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What Is a Virtual Workspace?

A virtual workspace, sometimes called an anywhere workspace, is a work environment in which all servers, data and collaboration are hosted remotely. This approach has exploded in recent years due to growing adoption of cloud-based working environments and decreased reliance on on-premises servers and infrastructure.

The virtual workspace model is especially ideal for remote and hybrid companies, although traditional companies benefit from this approach as well. Teams using a virtual workspace can collaborate with other team members in real time whether they’re in a cubicle nearby, working from home, or connecting remotely from another country. When searching for cloud solutions to power a virtual workspace, solution buyers and IT administrators often prioritize the following elements:

  • Cloud security: Tools and strategies such as micro-segmentation, firewalls, data encryption, and threat combat are crucial for ensuring the security of their virtual workspace.

  • Scalability: Solutions must be able to quickly scale to handle increases in cloud traffic and avoid overburdening IT teams.

  • Automation: Eliminating manual tasks saves time and streamlines management of the company’s distributed workforce, networking and data.

  • Consistency: Providing workers with a consistent experience from every location is vital for empowering employees and increasing productivity.

Traditionally, hybrid working has been problematic for management and administration teams. Done incorrectly, it can cause fragmented working experiences, cloud or on-prem security nightmares, and headaches for IT administration. Done well, it can boost productivity and contribute to a flexible corporate culture.

To be successful, a hybrid work approach must integrate efficient tools that enable employees to stay secure and productive whether they are onsite at their company’s corporate building or working in a different time zone. Virtual workspaces solve many challenges of hybrid work by taking a cloud-based approach to files, networks and security infrastructure. This allows employees to log into the cloud with a consistent experience, smooth collaboration capabilities, and secure connectivity no matter their location.

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Virtual Workspace Benefits

A large overall benefit of a virtual workspace is its versatility. While an onsite infrastructure is limited by location, a cloud-based, virtual workspace allows for onsite access and remote access. Employees can stay productive and IT can perform critical tasks and operations anywhere. Additionally, hosting all data, operations and files in a public or private cloud eliminates the potential of accidentally deleting important information or experiencing long bouts of downtime when upgrading on-prem infrastructure.
Other benefits include:

  • Affordability: A virtual workspace allows businesses to avoid investing in larger and more expensive physical infrastructure as they grow. Agile cloud technology can scale as cloud traffic increases, eliminating the need to overhaul a physical server room. When employees can stay productive from anywhere, companies can save on building costs and keep their physical footprint smaller and more affordable.

  • Flexibility: Virtual workspaces allow employees to work and communicate from anywhere. This allows businesses to hire the best person for the job without worrying about paying for relocation costs or whether the person is interested in moving.

  • Security: New security models built specifically for the cloud can protect the larger attack surface of a virtual workspace. Companies can deploy zero trust, use single sign-on applications to ensure only the right people have access, and implement remote management tools to get visibility into potential threats. IT teams and security administrators can mitigate threats and monitor network performance without being limited to onsite security management solutions.

  • Selectivity: IT teams can be selective as to which security, networking and collaboration solutions they use. This is a large reason why the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is popular for administrators managing virtual workspaces. This benefit can become a challenge if companies do not effectively manage these tools within a unified platform.

  • Productivity: Ensuring a consistent working experience, where preferences are remembered every time workers connect, allows employees to stay productive no matter where they are. Connecting to the workspace will feel as familiar as walking into the office every day, and they can customize and personalize task interfaces as they would a physical desk, office or cubicle. If a trip to the office is impossible due to inclement weather, virtual workspaces ensure productivity doesn’t suffer.

Virtual Workspace Challenges

  • Fragmentation: When companies use multiple vendors to purchase the many solutions that power a virtual workspace, they may find their IT stack becoming siloed and fragmented if not properly managed. Platforms like VMware Anywhere Workspace take a holistic approach to securing the distributed edge and unifying these solutions.

  • Employee engagement: Companies using a virtual workspace may find that remote employees’ productivity grows, but the lack of in-person engagement may require managers to find ways to intentionally build rapport and social connection among colleagues. Thus, IT managers and solution buyers must prioritize effective and secure collaboration solutions for their hybrid or remote teams.

  • Consistent experiences: As employees connect from anywhere, IT teams need to ensure a consistent, seamless login and working experience while keeping the cloud secure from attackers and cybercriminals. Selecting the right secure access tools and systems is vital to effectively balancing solid security and smooth user experience.

How VMware Can Help

Today’s workforce faces fragmented security, operational complexity and subpar experiences. Put employees first with solutions that deliver secure, seamless connection while reducing costs and operational overhead. Build trust using the Anywhere Workspace solution within the VMware Cross-Cloud services portfolio.

Discover how VMware empowers teams with secure productivity—anywhere. Learn more.

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