Portable workspaces, including the latest Microsoft version of Windows 10 that can be booted from a USB external drive, have been called “incredibly convenient” and a “a worthwhile and productive time-saver”. Windows 10 has already been downloaded somewhere between 25-30 million times, according to reports, but how well will the new OS fare with enterprise customers?
According to Leon Brown, Senior Product Manager at Imation Corp’s IronKey – a mobile security solutions and mobile workspaces company – Enterprise features like Device Guard, Credential Guard, Granular UX control will see the wave of upgrading increase more quickly than in the past. Brown believes that this will also lead to an increase in interest of Windows To Go. According to Brown, “50 of the Fortune 500 have either adopted or piloted Windows To Go in their environments” already. SiliconANGLE got in touch with IronKey to ask why more businesses are choosing Windows To Go.
Cost and Convenience
Brown first pointed to the salient matter of money. Windows To Go, he said, is cost effective. Brown gave the example. “If you have a $100,000 budget you can either get 100 laptops or 90 laptops + 70 IronKey Windows To Go devices,” adding that IronKey Windows To Go devices allow for mass provisioning via PowerShell scripts, even their high-security hardware encrypted devices are often used. “We’ve seen this type of usage in BYOD where IT no longer needs to install software to bring an employee or contractor PC up to spec, and also in situations where secondary or additional PCs might be required,” Brown explained. A small Windows To Go device can be plugged in anywhere, he said, giving users some peace of mind.
The second reason he thinks Windows To Go is winning is because it’s a secure or standardized container, one in which IT wants to provide a monitored and controlled Windows environment to run a specific application or service. “The most common example is as a compliment for VDI,” explained Brown, “In this situation IT likes the central control of a managed OS, but dislikes the risk involved with running on an unknown PC either at the employee’s home or on the road. IronKey has achieved Citrix Certification at the request of our customers to help those justifying this use case. This is also being used for VPN clients and SaaS app deployments like Office365 – anywhere where IT finds it cheaper to provide a fully compliant IronKey Workspace versus the challenge of updating employee machines.”
Working from Home
Expanding on this Brown says Windows To Go solved the dilemma of employees working from home when data security was an issue. “The IT and desktop organizations proposed using Windows To Go as a secure enclosure for accessing central storage and using full Microsoft Office apps, and locked down the OS using Windows techniques for whitelisting software and using a locked down firewall,” said Brown. He added that employees who until deployment were not permitted to work at home with significant IT set-up of their machine got to work from home and IT was able to manage the platform securely – including leveraging IronKey Enterprise Management Service (EMS) for remote device management as an additional security layer.
IronKey said that a vast majority of their customers are enterprise customers, but they added that Microsoft provides a wide variety of Volume License plans to many small-medium business (SMB) organizations have a Microsoft Volume License that includes the benefit. So not just enterprises, but a vast majority.
On those words the interview was over, and before ever talking to IronKey I didn’t know much about them, but i can say, they state a good case.