TruStack Focus On… End User Devices

End points and end user devices are any devices a staff member may use to carry out work, e.g. laptops, thin clients, tablets etc. This blog will address the importance of choosing the right end user devices, including adapting to the rise in agile working requirements.

Why are endpoints so important?

Many organisations invest heavily in the right staff, high performance infrastructure, networking, connectivity and applications to enable their business to deliver for its customers.  They then support this with the correct endpoints, assessing staff needs on a regular basis to ensure their equipment supports them to deliver in their role.

What are the endpoint challenges?

At TruStack we often see customers working on legacy or pre-used machines. However, these machines may not fit the end user’s role, their environment or the application stack the end user needs to access. This may be a commercial decision or have other justifications, but ultimately the wrong endpoint can affect employee productivity, engagement and business output.

We are sometimes asked to provide businesses with the same devices for all end users, who may all work in different ways and environments, with different applications. It’s like giving F1 champion Lewis Hamilton a Ford Focus, because it is the same car his Mechanic uses, and still expect him to win the next Grand Prix.

What about the agile working challenge?

Desktops have traditionally been the device of choice for businesses. However, as the UK lockdown hit, businesses needed endpoints that could enable agile working, often laptops or microform desktops with WIFI capabilities, with access to bespoke applications and files on the corporate network.

Stock disappeared overnight with long lead times on agile style devices. Some end users had no choice but to take large desktops home, with corporate monitors and long patch leads to reach from the home router to the desktop, which is ultimately not practical to do.

Agile working has since become the norm for many businesses, and now additional considerations need to be applied to any refresh.

What does agile working look like for your business and employees?

Agile working for every business and every individual user within that business will be different. Therefore, the types of user devices and peripherals each user requires will be different. There are several factors to consider, including:  

  • What does their agile environment look like? Trains, planes, cars, meetings rooms, environment etc should all be thought about.
  • What is available in that environment? Power, space, ergonomic set up, lighting, internet connectivity, business application access, security etc.
  • Does the environment change the technology needed for day-to-day working productivity and would any peripherals support in each location? For example, extra monitors, docking stations, WIFI and 4G/5G connectivity, anti-glare, privacy glass, webcams, 2-in-1 flexibility, noise cancelling headsets and many other options.
  • How much local compute power and resources do they need, processing cores and speed, RAM allocations, graphics capabilities and additional interface ports?

Does the Desktop still have its place?

It isn’t always about providing ‘a laptop’, it is about providing the equipment most suitable to that individual. As such, desktops can continue to be the right choice for many organisations; it could be a shared workstation, or a desktop which offers easy upgrades, hard drive flexibility, multiple connection availability, graphics capability or lower price points.

We fully understand it isn’t easy to undertake an endpoint refresh on any scale. At TruStack we offer free consultations to find out exactly what it is you require and often provide demonstrations and trial kit to customers.

You can get in touch with us to arrange this via your account manager, by clicking here or call us on 0191 250 3000

TruStack Focus On… Remote Desktop Infrastructure

By Technical Pre-Sales Consultant, Ian Sanderson.

Is 2020 finally the year of VDI?
If you have been in the IT game for a while you may have heard the long-running joke that this year is finally the year of VDI. 2020 Could be when this becomes true.

What is VDI?
VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a mechanism that allows a business to deliver corporate desktop images to any device, be that a thin client, a computer, tablet, or smartphone. All desktops are managed from a central location and can be delivered from public, private, or hybrid cloud. I heard a great analogy, imagine that the cables on your keyboard and mouse are just really long and they connect to a desktop somewhere else. Not the one in front of you.

What is it used for?
There are several use cases for VDI. The dominant one at the moment is to grant end-users access to their corporate desktops whilst working from anywhere during the global pandemic. It eliminates the use of a VPN and brings users closer to the data they need to access, making for a great end-user experience.
Did you know you can publish physical desktops and connect to them using the same infrastructure used to access a virtual desktop? Many organisations are adopting this approach to allow people to connect to their corporate devices in the office when they are working from home.

Why would you use it?
It is important now more than ever to secure access to data. A VDI solution can make this task easier as you are moving the entry point for an attack from the end-user device to the VDI estate. With appropriate policies and security in place, no data should be able to traverse the endpoint to the VDI session. From a management standpoint, IT only needs to worry about updating a handful of desktop computers rather than all desktop computers.

Who is it for?
Anyone can make use of VDI. Organisations with many desktops that are the same such as call centres, housing associations, or hospitals to name a few and businesses looking to offer additional flexibility for their users.
A VDI desktop can be accessed easily from anywhere in the world with an appropriate internet connection. If data gravity is a concern, a VDI solution can bring those users closer to the data they need to access.

If you would like anymore information on VDI or Remote Desktop Infrastructure, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

Thales 2020 Data Threat Report

Did you know that 46% of data generated by European organisations is stored within the cloud?

Click on the link below to download the Thales 2020 Data Threat report. This edition produced by the IDC runs through how organisations are securing their multi-cloud environment in 2020.

