Device-Led IT can be restrictive for users and risky for business.
What is Device-Led IT?
You might not have heard of the term “Device-Led IT” before, but you’ll almost certainly know what it is.
Device-Led IT is a new term coined to summarise today’s popular IT model, a model where users’ desktops, applications and files are stored on the end user’s device, meaning all of the computer processing happens on the end user’s device too.
A simple Device-Led IT setup
Desktop, files and apps stored on device.
Files and apps often also stored on servers.
If you’ve ever used a standalone laptop running Microsoft Windows or macOC, you’ve experienced Device-Led IT.
Why does Device-Led IT need a term anyway?
If Device-Led IT is simply computing as we all know it, you might ask, why does it need a name?
Well, when something new comes along, something different, you need to distinguish the two.
As complexity in IT has risen – from the growth of the Internet, cyber threats and changing user requirements – and as new technologies have come along, new models of operating IT have become possible. And perhaps more feasible, as this article touches upon below.
Three reasons why the Device-Led IT model is aging
Device-Led IT will probably never die. But, the fact of the matter is, it’s an IT model that was conceived in a world without the Internet.
It has evolved greatly with the advent of the Internet – of that there’s no doubt – but if you were to ‘reset’ corporate IT today, there are strong reasons why it’d make sense to use a different model.
Principally, there are three key reasons why Device-Led IT doesn’t make sense in today’s corporate environment:
Reason #1: Device-Led IT has unnecessary restrictions for end users
By its very nature, Device-Led IT requires a user to be with their primary work device at all times, and often restricted to the corporate office, for any work to be completed. In other words, if you don’t have your work computer with you, and it’s not in the right place, work isn’t going to happen.
For some workers, it’s not always feasible to have their primary work device with them at all times. And, for many, there’s always the odd unforeseen situation when a user can’t get to their device.
But think also about any office-based worker that can’t make it into the office on a given day for unexpected childcare reasons, weather-related difficulties or illness. Or just time lost at an off-site meeting.
No matter what the situation; in a given year, the inability for employees to access the right technology at the right time is valuable time wasted – time usually totally unaccounted for and taken as a given. In some industries, that time wasted could incur significant costs due to lost opportunities.
No more user restrictions?
Reason #2: Device-Led IT poses unnecessary compliance risks for organisations
If a user stores files and data on their device, it’s more vulnerable to unauthorised access from external attackers. It also increases the likelihood of file duplication, as files get shared from one employee to the next, in the outboxes and inboxes of email systems, then stored locally on the new device. That one instance would create three unnecessary additional copies of a file. Which makes the file three times more likely to get into the wrong hands.
Desktop 365’s delivery partner, Atlas Cloud, conducted end user research and found that two-thirds of office workers store work files on their devices, despite having the option to store files more securely on the office network. In other words, people are lazy and do what’s quickest. Which isn’t good for compliance-conscious organisations.
Device-Led IT also makes it easy for employees to share files externally without (initial) notice, which is something disgruntled employees are becoming known for – like this former Morrisions employee.
Eradicating compliance risks?
Reason #3: Device-Led IT scales inefficiently, costing growing (and shrinking) organisations
Device-Led IT usually requires high-cost end user devices and on-premise servers with unused capacity.
Every time a business expands and hires a new employee, a new high-cost device is purchased and additional capacity is required on corporate servers. Server capacity is purchased in chunks as new hardware typically serves 10s or 100s or users. Therefore, at some point, an organisation hits its capacity and has no choice to invest in another server, typically with the three-year lifespan, to serve only the additional employees at that time – which could just be one employee.
The company is then locked into that investment for the next three years, no matter whether the company continues to expand or even shrinks in employee size. That makes budgeting a problem, especially in industries that operate seasonal peaks.
Always 100% utilisation?
A new IT model? Introducing IT.
Server-Led IT is, to some extent, the opposite of Device-Led IT.
It might sound like a small difference, but the effect is profound – eliminating all of the Device-Led risks and restrictions discussed above and unlocking a host of previously unimaginable benefits.
Desktop 365, is an all-in-one Server-Led IT implementation that uses Citrix and Microsoft technology, delivered by award-winning MSP Atlas Cloud.