Understanding End-User Computing
May 15, 2023
End-user computing (EUC) is an IT discipline that refers to a set of technologies that enable workers to access remote applications and data safely and securely. EUC encompasses a range of different technologies and processes that address deployment, configuration, maintenance, security, and performance management of devices, software, and cloud-based services.
Although EUC is nothing new, interest in the discipline has grown since the start of the pandemic due to the sharp increase in remote workers. Companies continue to investigate ways to make greater use of EUC to facilitate higher productivity among their distributed workers.
The growth of remote work initiatives and the increasing need for high-performance, secure communication channels have led more and more companies to adopt digitally transformed EUC solutions and services.
Understanding End User Computing Environment and the Remote Work Impact
EUC touches on virtually every aspect of the modern workplace; essential systems such as laptops, tablets, and phones; software tools and security protections; and cloud services that allow regular users unfettered access to all of the applications they need to succeed. For certain industries, EUC processes are also core to ensuring that remote workers, equipment, and applications maintain regulatory compliance.
To understand EUC, you must first break it down into constituent parts. EUC needs to meet hardware, software, networking, security, and IT service delivery requirements.
EUC encompasses a broad range of devices, such as desktops, smart watches, laptops, smartphones, tablets, scanners, and printers. This ensures that your workforce has the proper physical devices to do their jobs is a fundamental part of business productivity.
Dispersed employees need help delivering, setting up, and maintaining hardware compared with deployment in a centralized office workspace. The consumerization of technology and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies that see remote workers using their personal mobile devices and PCs to access work-related materials create additional complications to EUC setup in a distributed workforce.
Of course, it’s vital that all relevant hardware components be selected and systems designed to be linked together so a user can work seamlessly across devices. Bridging different operating systems, functionalities, and restrictions is a necessity.
EUC must support the entire breadth of end-user use cases, software programs, and cloud computing apps used in the modern workplace. These include office productivity mainstays like Microsoft Office, automation functions, communication tools like Slack, and mission-critical systems like Salesforce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools.
Providing your employees with fast and secure access to the software they need to accomplish their jobs is vital to the well-being of your organization. EUC must consider the different performance needs of engineers and non-programmers alike for easy access to necessary software. IT teams need specific remote management tools such as Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to help troubleshoot user issues.
EUC services need to work across multiple generations of application hosting technology.
Employees may be operating on-device apps that must be downloaded onto their computer or mobile device, enterprise software systems hosted internally on a central server, or cloud and SaaS apps. Most companies are moving towards subscription-based cloud apps to save IT time and up-front capital by reducing the need for static software deployments and licensing while easing security and scalability demands.
In the context of EUC, networking refers to all of the ways in which end-users connect to resources beyond their computer or mobile device. For remote workers, this means it is now the time that IT infrastructure teams must be mindful of the home networking environment, including home Wi-Fi, local area networks, and Internet gateways. Furthermore, employee application access relies on many other networking segments across the Internet and corporate wide area networks (WANs). It's vital that employees have highly performant connectivity across all these networks to company servers, and public cloud-based solutions resources such as SaaS collaboration tools. Since the network paths from remote workers to their applications lie entirely outside of IT control, it is even more necessary for IT teams to have deep visibility into end-user experience and network factors via Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) tools.
VDI and DaaS
Some organizations need to tightly control the desktop environment of remote workers while ensuring access to critical corporate applications. In these cases, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions from the likes of Citrix and VMWare are a typical solution. Desktop virtualization enables workers to remotely access secure desktop instances hosted on data center servers. The cloud service alternative that is slowly replacing internally-hosted VDI solutions is known as desktop as a service (DaaS), which uses SaaS hosting and pricing.
In today’s highly threatening digital environment, robust cybersecurity measures are a must. Due to the lower-control environments involved in remote work, companies are more likely to experience costly data breaches. Sound EUC programs take this into consideration and implement a thorough suite of tools including firewalls, data encryption measures, anti-virus, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) for zero-touch provisioning to cut down on discrepancies in the remote desktop experience. Securing traffic in transit from attacks means using virtual private networks (VPNs) or cloud-based Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) services.
In a distributed work scenario, strong access controls including multi-factor authentication (MFA) are essential to prevent unwanted users from accessing sensitive data on company computing systems. Too many organizations leave the door open to sensitive systems, so tightly managing access, particularly when offboarding employees, can prevent internal data leaks and corporate espionage. It can also stop less malicious but still harmful unauthorized data access.
IT Service Delivery
EUC in remote work environments requires a comprehensive approach to IT service delivery. Physical device lifecycles including break-fix and troubleshooting, plus the software-side of device management, network visibility, endpoint management, access and security management, and help-desk assistance are all necessary features for smooth IT operation to support remote workers.
Remote workplaces outsized stresses on IT teams and the EUC service delivery model. The EUC lifecycle was already a challenge to deliver with everyone in an on-premises office setting. The barriers of time, distance, network latency, language, and national and trade boundaries make every IT workflow more difficult.
Make a Strategic Shift in EUC
EUC is a critical component of today’s business operation. Given how remote work stretches IT resources and service delivery models, modern IT leaders are moving toward ways to optimize their teams are focused on the highest-value and strategic components. This means that it is high time to take precious internal IT staff time off of physical asset management workflows. Firstbase built the industry’s first and leading platform to modernize EUC by fusing powerful SaaS workflow automation and delightful employee self-service with a global physical operation that handles everything from procurement, inventory management, logistics, deployment and retrieval, repairs and replacements, from onboarding through offboarding. Firstbase not only handles IT equipment but also ergonomic furniture so you can equip remote workers for success. Firstbase allows your team to offload low-value tasks so they can focus on digital transformation and business continuity for greater bottom-line efficiency, and innovating new services to increase top-line revenue opportunities. To learn more, request a demo.