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End-user computing trends to know for 2018

Organizations need to pay attention to shifts in the trends around end-user computing to stay one step ahead. One expert predicts what those next steps might be.

A new year is a great time for IT to revisit old or stagnant technologies and strategies, and to consider fresh options.

The current discussion on end-user computing trends revolves mainly around device management, virtual desktop adoption and the technology behind both.

The past year brought IT more manageable devices, easier ways to launch virtual desktops and new tools for desktop security. Advances in hardware and software are now necessary for better security and management.

SearchEnterpriseDesktop spoke with Maribel Lopez, principal and founder of Lopez Research in San Francisco, about just how significant the end-user computing trends of 2017 were, and how they will affect the enterprise in 2018.

Security gets revamped for new technology

Security is the first of the end-user computing trends that Lopez sees changing. The current environment that IT finds itself in, which is full of mobile users with multiple devices, paved the way for contextual security.

"We've got a lot of devices per user now, and we've got users that travel around a lot," Lopez said. "We are put in this position where we need to figure out, 'Is that really [an employee]? Is she really connecting from that location? And should I give her access to these documents?'"

Contextual security uses behavior analysis tools to determine typical end-user activities, and it alerts IT when something deviates from the norm. It relies on contextual information about the users, such as their identity or location, for example.

End-user security -- The primary means of data defense

"Some of it could be automatic and lock users out of the system, but some of it could alert IT directly for attention," Lopez said.

The big end-user computing vendors are now turning toward better security options, such as contextual security, to improve their offerings.

"Increasingly, it looks like that contextual security angle will come from your end-user computing vendors, like Microsoft, Citrix or VMware," Lopez said.

The type of big data-based technology that is increasing in the enterprise, such as artificial intelligence, helps to boost the capabilities of security by providing more detailed ways for IT to detect intrusions. New security features will be packaged by vendors "with analytics and security software, using machine learning and predictive analytics in the end-user computing world," Lopez said.

Better security is a top priority for IT, and using fresh methods such as contextual security to help streamline alerts and notifications will benefit users and admins alike.

Managing device diversity

An increase in device types is another of the top end-user computing trends for 2018. The influx of devices will challenge IT in terms of security and management. This will increase virtual desktop adoption, as the technology enables more device flexibility, Lopez said.

"You can basically go anywhere and have your desktop loaded for you, and, when you walk away, it goes away, which is really appealing," she said. "If it's done well, the user won't know they are on a virtual desktop. It just got easier and cheaper."

If it's done well, the user won't know they are on a virtual desktop.
Maribel Lopezprincipal and founder, Lopez Research

However, IT must make sure security and management are in harmony for virtual desktops, as well.

"We have talked about the benefits [of virtual desktops], but we haven't built the ... software to make it happen yet," Lopez said.

To improve VDI software and hardware even more, the dominating vendors will continue to reign above other options.

"The landscape for [end-user computing] has streamlined dramatically," Lopez said. "[Organizations] are dealing with Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, and I don't think that will change." 

This was last published in December 2017

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What new trends in end-user computing do you think 2018 will bring?