Nowadays, modern workspace concepts serve as an effective tool to face the challenges of the future and to be viable as a successful business. The workspace is currently subject to a significant transformation and moves more and more away from being restricted to a physical location. The workspace of the future has to meet the requirements with regards to flexibility, mobility, and constant availability. Against this background, Workspace as a Service (WaaS) solutions acts as an important component of a modern and stationary independent work environment. WaaS solutions refer to location-independent access to data and business applications, stored in a virtual office on a virtual desktop environment. Here users can use the device of their choice and are no longer dependent on clearly defined hardware components. Workspace as a- ervice makes an entire and virtual desktop environment available, which allows people to work as in a conventional office. Irrespective of where they are based, staff, have access to all virtual desktop applications and data such as information via a cloud service.
What is a Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS)?
With Workspace-as-a-Service (Waas), it is all about device-independent access to resources stored on the internet. At the same time, the system has to be so secure and shielded, so that only people with the relevant authorization can gain access. With access, it is not only about who can process stored resources, but also who is authorized to retrieve them. Cloud-based data management will be increasingly in demand in the future. Instead of individual files or programs, nowadays entire work environments have already been moved to the cloud. Thanks to easy to implement apps, the virtual desktop can already be used by companies in various sectors. The big advantage of internet-based applications is that initially, nothing changes for the companies‘ employees. As long as an internet connection exists, applications are available at any time and everywhere.
Flexibility & Efficiency Gain of a Workspace as a Service (WaaS)
The advantages of cloud-based apps have just been touched on. Irrespective if employees are in the office, at home on a tablet, or traveling using their smartphone, as soon as they are logged on, they have access to the virtual desktop at any time or from anywhere. Up to date files and apps are available on every device after the Single Sign-On. With regards to the choice of end devices, Workspace as a Service offers the greatest flexibility for both employers as well as employees.
Another advantage is the reduction of pressure on the in-house IT department. Time and cost-intensive business processes such as license management or software deployment can be made available in a simplified way through cloud computing technology, and create a significantly reduced workload for companies‘ IT administration. The switch to cloud-based data management also ensures that companies can take more advantage of their data. With the Workspace as a Service (WaaS) approach new workspaces for more staff can be set-up quickly with the help of such a service, for example, oneclick Central data and software provision are seamlessly available and up-to-date on every business workspace. This should also noticeably release finances and capacities of companies, which may be of particular interest to start-up companies. The motivated and technically competent staff of a younger generation demand a different, mobile lifestyle. Free space, individual responsibility, and a unique understanding of work-life-balance demand new ways for companies to gain the best employees in these times of skills shortages. Cloud-based applications and data management and centrally administered business software, which can always and at any time be accessed via the internet, enable even more flexible workspace concept. It also allows the optimization of processes and an increase in productivity.
Workspace as a Service (WaaS) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
BYOD is a term for integrating private mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones into the networks of companies or organizations. It drives work from anywhere, as the personal device is widely used in society. It also includes organizational guidelines that are intended to regulate the way in which employees may use their own electronic office tools for official purposes to operate from everywhere, in particular for accessing network services and processing and storing organizational or company-internal data.
Since 2020 at the latest, unimagined challenges exist for those responsible for IT. The pandemic also affects future IT budgets and plans. Employers hope for high-cost savings through the introduction of BYOD and the associated elimination of acquisition costs for new end-user working with computers & mobile devices. They would like to project the image of a modern employer and hope for faster acclimatization of employees as well as more care in handling private end devices.
When applying BYOD, it is important to weigh up the advantages and challenges well as the costs and benefits. Besides minor hurdles such as the fact that software like Microsoft Office 365 on private laptops is not licensed for commercial use in companies, ensuring data security means a certain amount of effort. It is worthwhile to set up internal company policies for this purpose. Basic procedures include regularly updating the operating system, using a virus scanner and uniform software to protect against malware.
The advantages are:
- Efficient working on one’s own end device – Bring Your Own Device
- High user-friendliness und user experience
- Cost savings
- High employee satisfaction and impact
- Flexibility and mobility
- Easy transport with tablets, netbooks, and smartphones
- Access anywhere
- Individual learning (own learning pace, learning location)
- Complete computer technology, possibly Bluetooth keyboard
- No network problem
- No acquisition and support costs from a company perspective except for the virtual desktop
- No acquisition costs.
