help position your company for success. Below we outline several areas that have been future focus areas for our customers.
Let’s explore some of these major themes and how a remote access solution provided by Leostream can help you to navigate what lies ahead.
- Cultivating a “People-Centered” Approach
Designing the work environment around the physical location where people gather, i.e. the office, many not function as well moving forward. A new approach is to take the focus off of the location and to put individuals at the heart of the design. By putting your people at the center, you can build a supportive working environment that can enhance business results.
Providing flexible work experiences and intentional collaboration are some of the guiding principles for organizations that want to lean into a people-centric approach. Organizations can deliver on this value proposition by making remote access capabilities available to workers and moving away from an on-site model that forces teams to meet in the office.
Having a remote access tool with collaboration options makes it possible for employees to efficiently share resources when they are not physically together. Leostream offers a variety of specific features around collaboration, including the ability for users to simultaneously be logged into the same session.
- Transforming the Office Environment
The workplace itself is ripe for change. Since many employees have proven to be effective and satisfied with a work-from-home model, it begs the question of what purpose the office serves? By creating an elevated office experience or one that offers benefits over working from home, companies aim to bring employees back together in-person.
The goal at Leostream is to help you create a user-experience that is the same regardless of whether someone is within the four walls of the organization or off-site. By detaching people from workstations under their desks, they can remain productive when enjoying new office environment perks and transition to a home-based office without skipping a beat.
- Focusing on Talent Retention and Recruitment
Retaining your best employees and attracting new hires have always been top priorities, but these are now taking center stage as workers consider their flexibility options. In what’s been dubbed, “the Great Reshuffle,” people continue to leave current jobs in droves for betters fits elsewhere.
With a proper remote access solution in place, organizations can retain current employees who want flexibility. In addition, offering telecommuting capabilities breaks down geographical barriers so that talent can be recruited and on-boarded from any location. This presents a significant business advantage for companies wanting to broaden their recruiting reach and land the best talent.
Many Leostream customers have been able to tap a wider talent pool, source new candidates and make hires based on skills without being tied to location. “Boom and bust” industries that experience busy seasons and project-based work can take advantage of tools within Leostream to quickly spin up desktops for new talent when needed and then tear them back down once a deadline has been met. As an example, this has been a major benefit to production studios that travel to various movie sets. Production teams can quickly hire local staff to be equipped with virtual desktops and share resources with other top talent based anywhere in the world.
- Reprioritizing Resources in a Hybrid World
A geographically dispersed workforce, changing expectations, and perceived loss of visibility are all factors impacting managers. Empowering managers with the tools they need to reprioritize resources helps to eliminate bottlenecks and improve business efficiencies.
Using remote access software that consolidates and centralizes desktop connections allows managers to monitor resource usage in an impactful way. Leostream provides a single repository to view and manage all remote desktop sessions and associated resources and provides the framework to share, redistribute, and reorganize as necessary within minutes.
- Enhancing Digital Transformations
As organizations continue to pivot, an on-going initiative is reviewing, updating, and adopting digital products that streamline process and provide value to customers.
A crucial aspect in this shift is equipping personnel with digital access to company resources, no matter where that personnel is based. Long gone are the days where having a remote access solution was a “nice to have”. It is now a business necessity and paramount to continuing to operate no matter the circumstances.
Moving the workforce to a digitally enabled future means you’ll need high availability. After all, what good is having a remote access solution, if users struggle to connect to it? At Leostream, we understand the critical nature of building a performant and resilient desktop environment and offer a variety of ways to ensure business continuity with high availability, disaster recovery, and capacity planning.
- Improving Technical Equity
As the workforce confronts conventional ways of thinking, a top priority is ensuring an equitable and inclusive employee culture. Removing barriers to technology is one way to promote equity. Remote access solutions that are easy to deploy ensure that all workers can be armed with the right technology at their fingertips.
Leostream turns your remote desktop goals into a highly scalable solution that is able to be customized to meet the needs of all of your users. Whether you’re looking to deploy a few standard applications to task workers or high-performance workstations to power users, we have a variety of methods for you to achieve your goals and quickly roll out your initiatives to an expansive user-base.
Bringing a distributed workforce together with centralized desktop management
Cornerstone to bringing a remote or hybrid team together is centralizing resources, which is exactly with the Leostream Platform aims to do.
Without the proper technology, having a distributed workforce places more pressure on IT teams to oversee the desktop environment. Having employees working from different locations, requires tools to centralize management functions in a way that is powerful and agile. When applied to your remote access solution, a centralized approach to desktop management can unify who is logging in, from where, and via which device.
The benefits of centralized desktop management for remote access include:
Monitoring: When you have users accessing corporate resources from a variety of locations and devices, you’re going to want monitoring and tracking. You may not need to be monitoring users’ actual sessions, but having a way to audit activity and access points into the system in a comprehensive manner can aid with security. Being able to monitor and spot unusual login attempts can help prevent cyber threats. Plus, having the ability to pull logs and reports about how people are interacting with the system can be invaluable for audits and compliance purpose.
