No longer desk-bound: Desktop strategies in the Middle East
Desktop strategies in the Middle East are evolving so that employees can have access to the enterprise applications they need, anywhere and at any time
With the advent of mobile working, there’s a lot out there that says traditional enterprise strategies of buying desktops for users are being outmoded. What’s more, with most enterprises using Windows for its desktop computers, there’s an added pressure of ensuring that patches are kept up to date. Adding to the confusion is the rise of the desktop virtualisation vendors, which promise increased security, less hassle, as well as mobile working.
The issue at hand appears to be what kind of desktop strategy a company should be pursuing, or, indeed, if it really needs a desktop strategy at all. Perhaps the strategy could be, in the most extreme cases, to not have employees running on desktops. However, even taking that road is fraught with problems, according to Kenan Abou Lteif, sales director at Citrix Middle East and Africa.
“Almost all companies are in the stages of planning or deploying some type of mobile strategy. Those that are planning a mobile strategy are very often overwhelmed by the number of decisions that need to be made both from a technology acquisition perspective but also from a management and support perspective,” he says.
That said, according to Mathivanan Venkatachalam, director of product management at ManageEngine, for most enterprises, the desktop strategy means exactly what it says on the tin – despite mobility permeating the workplace, desktop PCs are still where the majority of work gets done.
“Mobile computing in the enterprise is certainly increasing, and standard desktops are starting to feel the heat. The role of desktops in enterprises has changed with the acceptance of mobile devices, along with the usage of virtualisation software, thin clients, and others. However, the desktop is still where the majority of work is accomplished, despite its limitations,” he explains.
Of course, the traditional desktop strategy comes with its own issues, many of which CIOs will be all too familiar with. Security is one thing — most organisations run with Windows on their desktops, and that comes with all manner of security risks. Patches are made available for new vulnerabilities through Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday, but rolling those out across a fleet of PCs takes time and effort. This means that the most practical solution to ensure security on desktops is to have enterprise-wide SIEM tools and anti-virus in place — again, an added headache.
The problem is compounded if, as many enterprises are considering with the launch of Windows 10, the decision is taken to upgrade to a newer operating system.
“Many businesses may now consider updating their operating system to this. However, this transition presents several possible challenges if businesses take the traditional upgrade route: it can take many months to load new software onto thousands of individual endpoints as organisations spend time and resources to test, integrate and install the new OS,” explains Abou Lteif.
“Many user PCs may need to be upgraded or replaced to support new requirements for memory and processing power. Finally, many organisations, such as those in the financial services industry, have a host of legacy applications that may prove to be incompatible with a new operating system — yet vital to particular job roles.”