Google is moving towards the hosted desktop – but they can go one step further

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Recently I read a fascinating article by Rachel King in the WSJ CIO Journal titled “Google moves its corporate applications to the Internet”. This article was of particular interest to me because I manage a company that offers a hosted desktop solution to SMEs, and what is described as Google’s “new approach” is the approach that our customers have been benefiting from for years.

Here are just a few examples of quotes from the article:

“Google Inc., taking a new approach to enterprise security, is moving its corporate applications to the Internet.”

“That means employee access is treated the same whether the user is at a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop.”

“Google tracks and manages all employees in a user database and a group database that is tied into the company’s human resources processes. These databases are updated as employees join the company, change responsibilities or leave the company.”

For our customers, all their applications are hosted and backed-up securely in the cloud, as is their data. Employees are treated the same whether the user is at a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop, and our customers manage user permissions and update these as the employees join the company, change responsibility or leave the company.

Google is a great company, perhaps even the greatest, and they’re taking the right approach to corporate applications. I would go one step further and recommend Google to move to the full hosted desktop. While Google is securing each device, thereby creating a hybrid of local device and cloud, I would recommend that they adopt a full cloud solution whereby all data, applications and computing are in the cloud.

By remaining device dependent they are reducing their own flexibility; for example, what would happen if an employee went on a business trip and forgot their “approved” tablet at home? Would they be able to access all of their applications from any device? For this reason, for most of our customers, the device doesn’t matter; as long as the individual is securely authenticated, the employee can work not only from everywhere but also from every device.

For those customers with extra security requirements, we offer a two form authentication (2FA) process which continues to allow access from any device, but might require the entry of a password sent to the employee’s mobile phone. Becoming device agnostic is not only secure, but it removes the need to manage certain devices and allows a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.

The cloud need not be only for data backup or only part of a wider hybrid solution. Many companies can move 100% to the cloud while enjoying the benefits of flexible work, security, improved cash-flow, and, in many cases, cost reduction. The biggest benefit of the cloud may be that it removes the worry of dealing with IT from the business managers, thereby allowing them to get on with what they do best.

I take pride in the fact that our customers – recruitment companies, financial brokers, accountants and charities, ranging in size from two dozen to a few hundred employees – are enjoying a service not too dissimilar from what is described as new in relation to Google, Coca-Cola, Verizon Communication Inc and Mazda Motors Corp.

Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, an IT research firm is quoted in the article as saying – “There’s not a company anywhere that won’t have to develop something like this.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Do you think Google should move to a full hosted desktop? Let us know in the comments?