B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 2 years ago

Choosing the Right Remote Access Option


There’s no denying that work is going to be different from now on. Companies will have to get used to remote workforces being the new normal. The question is how to securely provide employees the resources they need while they’re not in the office. 

Ryan Friess, technology consultant (Citrix) at Ingram Micro, joins us with some answers. 

Ryan explains:  

  • The good, better and best options for remote access security 
  • How to regain security if your device is stolen 
  • How Citrix virtual desktop solutions have helped employers enable their remote workforces  

Find Citrix Workspace resources here, the Citrix Remote Works series here, and Ingram Micro’s Rapid Response Toolkit here

Connect with Ryan via LinkedIn or get in touch with his sales and marketing counterpart, Cynthia Karnes at cynthia.karnes@ingrammicro.com 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Sponsored by Ingram Micro Financial Solutions 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to be tob tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram micros imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, Dot Ingram microcom to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to be tob tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Carrie Roberts, and my guest today is Ryan freeze, a technology consultant at Ingram micro. Welcome Ryan, thanks for being here today. Yeah, thank you, Verry. Excited to be here. So thirty seven percent of US employees work from home an average of twenty four days a year. And we're talking people are using things like desktops, laptops, tablets, phones and so forth. And then, of course, they can be working from home from various coworking spaces, coffee shops, airplanes and so on. Based on so many scenarios, what are some security and remote access considerations for all of this? Maybe you can give us like a good, better best option. Yes, that's a great question and I think you're absolutely right that employees are looking to use all kinds of devices to get their work done. So that could be, let's say, if you have an organization that gives you a company laptop, maybe you want to utilize your own personal device. I know a lot of workers today like to use their own iphone, android phones or even a tablet, or, if your company supports some sort of biod initiative, maybe even your own laptop. But more so than that, employees are also looking to work how both they want and oftentimes need to work, and that's especially true, and we talked about the case of remote workers. To give a quick example, let's say you have an employer that didn't give you an easy way for you to share an...

...important spreadsheet you're working on with one of your team members, or maybe some sort of r FP, a request for proposal for one of your customers. What would you do? Would you just hey not share that piece of content with either your coworker or your customer, or would you do something like what I would probably do, which is simply go to Google and do a quick search on maybe how to share file products and find something like, let's say, like a dropbox for everyone, or maybe use your own personal google drive and something like that can actually be a really scary thought to a lot of employers, because a lot of this content can contain information that it's proprietary to the organization and now this information leaves our lives in some sort of some sort of unmanaged location. So it's kind of a really long winted answer, but the reason I bring this up is it's really critical for employers to understand that they need to give employees the tools they need to get their work done. Otherwise, as an employee like myself, they'll find some sort of alternative, probably a lot less secure way to complete their task. And now, with nearly everyone working from home, just due to the circumstances were all facing, this becomes even more critical. So, to answer your initial question, we've done a lot of thinking at enger micro around this idea of a good, better and best scenario for supporting remote access and I've kind of come to the following conclusion. The good is all about having some sort of corporate managed or well secured device and having a VPN client on that, so a VPN, virtual private network. This is a traditional way, a gate of gaining access to internal resources. So maybe you need access to a file repository that lives...

...in the corporate network, or a lot of our organizations have Internet websites, websites that's only available when you are connected to the network. So they'll use a VPN client to gain access to those resources. The downside of that is a VPN client can kind of be clunky here and there, so you sometimes have to re authenticate a few times, it may disconnect. Your organization just might not be equipped to deal with that amount of users that are now connecting remotely, since everyone's working from home now. So so the better approach of that is to use some sort of personal or corporate device and connect to a virtual desktop session or virtual application session via either citrics or one of the other solutions out there. So this is all about hey, you you either have a client that lives on your own device or you're going to a web browser. You brows to a company rl that they give you access to in your clicking a little icon that connects to a virtual APP or virtual desktop that lives in the company's Data Center or public cloud environment. So this is a very secure solution and an experience at most users are used to working. And then the best is still connecting to that virtual APP and desktop session, but now from a thin client device. So simply put a thin client takes it to the next level. This is a device that's manage by the organization you're working for the company and it gives a lot of security controls as well as Spanish big controls for that organization. So if we look at solutions, let's say like an Eyegel, they can actually ship out their thing client, which simply lives on the little usb drive. We can tell the user, Hey, here's instructions, plug this into your computer, reboot your computer and it's automatically...