But BYOD does not mean that employees bring smartphones, storage media, or tablets uncontrolled and act carelessly with them. In order to really integrate it step by step into the company, the challenges are appropriate guidelines that are indispensable as a supplement to the IT security strategy. Only when all security concerns have been largely eliminated can the benefits of BYOD for companies and employees take effect. The following security issues need to be considered:
- Cloud security
- Applications and Data and platform security
- Data security/data integrity}
- IT Security Management
- Identity and Access.
Critics fear that BYOD use may lead to increased or constant end users accessibility. Companies should consider all relevant aspects such as the legal framework, security risks and how to deal with them, technical business requirements (software, IT infrastructure, support), implementation and operating costs, accessibility and collaboration as well as social aspects, company policy, and the implementation of BYOD. This takes into account the increasing trend towards the use of private, mobile end devices in the professional environment.
Business driving factors behind Workplace as a Service (WaaS) is office desktop virtualization through virtual desktops. However, from a data protection point of view, no data from the company network may be stored on a private device.
Bitglass asked 303 people at IT departments how they enable the use of private tools, what their business security issues are and what they have done to secure their data in a work environment that is increasingly characterized by remote work and flexibility.
With the increase in business remote work and home office, most companies are positive about BYOD in the workplace. 69% note that these end-users under the employees are allowed to use their office personal desktop devices thanks to desktop virtualization to do their work, while some employers also allow contractors, partners, customers, and suppliers. When asked about their biggest security concerns, 63% cited fear of data loss, and 53% fear of cyber-attacks. 52% worry about malware infections.
The proliferation of cloud computing services lead to secure office desktop applications streaming
Due to the high availability of cloud service providers, so-called application streaming is also used for Bring Your Own Device. Not only the data but also the applications necessary for processing are stored in the company’s secured cloud computing. They are transferred to the private device as soon as the command to open them is given. High security and encryption are necessary when using cloud IT services. Private end devices need not be connected to the company network management as through streaming only pictures are transferred. Only the access to the end-devices can be encrypted by at least two-factor authentication. This means that the smartphone must be secured with a PIN and a screen lock.
Workspace as a Service – Security Concepts for more Trust in Data Security
Currently, there are still disadvantages relating to data security not only in business. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force in May 2018, has created new rules across Europe with regards to the handling and processing of personal data. Not all providers of Workspace as a Service work according to the high standards, which can be offered by in-house servers and a well established in-house IT department. When choosing a provider, it is therefore important to look out for a multi-level and comprehensive security concept, according to international security regulation.
Current Figures: Things are slowly progressing
Transparency market research: On behalf of Triumph-Adler (TA), IDC carried out the survey “Future Business World 2025 – How digitalization changes our work environment “: More than 700 medium-sized businesses from the D-A-CH-region (Germany-Austria-Switzerland) were interviewed with regards to digitalization trends. 78% of those surveyed indicated, that they consider the handling of information crucial with regards to their future competitiveness. Already 22% of companies offer a virtual workspace, which comes from the public cloud.
44% of the companies operate workspaces from the private cloud. But 27% of the surveyed businesses have not yet dealt with this topic or its practical implementation. Therefore, Workspace as a Service is still far from being a widespread phenomenon. But 27% of the surveyed businesses have not yet dealt with this topic or its practical implementation. Therefore, Workspace-as-a-Service is still far from being a widespread phenomenon.
Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS): Forecast for the Future
In the future, 54% of the business workforce from the surveyed companies see themselves in a virtual workspace with WaaS Solutions. This technology trend can be easily justified: The implementation does not seem to be too difficult for companies as the switch to a Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) is cost-efficient and can lead to enormous cost savings with the company’s IT. 35% of the interviewees indicated that they already work at home with technically higher quality tools than those available from their non-cloud based employers. The companies‘ switch to modern work devices is, therefore, a prerequisite for the path into the future.
The signs of the times are pointing towards change. Without basic knowledge in cloud computing, it will become difficult for companies to meet the business demands of the future and provide a modern, as well as attractive, workspace for their employees. However, until cloud-based data and software can really be used widespread, companies‘ trust in data security has to improve. As things currently stand, compliance with relevant legal regulations across countries‘ borders may be one of the big challenges of cloud computing.
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