What’s a Workspace?

workspaceWe are all aware of the PC era when desktop computing made massive waves inside businesses and truly transformed the way employees worked. Today, we are headed into a very similar situation with mobility as it relates to new devices, new roles, and an interesting balance between corporate and personal computing. The days of being tethered to a desktop or laptop are rapidly changing. Heightened awareness concerning security, the many threat vectors being injected into every instantiation of the corporate computing environment, and the opportunities to unleash the potential inside smartphones and tablets are fascinating subjects.

We like to think of this as a transformation from personal computing (PC), where a user was typically associated with a device, to PCS (productivity, communication, and security), where users are associated with a workspace that can be accessed from a variety of devices and locations. The key attributes of PCS include:

Productivity applications: Inclusive of native mobile applications, SaaS, and projected legacy applications, and must include file and data access.

Communication and collaboration: Voice, video, and text options to maintain existing lines of communications as well as create new communication and collaboration surfaces for a productive environment.

Security controls: Common IAM (identity and access management), EMM (enterprise mobility management), single sign-on, digital rights management, and machine learning capabilities to recognize threats before and while they are taking place.

A workspace is comprised of a set of applications (inclusive of file access), communication tools, and policies based on the employee’s role and responsibilities. IT manages and maintains the workspace at the user level, enabling an employee to access her workspace from a variety of devices, operating systems, and locations. The workspace also ideally includes some level of self-help.

The employee’s view into and usage of a workspace will vary based on the device type and location. When an employee accesses a workspace on a corporate network from a device with full input capabilities that include keyboard, mouse, touch, video, and audio, he will be assigned native applications that leverage the platform he is accessing the workspace from. If the employee logs into a workspace form a mobile device on a public network, she may get the mobile version of applications and may be limited to the data she can access and functions she can perform. The scenario of accessing a workspace from an unapproved device on an unapproved network (or an approved device on an unapproved network) comes with the capability to block or limit access. These are just a few examples to help demonstrate the flexibility of workspace.

Terri McClure and I double-click into the value of a workspace in the ESG market summary report, Workplace Delivery: Desktop, Application, and Mobility Platforms for Hybrid End-user Computing Environments. While the strategy behind creating a productive workspace is critical to understanding and adapting to a particular business environment, the practice of creating a workspace warrants further exploration and will be discussed in an upcoming blog, Supporting Enterprise Mobility: How to Create a Workspace. 

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Topics: Enterprise Mobility