Get the report now to learn:

  • How digital transformation complicates security
  • Adoption rates of encryption for cloud data
  • Security recommendations and best practices

Why You Need Multi-Factor Authentication and Thales

Hopefully you will have been on our multi-factor authentication webinar with Thales last week, just in case you missed it, Pre-Sales Technical Consultant Ian Sanderson gives his view on why you need MFA, and in particular, why Thales.

When choosing our multifactor authentication product, it is important to understand our thought process when evaluating the marketplace for a product and more importantly why we were looking.

In the last few years, we have seen a massive swing when it comes to business priorities in IT. You will often find that IT directors and managers mark security as their number one focus on IT spending, and with good reason. Each day we create more and more data which is the lifeblood of many organisations. I would go as far as to say that many businesses would struggle to recover if they lost all their data.

Multi-factor authentication is an important part of a multi-layered approach to securing business assets. A common attack vector is credential theft. Think about what a malicious actor could do if they had access to a corporate Office 365 account or similar. Multi-factor authentication means that even if a user does fall victim to credential theft, it would be near impossible for the malicious actor to use those credentials as each login request would require a unique one-time passcode to login with.

With that in mind, we set out to find a solution that met a set of criteria. Something easy to use, has a rich set of features, is SaaS-based, and offers value for money.

We looked at offerings from Microsoft, DUO, and others which all have their good points, but none of them offered everything we wanted, apart from Thales.

Microsoft is great if you are only interested in securing your Microsoft Ecosystem. DUO was easy to use but required installing various applications on-premises to provide the full functionality of the product.

Thales Safenet Trusted Access allows you to secure many popular cloud workloads such as Office 365 as well as on-premises workloads such as VMware Horizon View and popular VPN solutions. All of this is managed and maintained from Thales SaaS SafeNet Trusted Access platform. No need to install radius or authentication proxy servers.

If you have not heard of Thales before, part of their organisation is the business they acquired when they bought Gemalto in 2019. What you will see here today is part of that Gemalto suite. The name Gemalto may sound familiar, they make products like Passports with the RFID chips, card readers for online banking systems, and importantly, they make One Time Passcode tokens. Those little devices that pop up with 6 digits on that allow you to log in somewhere.

Because Thales make those devices, they can bundle them in with the MFA service, typically at no additional cost. Other vendors we looked at; this was a line item cost. It is important to understand why we think this is a differentiator. Many organisations that would like to roll out MFA may not want users’ personal devices enrolled as an MFA token, or indeed the user may say they do not want any corporate software on their personal device. Having the option to hand out a physical token for those use cases, without incurring an additional charge represents excellent value in our minds.

If you would like more information on MFA, you can watch our on-demand webinar, or drop us an email at [email protected] for your free 30 day trial.

Networking Series – Explainer Videos!

Watch our 2nd and 3rd videos created in the ‘Networking Series’ by Senior Consultant, Ross Phillps.

Ross will take you through the basics of Network Access Control and the Cisco Umbrella product. Both videos will take you through the subject in 3 minutes!

SD WAN in 4 Minutes…

Struggling to get your head around SD WAN? Don’t quite understand what benefits it can give to you and your business?

Why not watch our explainer video with Senior Network Consultant, Ross Phillips who will break it down into what you need to know.

Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2020

The year 2020 has seen a transition to a new decade. So has cybersecurity. Gone are the days of networks isolated behind a company firewall and a limited stack of enterprise applications.

The Trend Micro security predictions for 2020 reflect experts opinions and insights on current and emerging threats and technologies. The report paints a picture of a possible future landscape driven by technological advances and evolved threats to enable enterprises to make informed decisions on their cybersecurity posture in 2020 and beyond. The future looks complex, exposed, and misconfigured — but it is also defensible.

Download the PDF below to get an insight into cybersecurity 2020.

Trend Micro Security Predictions 2020

What Is The New Veeam Universal Licencing Model?

Our very own Veeam Vanguard, Ian Sanderson is going to take you through the new Veeam Universal Licencing model, which is now replacing Veeam Instance Licencing.

Ian, for those that don’t know, what was Veeam Instance Licencing?

So Veeam Instance Licencing was brought out in April of this year. At the time the premise was great, however it was confusing for everyone. It was difficult to work out how many licences you needed, what edition was required, and there was a question mark around perpetual socket-based licencing, would it go away? However, it was a great model to help protect workloads in a Hybrid IT world and where data mobility is often very common.

So, what exactly is the new Veeam Universal Licence and how does it look?

Basically, Veeam stated that they wanted to make licensing easier for all customers and enable them to expand to hybrid and multi-cloud environments with no additional costs and no additional licenses to buy with one type of license for multiple products. So, as you will see from the diagram above, the licence edition has gone and all Veeam Universal Licences, apart from Starter Edition now have the same features as Enterprise Plus. The consumption is one licence for each workload with the same type of license.

One of the main benefits of moving customers to the Enterprise Plus edition is customers will be able to take advantage of things like scale out back-up repositories, as well as storage integration in Veeam Backup and Replication.

In summary this is a great move by Veeam. It’s a simplified licencing model for the hybrid IT world we now live in.