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Part 1 of the Desktop Disruptions Blog Series

For IT teams, it seems there is always an imminent project or time sensitive initiative creeping up that is threatening to derail both business-as-usual functions and hopes for focusing on strategic contributions to the business.

This blog is the first of the four-part Desktop Disruptions blog series that will highlight some of the major desktop disruptions that many IT departments are facing in the coming months.

 Disruption 1 – Windows 10

While some new technologies present an “option” for innovation in the enterprise, others are pretty much a necessitywindows 10 … enter Windows 10. Enterprises have had some time to let the availability of Windows 10 sink in, but as 2016 planning sessions begin, companies will need to make some decisions around their initial timelines for deploying the operating system.

As organizations get more serious about a plan for Windows 10, we’re seeing some consistent concerns from customers as they look to embark on the new OS upgrade. In many cases, they are turning to RES to help with:

  • Making the move to Windows 10 less complex, cost-effective and undisruptive to the workforce
  • Balancing agility and security for their business needs
  • Creating an approach for planning and executing critical upgrades
  • Simplifying the maintenance of license compliance across all OSes and devices

Do these struggles sound familiar?

The Migration

There is no way around it. Major migrations are typically no fun as projects can quickly increase in scope. IT not only faces the challenges of staying on time and budget, but there are also the concerns of going live and the potential influx of service desk tickets. To add more pressure, IT’s reputation within the organization is typically at risk with any major migration – as any disruption is hated by the workforce.

One way RES can help is by eliminating the manual, time-consuming task of moving user settings and personalization from one OS to another. Many IT teams have given up on this at the expense of user experience and forced workers to start from scratch in the new OS. RES, however can offer an alternative that pleases both users and IT.

By separating settings, personalization, configuration – basically everything that makes a desktop a personal experience – from the OS, technology changes are more seamless and less disruptive to workers. They can use devices across different OS versions and delivery models, without sacrificing productivity. This also eliminates many of the worries about service desk tickets because most people won’t require the support that they would if they were given a whole new, un-personalized desktop experience.

App Security

securityWindows 10 stands to increase agility for workers, and in turn create more exposure and risks for IT. As app types continue to diversify, IT needs to get a grasp on potential risks and mitigation, or be in danger of losing control all together. Microsoft’s improved built-in security helps, but most enterprises need more, without hindering user productivity.

Examples of additional security needs include:

  • Whitelisting/Blacklisting – With the ability to get as granular as application hash level, organizations can prevent users from (intentionally or unintentionally) exposing their environment to malicious files and executables better than ever before
  • Greater Control Over Admin Rights – Instead of giving blanket access to workers, organizations can control admin rights more closely. Even allowing for temporary rights so that workers can get what they need done within apps, without compromising access to other administrative functions. It’s surprising how many organizations still struggle managing this process, resulting in excessive admin rights granted.
  • Dynamic Context And Policy Rules –Since Windows 10 offers the opportunity for more device types, IT may consider looking closer at policy and access levels. While it may be appropriate for someone to have access to apps or data at a certain time and place on a particular device, there could be risks associated with that same access on a different device, on an unknown network or based on other variables. As support for enterprise mobility rises, so do the risks. IT has a chance to get ahead of this by leveraging context aware security.

Desktop apps and web-based apps a bit of a blurred line today, especially as organizations rely more on web-based cloud services for mission critical services. For IT that often means ensuring consistent controls between website apps and physical or virtualized apps that live on desktops. Of course, as workers use a more diverse mix of browsers, this is quickly getting more complicated for IT and a central way to control both traditional apps and web services across all browsers will be key. (More on that topic in a later post).

The New Upgrade Model

We should all take a moment to celebrate that Microsoft has promised this is the last major OS migration that will be required for enterprises. Cheers! OK. Enough celebration. While “migration” is out of the picture, there is a new upgrade model in town, and it’s more frequent with some security patches dependent on previous upgrades. So while the perceived planning and execution might seem less complex, the importance of getting a smooth process around these updates is still critical.

Testing and crystal clear visibility into the impact that changes will have on individual users has never been more important. In unexpected events, the ability to smoothly rollback is invaluable. RES can not only help in these areas, but simplify it further over time. As IT gets a few updates under its belt, you can enhance with more user-friendly options, like making tested updates available to the workforce via self-service, so they can update at their convenience (within a required timeframe of course).

Licensing Headaches

More OSes and devices have a direct correlation on the complexity of license management. As vendor audits continue to rise, IT teams are becoming keenly aware of the need to put proactive license controls in place. Detailed visibility into who is using what license, on which device, and how it’s delivered can save IT headaches around compliance audits and from unnecessary costs for overpaying for unused licenses. Incorporating workspace management into software asset management (SAM) initiatives is on the rise, and Windows 10 certainly makes a strong case for taking action before things get even more difficult to manage.

With all these challenges and more, it’s easy to see how the thought of Windows 10 makes IT pros heads spin. To break things down, here is a quick snapshot of some of the most important things to keep in mind around Windows 10:

What is your biggest contemplation on moving to Windows 10? Share your thoughts below.