The COVID 19 pandemic has seen many companies tumble head-first into remote working without the benefit of foresight or preparation. Most information workers will be able to work remotely provided they have a decent internet connection and a quiet, comfortable space in which to work: the reality is very different.
AWS has been successfully delivering remote working solutions for several years, prior to the events of COVID-19. Three key AWS technologies which enable remote work are Amazon WorkSpaces, AppStream 2.0, and AWS Client VPN.
This article covers the advantages and use cases of each technology.
Managed virtual desktops with Amazon WorkSpaces
Amazon WorkSpaces allows users to engage in remote working using a controlled, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. Users can leverage the quick setup to access Amazon WorkSpaces on Windows or Linux desktops. DaaS is a scalable solution, and it grants access to thousands of users worldwide. The added advantage: users have the option to pay only for the WorkSpaces they launch. Payment is monthly or hourly, so that users can decide the most cost-effective method. This helps virtual desktops be more cost-effective than traditional desktops and other on-prem VDI solutions.
Amazon WorkSpaces is easy to use and removes the complicated management of hardware inventory. It eliminates the complexity of OS versions and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). DaaS is a simplified desktop delivery strategy which is fast, responsive and accessible from anywhere, on any device.
The benefits of Amazon WorkSpaces include:
- Simplified desktop delivery
Many administrative tasks come with managing your desktop lifecycle. These include deploying, maintaining, and recycling desktops. With Amazon WorkSpaces, these administrative tasks are a thing of the past. Users manage less hardware and do not need complex virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments.
- Reduced cost
On-demand cloud desktops diminish the need for desktop and laptop resources. All desktops include various storage and memory options to suit individual needs.
- Keeping data secure
Amazon WorkSpaces deploys in Amazon Virtual Private Network (VPC). Each user has access to encrypted storage volumes in the cloud. Data storage does not take place on the device, improving security.
- Manage and scale global desktop deployment
With Amazon WorkSpaces, users worldwide have access to cloud performance desktops. Furthermore, you can maintain the global deployment of WorkSpaces from a single AWS console.
AppStream 2.0: Your apps, on any device
Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully automated and managed streaming service that assists your team in optimising remote work. With AppStream 2.0, you can centrally manage all of your applications, delivering them securely to any computer or device. Once more, you have the option to scale to any number of users across the globe without needing additional operating hardware or infrastructure. Operating on AWS, AppStream 2.0 provides users with a first-class network architecture that supports security-sensitive organisations. Having applications run on virtual machines means that users get fluid and responsive experiences, including GPU-intensive 3D design and streaming sessions that automatically regulate to network conditions.
AppStream 2.0 has many advantages for users of any profession. For example, users in an enterprise can use AppStream 2.0 to streamline application deliveries and finalise their move to the cloud. Schools and universities can leverage the programme to give student access to materials and applications needed for classes. Software vendors can use AppStream 2.0 to deliver promotions and demos without the need to download or install them first.
As has been noted, there are many benefits to using AppStream 2.0. Additional benefits include delivering desktop applications to any computer of your choice. With this, your team can access desktop applications that they require at any time. AppStream 2.0 gives users freedom and flexibility to stream apps from AWS to any computer (including Chromebooks, Macs, and PCs). Teams can scale without acquiring or paying for any additional infrastructure as AppStream 2.0 offers pay-as-you-go. Security is a prime feature of AppStream 2.0 as the storing of data does not take place on any of the users’ computers. All applications are streamed as encrypted pixels and data on secure networks. Applications run on virtual machines optimised explicitly for their use cases, allowing for highly responsive and seamless streaming sessions. AppStream 2.0 allows you to centrally manage your applications and also connects to your network, cloud storage, and file shares. Doing this enables users to access applications using existing credentials and security policies.
Securely access cloud and on-prem resources with AWS Client VPN
AWS Client VPN allows remote workers to access AWS resources securely (including those resources in on-premises networks). Through using an OpenVPN-based VPN client, users can access their resources from anywhere in the world.
Client VPN offers the following features:
- Secure connections – from using the OpenVPN client, users get secure TLS connections from any location.
- Users have a managed service and do not need to be concerned with operational burdens.
- Client VPN scales according to the number of users that connect to your AWS resources.
- Support of client verification through the Active Directory and certificate-based authentication.
- Through defining network-based access rules, users can implement custom security controls.
- It gives access to AWS resources and on-prem resources from a single VPN tunnel.
- Users can view connection logs, getting detailed information on client connectivity attempts.
- Active client connections can additionally be managed, with users having the option to terminate any active client connections.
AWS Client VPN bills users on an hourly basis, in line with their active association per Client VPN endpoint.
Remote working with PolarSeven
PolarSeven specialise in delivering solutions to enable users and business through AWS. Many of our existing clients have no need to change through these times, as their applications have already been prepared for productive remote working.