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IBM solutions are helping businesses create flexible workplaces, helping reduce costs and improve security for mobility. By enabling flexible workplaces, businesses are expecting to see costs savings of 49 percent and a 41 percent hike in sales and revenue, according to an IBM Center for Applied Insights report. But as employees become more mobile, security risks are heightened. Seventy-one percent of IT managers consider security to be the most significant challenge in enabling a flexible workplace, the report says.

Recognizing those concerns, IBM has developed flexible workplace solutions with IBM PureFlex* and IBM Flex System* offerings that address those issues. To find out more about how IBM is helping businesses manage their IT by employing PureFlex and IBM Flex System technology with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), IBM Systems Magazine spoke with Britni Coble, IBM PureFlex Solutions offering manager.

Q: Could you define VDI and explain what’s driving companies to deploy it?

A: VDI is a way to host desktop environments on remote servers in a data center or other location. Users can access their information from any location with any device. The benefit here is twofold. First, employees gain greater workplace flexibility, and second, corporate IT departments get simplified management and security for their desktop environments. For example, many companies today are allowing their employees to access their system or desktops via a mobile device or tablet. Employees can access the system on their desktop PCs, from home PCs or remotely using mobile devices and tablets. More and more employees want mobile access to their data anytime, anywhere using any device.

Several marketplace trends are driving the need for a shift towards VDI, or desktop virtualization. IT departments are now expected to do more with less. IT budgets aren’t growing; they are staying the same or shrinking. At the same time, the IT department is charged with not only supporting typical business functions, but it’s also expected to help drive a business toward innovation and enable future growth as clients’ needs change over time. Unfortunately, many businesses are spending considerable portions of their IT budgets on simply maintaining the current infrastructure, making it difficult to invest in innovative projects. Managing the sprawling desktop environment adds to the complexity and cost of IT.

More businesses have workforces that want access to their data 24-7 and this trend is driving an increase in BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives and programs. Expanding mobile access also increases security and compliance concerns for many businesses. Companies want to ensure the data sent to employees’ mobile devices is secure and adheres to specific compliance standards. Included in these trends is the requirement for businesses to remain highly available in the event of natural disasters or theft of a device.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.

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