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By Terry Rebstein, Quadbridge Enterprise Solutions Architect – Citrix
Thinking about implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or desktop-as-a-service (DaaS)? To give you greater flexibility in how you manage IT now and in the future? You will want to consider Citrix DaaS.
As an Enterprise Solutions Architect, I’ve been working with Citrix solutions since 2004. Citrix is an established industry leader in virtualized application and desktop delivery, with a track record going back over 25 years, and I’ve specialized in VDI and end-user computing (EUC), virtualization, cloud computing, and supporting technology throughout my career.
As the world of work has changed, most especially over the last few years with the pandemic, I’ve seen how IT has become more complex, making it harder for organizations to understand their options. The customers we work with here at Quadbridge have unique workforces and different goals, and Citrix DaaS has helped them achieve them all. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
As our reliance on technology has grown, IT departments are called on to manage an increasingly complex environment. End-user hardware and software inventories, particularly in large organizations, must be constantly refreshed and updated, and become difficult to track and support due to the mix of devices and versions. Users now expect the same plug-and-play experience they’re accustomed to on their personal devices, but with few support staff, minimal visibility into the user’s experience, and constant one-off issues to troubleshoot, IT departments across industries are struggling to provide it. With many employees now working remotely, companies, the pressure is intensified.
A VDI solution simplifies management by centralizing and standardizing it, and eliminates the need to manage multiple end-point devices. Citrix DaaS is the ultimate choice for VDI, based in the cloud for on-demand scalability, and completely agnostic for multiple platforms, whether it be on-premises hypervisors or public cloud platforms such as Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud. This enables IT departments to control the user experience and security, through a single, standard control pane, and with greater granularity than competing solutions, making it very customizable to both the end-user’s and the company’s needs. It also provides maximum flexibility, whether you’re transitioning platforms, configuring for failover, or anticipating future changes of provider.
As I said above, we now rely on technology so much that we expect our access to data and documents, and the reaction of our software, to be instantaneous and easy. When organizations grow, that experience can be affected by geographical distance between data centres, high network latency, non-optimized client/server applications, or a non-optimized environment for remote workers.
Citrix protocols provide ideal user performance, even over long distances, and can cover virtually any use case. Citrix DaaS also provides a full stack of features not only for deploying applications and virtual desktops to users, but also for ensuring an optimal user experience. These include monitoring and help desk tools, as well as software to optimize performance and scalability.
With the mass move to remote working, cybersecurity has become an even hotter topic than in 2019. Work-from-home solutions based on virtual private networks (VPN) or remote desktop protocol (RDP) present security holes; employees accessing corporate networks through untrusted devices expose the organization to data breaches; and multi-factor authentication (MFA) with legacy solutions has proven problematic to implement. Whether remote or in-office, as our new hybrid environments are showing us, trying to close all the security gaps, from printers to clipboards to file-sharing, as well as keeping up with endpoint security updates, is a major challenge, and a major compliance headache.
As well as a zero trust network access (ZTNA) solution and multi-factor authentication, Citrix DaaS provides advanced security controls. These include implementing automatic policy controls to keep desktops secure and available. You can also create a single, security-controlled portal access to both SaaS applications and traditional VDI/vApps. This simplifies access for users, while maintaining compliance with your policies. Citrix DaaS also gives you flexibility in your choice of authentication providers, such as Azure AD (Active Directory) conditional access, so that it can follow your organization’s predefined security policies and requirements. Finally, it includes features such as session recording and watermarking, facilitating compliance auditing and security visibility.
Citrix DaaS is best suited to organizations whose IT departments support at least 100 users, for reasons of investment cost and maintenance requirements. There is a certain learning curve that can be challenging if your IT resources don’t have any experience with optimizing infrastructure and driving efficiencies. With the right support, Citrix Daas provides the business outcomes you are looking for.
Virtual desktops or desktops as a service, in general, are perfect for working environments that require mobility; access through any device, including thin clients; or where maintaining and supporting computer infrastructure is not easy. Medical staff going from one department to another in a hospital, factory workers on the shop floor, warehouses, or environments with dramatic scale-up and scale-down requirements are all prime examples. Increasingly common remote or hybrid working environments are also facilitated, as are highly distributed workforces, such as in retail. For example, Citrix DaaS has also proved the right solution for a provincial liquor board customer of Quadbridge. They used it to centralize, standardize and maintain their suite of point-of-sale applications, seamlessly delivering a consistent user experience to each retail location across diverse geographical regions.
Here at Quadbridge, we also helped a major financial institution leverage Citrix DaaS to quickly respond to the pandemic, moving their entire call centre to remote work, while still servicing their customers and, of course, maintaining the high level of security required in this industry. Since then, they have chosen to remain largely remote as, not only do their employees benefit from work flexibility, but the cost savings generated by relinquishing the lease on the call centre building and instituting a floating-desk hybrid work model have offset the investment cost significantly, reducing the total cost of ownership.
Another customer we’ve been working with extensively is a large multinational forestry company, that uses Citrix DaaS to provide a diverse mix of applications, including advanced geographical mapping, which requires 3D graphics. The IT department supports hundreds of users, including external contractors, and Citrix has allowed them to provide every one of them with the specific access they need, regardless of equipment, with optimal performance and security. After the recent acquisition of another organization, it has also enabled them to rapidly integrate the new workforce, providing cross-functional teams access as needed. Furthermore, it will make the migration from that company’s on-premises datacentre to Microsoft Azure invisible to employees.
Quadbridge can help you assess your actual requirements based on the resources and options available, so you can feel more comfortable as you decide if Citrix DaaS or VDI in general is a good fit. We can also help you understand where and how your budget is best invested. As well as solution design and deployment, we provide services that can supplement your in-house resources or bolster resource shortfalls. These include knowledge transfer to assist your teams, however far along their VDI journey they are; weekly or monthly health checks to monitor and maintain the performance of your system; right up to managing day-to-day DaaS operations.
Enterprise Solutions Architect - VDI and Virtualization
✓ Managed IT
✓ Managed M365
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After supporting Waterloo Biofilter with an office move, they quickly switched fromtheir current Managed Services Provider to Quadbridge. We now manage their entireIT environment and support their end-to-end IT needs.
• Quadbridge worked with the client to implement our Elite IT service thatprovides ongoing IT monitoring and management, responsive help desk,proactive service, and vCIO consulting
• We’ve become a fully trusted partner and have proactively led a number ofinitiatives to improve performance and advance their IT, including thefollowing services:
• Managed Cloud Backup: we optimized their backup strategy with anaccessible, cost-efficient cloud-based backup solution that our teamcontinuously monitors and assists with restore requests.
• Infrastructure Architecture: we upgraded their server infrastructure toimprove redundancy and performance – especially for employees workingremotely.
• Ad Hoc Requests: as the clients’ IT support, our team uses our range ofexpertise and onsite support capabilities to deliver on a range of simple andcomplex IT projects. These have included upgrading their conference roomsystems and completing a functional and aesthetic clean up of their cabling
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