...going to boot from that thumb drive and convert their computer at home to a thing client just for their work day. No, I think that's a great breakdown of options. Do you think that a business or organization of any side should be thinking about this, or is it only of a certain size or certain type of business? What is your suggestion on that? Yeah, I would say it kind of fits almost every organization side, but every organization is in their own remote workforce journey, so they all are at different stages. So there might be some organizations that already have some sort of remote workforce footprint, today and because they have that, it might be easy for them to adopt these new technologies, whereas other organizations, hey, they've never had their employees work from home before. So I just needed them to be connected as soon as possible. So maybe a VPN is the easiest way for me to get my employees ready to work from home. So all depends on what stage they're at in their their journey to enabling our remote workforce. I mean, it's definitely the responsibility of the employer overall, but if an employer is not taking that action or maybe not being clear and you're the employee, is there ever a time that it's okay to be using things like dropbox or Google drive for work documents, or do you advise against that generally? Yeah, I mean, as security professional, I would say I advise against it. The recommended approach I would go with would be to reach out to your employer first. So if you have a contact from it maybe helped Usk, and just be like, Hey, do we have any tools? I need this type of tool to to get this sort of work done. That would be the first approach I would take. But the reality is, if I mean the employees are going to work the way they want. So if they don't have...

...those tools, we have to be cognizant that they're they're going to leverage other things that are available to them in order to complete their task. Yeah, and you know, even if you're doing all the right things, there's also a step that one in ten laptops gets stolen. So how does a company and the individual prepare for this so that important, secure information isn't stolen too, and also to make sure that they could still access what they had on there from another device? Yeah, so this is an interesting conversation. And if we go back to this idea of a good, better and best option when it comes to remote workforce, one of the best ways to prevent important information from actually getting into the wrong hands, either from a loss device a stolen device, is to avoid having the applications and the applications associated data from living on that device in the in the first place. So, in other words, if you're leveraging virtual desktop or application solution again, like like a citrics, all the applications and its STATA will live in the organization's private data center or maybe some sort of public clouds scenario like an Azure, where they have full control over that application data. So this essentially means if the device does get lost or compromise, it's really not that concerning because there's something sensitive that lives on the device itself. Now just becomes a loss as far as overall cost of getting a new piece of hardware and sending that out to the employ however, on the flip side, not everyone is utilizing a virtual desktop and application solution. So for those of you that do have all of their applications in data that does live on the actual endpoint on the laptop itself, I would definitely recommend looking at some sort of mobile device management solution. There's...

...a lot out there. Microsoft and tunes probably one of the more popular ones. CITRIX has their own endpoint management solution, and these are all great tools for for tracking loss devices. They actually have GPS coordinates that can be enabled on those devices. You can remotely wipe those devices of literally everything or just specific to the corporation. So let's say you're requiring users that are using their own phones to install this mobile device management software. You can rest a sure that you're not going to wipe their pictures, their text messages. We can just wipe the things that are actually sensitive to the corporation. So a lot of great things that we can use to to prevent those bad guys from getting their hands on potentially sensitive information. Real quick, before we jump straight back into the episode today, we want to tell you about Ingram micro financial solutions and how you can maximize your buying power and get to yes with your customers faster. For the last nine years, Ingram micro has been channel pros readers choice for best financing options. Put The power of our credit and leasing options to work for you. You can easily contact financial solutions at Ingram microcom. All right, let's get back to the show now. What about companies that are completely virtual and remote? They don't have an office space to go to. Their entire business is run on the computer, so everyone is all over the world. They're all working in different ways. It's more cost effective. It works for them. Is it's still the same thing that you're talking about? Are there any differences for people that normally don't have a place of physical business to go to? Yeah, I would say the conversation is going to be similar. I actually work with a lot of our partners that started as...

...completely remote, so all their employee base does work from home and most of them do tend to leverage some sort of virtual desktop or virtual application solution. So I definitely think that approach is still the best way to move forward. It's just easier for them because they've already adopted this mindset of a remote workforce, whereas, again, due to what we're facing today, a lot of organizations are scrambling just to get their users access to there's resources as quickly as possible. But I think the the security and remote access principles I've been discussing still apply to both sets of parties. Now, Citrix offers a variety of options, but organizations to keep their data secure in the way we're talking about. Can you give some examples of what they offer and how it helps? Yeah, so citrics is a beast of a vendor, and what I mean by that is they just have such an extensive portfolio as far as the different solutions they offer. But the main solutions that I think pertain to this idea of remote workforce, of remote access from working from home, is all about their virtual application and desktop solutions. So Citrix, says, been in business for a few decades now. I think they started in the S, around when I was actually born, funnily enough, and they really got started, as far as a business goes, by creating this way to remotely access, in manage applications and desk stops. So they've been doing this from the from the very get go, and they work with most of the enterprise customers in the the market today as far as far as they're overall customer base. So they have traditional, again traditional citrics virtual APPS and desktop solutions. So this is going to be all about managing everything on premise and a company managed data...

