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Remote Working: Embracing Benefits and Overcoming Challenges

Remote working is here to stay. KPMG’s 2013 Global Assignment Policies and Practices (GAPP) survey reveals that organizations around the world “continue to invest in global mobility programs despite increasing regulatory and compliance challenges.” Whether or not your business opts for “use your own device” or “use our device,” it’s clear that any organization large or small must have the technology necessary to support a remote workforce.

The benefits mobility brings to organizations are many: the ability to tap a broader talent pool no longer contingent on geography, productivity gains as employees can work anytime and anywhere, and the cost savings associated with “hot-desking” and “hoteling.”

For employees, flexibility is paramount. Whether it’s to avoid a nightmarish commute, the need for unconventional hours, or the requirement to be on the road, the ability to work like you’re in the office can tip the productivity scale.

On the flipside, the challenge is to provide employees with technology that helps them be as productive as they would be on their office desktop. They need to feel part of the organization even when they are offsite. And it’s vital that all sensitive corporate information be protected, at all times, and that any work is done in complete compliance with corporate IT security policies.

Gartner’s most recent research, “Bring Your Own Device: The Facts and the Future,” predicts that by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own devices. While employee-owned cell phones and tablets are fast becoming the norm, the jury is out as to whether or not PCs and laptops will become a part of the mix. Connecting the family PC to the organization’s network could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Win-Win: the secure portable workspace

Windows To Go, a feature of Windows 8 Enterprise, enables “PCs on a stick,” offering a new approach to mainstream enterprise and government organizations. Employers provide a secure, IT-managed USB drive that contains a fully functional corporate Windows desktop, bootable from pretty much any PC. Employees insert the Microsoft certified USB drives into their home computers, hot desks, or tablets that feature USB ports, and they receive a secure desktop and secure access to all applications they use in an office setting.

Unlike a virtualized or online remote access solution, the portable workspace offers full host computer isolation—documents cannot be saved to the host machine but are saved to the USB drive. At the same time, all of the hardware resources of the host computer are available to the user. Employees have access to the host machine’s network connection, sound, microphone, and camera. They experience graphics performance of the native machines. Employees will be able to use applications at full resolution, including the ability to view two documents at once instead of just one. Finally, the employee never has to worry about the speed or reliability of a network connection.

Among the handful of Windows To Go certified devices, the IronKey Workspace W500 is the device that meets all of an employee’s needs and IT’s security challenges. The IronKey Workspace W500 is designed to be rugged, dust and water resistant. It’s gone through Microsoft’s certification and Imation’s own rigorous read/write testing for use as a Windows To Go workspace. Users get sequential read performance of up to 400 MB/second and sequential write speeds of up to 316 MB/second. The W500’s 256-bit AES hardware encryption combines with strong, built-in password protection capabilities. IronKey devices can be managed by the IronKey Enterprise Server, so that the IT team can track and control the devices to effectively protect data, manage device inventory, lifecycle and maintenance. The management system offers full remote policy management, device tracking and, should the need ever arise, the ability to revoke users’ credentials. Just because the device is out of the office does not mean it is out of IT control.

With Windows To Go, organizations can implement a bring your own device strategy that provides an ideal work environment for the employee while providing the optimal level security for IT, no workarounds necessary.

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