Resource optimization: By leveraging monitoring tools and incorporating automation into the design of your remote access deployment, you can make the best use of your technical resources. Customers who have implemented Leostream have the insights they need to track desktop usage and make meaningful business decisions with that information. For instance, you may be able to save on expensive applications by centrally hosting pools of desktops for workers to share. In certain situations, you may find it more affordable to move some workloads to the cloud where virtual machines can be spun up quickly and torn back down on demand.
Streamlined IT: Without a centralized point of management, controlling the desktop environment across a distributed workforce can easily become fragmented — this is especially the case with a high volume of users or in a hybrid environment with a mixture of on-prem and cloud technologies. You’ll want features that can automate processes and ease IT tasks. In terms of automating remote desktop connections, there are plenty of ways to eliminate manual intervention if you have the right functionality.
For example, within the Leostream Platform, you’ll find a variety of highly customizable pools, plans, and policies that define who can access what and when based on pre-set criteria. This level of granular control is useful for complex workflows. For large organizations, applying tiered levels of access control amongst IT staff enables teams to set appropriate permissions for all of the various administrators involved in overseeing the desktop environment.
Ability to scale: Hand-in-hand with streamlined IT operations comes the ability to scale. With the right pieces in place, bringing in new hires and arming them with remote access capabilities is just a few clicks away. By centralizing desktop management for remote access, you can roll out new initiatives more quickly and apply changes in bulk.
Technology imperatives for a successful remote access program in the modern era
Enabling remote and hybrid work through technology looks different for different organizations, but regardless of how you deploy there are certain imperatives that need to be addressed.
Nailing the user-experience
In the past, when remote access was considered a frill, workers may have had a higher tolerance for latency, clunky interfaces or cumbersome logins. These days, some users accept the minimum level of performance to accomplish their work, but most welcome more sophistication.
It is possible to deliver a remote desktop experience that is consistent whether someone is logging in from home, the office, or anywhere else. By inventorying how end-users are interacting with their workstations you can get a good sense of what needs to be accommodated. For instance, do users need dual monitors or other peripherals? How often will they be working from mobile devices?
One of the biggest decisions that you will make is choosing a remote display protocol, which is the data transfer technology that enables end users to interact with their remote desktop across the network. If you opt for a full-stack VDI solution, you will likely be locked into whatever display protocol is included. However, if you opt for a vendor neutral platform like Leostream then you can choose from a wide spectrum of remote display protocols in order to select the best protocol for the task at hand. We often have designers and engineers connecting to GPU-intensive workstations requiring high-performance display protocols. We suggest reserving commodity protocols like RDP for users that don’t need as much power.
Balancing security and ease of use
With cyber threats on the rise, one of the greatest challenges for organizations undergoing remote access planning is striking a balance between security and usability. There is a fine line between implementing enough safeguards to appropriately lock down corporate resources and creating an environment that is too inconvenient and frustrating to access. The reality is, this is a line that many enterprises must toe.
Security starts with authentication, and in the world of remote access, multifactor authentication (MFA) is the key to ensuring only authorized users have access to your hosted desktop environment.
Having options here is a must, and you want to avoid reinventing how you authenticate users. This is why the Leostream Platform integrates with standard corporate MFA providers, including PingID, Duo, Okta, or any other Identity Provider (IdP) that supports SAML or the RADIUS protocol.
Another way of controlling access is using our special locations feature, which allows you to toggle MFA requirements on and off based on where the user logs in from.
To satisfy the demand for easy logins, we also offer a proprietary gateway, which is a secure, internet-based access point that streamlines the connection of users to their desktops. This creates a seamless and performant model for users without the complexity of software downloads or needing to walk employees through using virtual private networks (VPNs).
Planning for unknowns
Given the changing circumstances around where and how people work, it has been understandably tough for organizations to determine timelines and where to make technology investments and upgrades. While we know the demands for remote access and more flexible working environments are here to stay, it’s hard to plan for how the exact scenarios will play out into the future.
Since it’s impossible to predict the specifics of how your remote access solution will need to advance, the best way to future proof your IT is to partner with established vendors that will keep your options open.
Choosing products that integrate well with others can augment the usability of your solution for many years to come.
Leostream has carefully designed its software to integrate with the wide spectrum of other technology often found in remote access deployments — from hosting platforms to hypervisors, and protocols to authentication servers. This level of flexibility allows organizations to add new technology into the mix as they see fit. Flexibility is truly what we believe is at the heart of futureproofing your remote access solution.
The Post-COVID era has already arrived and brought with it the demand for greater flexibility. A robust remote access solution keeps employees productive whether they are in the office, working from home, or on the road. By implementing Leostream, your organization can connect end users to their desktops and applications securely and from anywhere.
We’re here to help you achieve a successful remote access deployment that will satisfy your employees and IT department. For inquiries or to discuss a custom product demonstration please contact [email protected]
1 Gartner®, “How CIOs Can Help Build a Resilient Hybrid Organization”, CIO Research Team, December 16, 2021.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.