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Buy, Lease, DaaS, or BYOD?

BYOD or DaaS?As we noted in our last blog post, Moving Cloud Gets Real, small and midsize businesses like yours are reaching the tipping point where cloud solutions outweigh those running on-site. When this happens, you need to decide if/when you move your remaining on-premise systems to the cloud. As you do, you face the question about what to do with your end user devices.

Not Just a Desktop Anymore

End user devices are no longer limited to the desktop/laptop purchased by the company. Most of your employees are regularly using personal smartphones, tablets, and other devices to conduct business — your business.

Four Options for Devices

When deciding on what devices your team will use, you have four options:

  • Buy: Purchase devices and provide them to employees, creating a company asset. Buy also includes finance leasing with the “$1 buyout” that gives you ownership of the device at the end of the lease.
  • Lease: Use a lease to pay for only the fair market value of the devices, returning and refreshing them with new models at the end of the lease.
  • BYOD: Allow users to buy and use the device they choose.  They own the device, but use it for work, exclusively or non-exclusively.
  • DaaS: Device-as-a-Service, or DaaS, is similar to a lease in that you pay monthly per device. DaaS differs from a lease in that you can, within guidelines, adjust the number of devices up or down, swap out devices for newer models, and replace damaged devices without penalties during the term of the contract. Many DaaS services include malware protection, support, and other services in the monthly fee.

Unless you are buying your staff all of the devices, they use, you already have some mix of “buy” and “bring your own device” (“BYOD”). For many businesses past the cloud tipping point, DaaS and BYOD become the best solutions. DaaS and BYOD let you equip your team with the tools that empower their productivity while maintaining cost controls.

You Own the Data (if not the device)

Whether you own your users’ devices or not, you own the data and are responsible for security and privacy.  You need to ensure you have policies and systems in place to secure, manage, and protect your company’s data. This means installing mobile device management and data security tools on devices used for business, even if they are owned by an employee. Failure to do so leaves your exposed to data loss and breaches, and the civil and criminal penalties that can result.

Fortunately, policies need to be complex or difficult to enact. Providing data protection to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and — yes — laptops) has benefits for your employees as well. They key is to ensure that your policies and the support technologies are aligned.

Next Steps

Now is the time to discuss your device strategy and how you are, or will, protect user devices and the company data on those devices. Contact us for a free Cloud Advisor session to discuss options, opportunities, and solutions.


 

A Post XP World? Think Before You Spend!

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Today is the day that Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP (unless you are a country or a multinational bank with ATM machines).

There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about what businesses should do next, much of it originating with Microsoft.

First, you Windows XP systems will keep working.  As time moves forward, hackers will continue to find exploits in Windows XP, which Microsoft will no longer fix.  If you system is on-line, unprotected, your risk for malware and data breaches will increase over time. Realistically, with 12 years of market exposure, the “easy flaws” have been found.  Most recent security breaches is Windows XP are pretty esoteric or relate to current versions of Internet Explorer and activity in the browser.  So, no need to panic.

No need to panic.  Take time to choose how you move forward.

Option 1:  Upgrade Windows

Microsoft wants you to upgrade, to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (stay away from Windows 8, please!).  To do so, you will likely need to replace some, if not most, of your PCs and laptops.  You will also need to upgrade your endpoint protection and most of your applications.

Option 2:  Go Virtual

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) services, sometimes referred to as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), provides a full Microsoft operating environment accessible via a small piece of software on your local machine, or via any HTML5 capable browser.  Once in your virtual desktop, you have the current OS and Office suite, along with other applications your business needs and uses.  Maintenance and upgrades are managed for you, and you can securely access your desktops from nearly any internet-connected device.  Once you decide to go virtual, you have options that let you manage the cost of change over time.

2a) Keep your XP for now.  You can keep your existing XP machines (for now), reconfiguring them as “thin clients”.  With the systems locked down to only run the VDI client or a browser, and a solid malware prevention / endpoint protection service in place, you can stretch the life of your current XP systems.  Since users do their work in the remote, Virtual Desktop, the XP platform is shielded from user interaction and malware.

2b) Go Linux.  Linux is now a business-grade operating system and serves well as the operating system for “thin clients”.  Since Linux requires much fewer system resources to run effectively, Linux gives new life to older PCs and Laptops.  As with an XP thin client, you are only using the OS and browser to access the Virtual Desktop.

2c) Go Chrome. Chromebooks cost 1/2 to 2/3 less than a typical laptop, and cost 1/6 as much to administer and manage over time.  With HTML5 receivers installed, Chromebooks can access nearly any VDI environment, including those using Citrix, VMware, and Ericom systems.  Additionally, you get direct access, with built-in malware protection to any web-based application, including Google Apps for Business, Government, and Education.  With a single Google Apps account, you have the option for full mobile device management, to further secure and control your environment.

While upgrading with Microsoft often seems like the best solution, it is fraught with upfront and ongoing costs and challenges.  Going virtual, while seemingly a more complex choice, lets you keep your current environment and replace your aging hardware over time, as you can afford to do so, with less expensive alternatives.

If you are interested in exploring your options further, please contact us for more information.