...center. But more recently they also moved to a cloud based model. So now citrics virtual APPs and desktops is available to be consumed kind of as a software as a service type solution, so a SASS based model that we're seeing a lot of vendors coming out with. Essentially, what CITRIX is doing is they're saying, Hey, where the vendor? Were the experts at managing our own solution? Let us do that for you. There's a lot of components that are required to make a citricx environment work fantastically and if you don't have the experience, you don't have the the it administrator that has the five ten years of experience of managing a Citrix environment. Again, let us do that for you and all you have to manage is your actual workloads, your virtual desktops and virtual applications that users will actually be connecting to. When they are even taking it one step further now they even have a citricx manage desktop solution where they're saying, Hey, will manage all the citrics infrastructure, all of the stuff that makes citrics run as well as it runs, and will also manage the desktop for you as well via Microsoft Windows virtual desktop. So we're taking away that management component from our customers as well, and that's a great use case, especially for for customers that just maybe they don't have any type of servers in place today, they don't have a data center and they want everything to live in some sort of cloud environment. And, as we've talked about on this show a lot anger, micro continues to offer so many incredible resources to their partners, and one of them is also the Ingram's rapid response tool kit. Can you talk about how it offers support, especially for employees working remotely right now? Yeah, I would like to mimic exactly what you said in that it was shocking to me how quickly Ingram micro as an organization...

...jumped on really this idea of helping our partners and their customers with this this need for remote access. So, as far as the rapid response tool cake goes, this was all about arming our associates as well as our partners, because if we armor sociates well, we're arming our partner as well to help them choose the right technology, as well as financial solutions, because, especially when we talk about the cloud, we have to be a little creative when it comes to supporting these subscription based licenses for our partners. So it goes into a lot of details around different remote access solutions, like like virtual desktops, Vida, as well as cloud type solutions. It has a lot of resources, things like different links to upcoming webinars at the different teams within in grim micro is actually hosting around the subject of remote access, as well as a ton of other information that that I find extremely valuable for our partners, and when I've shared this to to some of my key partners, they found it very valuable as well. And the one question we love to ask all of our guests on this show, Ryan, is where do you see technology going within the next year? Yeah, so that's a that's a hard one. One thing I can say for certain is I think there's going to be this major uptick in two thousand and twenty, and I'll actually beyond two thousand and twenty, for organizations out there to have some sort of remote access policy as well as a strategy in place. I think this, this is going to be a natural progression and there's going to be a lot of need to have some sort of plan in place in case something like this ever happens again.

But I'd say even more so than that, they are now millions of people working from home that have never had the experience or the chance to work from home before, and if they're again, if there're anything like me, there are probably be some employees that go back to their employer once everything's more normalized, and just say like, Hey, I was able to do my job extremely efficient from working from home. Actually, maybe I was even more productive than I was typically in the Office for the last two months or so. Well, how about we explore this idea of maybe allowing me to work from home about two days of the week to start, and maybe even permanently in the future. We're seeing a trend of remote workforce going up every year. So I think it's again in two thousand and twenty and two thousand and twenty one, this trend is gonna have a even larger spike than normal just because of what we're all facing. Yeah, I agree. I think it's a good thing as well. I mean it's can save money, save overhead, people get more work done. There's definitely positives to come from all of this. Yeah, and it's money both from the employee and the employer perspective. I think about the the mount you spend on gas if you commute to work forty five minutes every day, and from an employer perspective, if we talk about even just real estate costs right off the bat, I mean I remember reading a statistic that on average, and player save around tenzero dollars per year per employee by moving them completely remote. So there is a an Roy that can be found right away from an employer. Now where could people learn more about what we talked about today or connect with you to ask any questions about everything? Yeah, everyone, you can definitely reach out to me. I'd be happy to hear from any of you, but I also have a...

...sales and marketing counterpart, Cindy carnes. Should be a great resource for everyone to reach out to us well, especially if you want to have a conversation around either CITRICX or EEGEL. Both of us would be available to have that conversation well. Thank you so much for being here, Ryan. I greatly appreciate you breaking down everything and sharing your knowledge with us today. Oh, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. If you like this episode, I have a question. Join the discussion on twitter at Ingram Textul with the Hashtag be to be tech talk. Thank you for tuning in and subscribing to be to be tech talk with Ingram micro. You've been listening to be tob tech talk with Ingram Micro, hosted by Carrie Roberts. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micros imagine next. Be To be tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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