It’s safe to say that 2020 was a year like none other. The worldwide pandemic triggered a homeworking (r)evolution like we’ve never seen before, and the need for a simple and secure way to work anywhere left many companies looking at Digital Workspace solutions.
Now that we can almost leave this wretched year behind us, let’s take the opportunity to look at what happened at Awingu in 2020. From how our unified workspace evolved and how our company changed to how the market is evolving. We’ve carefully selected a handful of our over 50 blog posts of the past year to reflect on the past twelve months.
Improving the workspace: Awingu 5.0
In October, we announced the launch of Awingu 5.0. In this new major release, the Awingu workspace keeps loyal to its ‘simplicity’ strengths while making steps as a Zero-Trust-Grade security solution. Legacy – but still widely adopted – solutions such as VPN and Open RDP access don’t offer the right mix of flexibility and security. COVID19 triggered a massive increase in remote working, unfortunately a lot of this was set up without the proper security measures.
Awingu 5.0’s features can be grouped into 3 buckets: Zero Trust-grade security, UX enhancements and core improvements. With features such as extended context-awareness, SIEM integration, IME keyboard support, multi-display setting configurations, Websocket support in the Awingu reverse proxy and more, we continuously aim to improve and perfect the workspace. Check out our blog post or watch the Awingu 5.0 feature overview video!
Secure work-from-home in times of COVID-19
If there’s something good to be said about the state the world was in this year, it’s that it helped managers and employees realize that working from home is a viable alternative to going to the office every day. For us Awingurus, remote working was commonplace before the pandemic – but many companies had to either introduce from scratch or greatly expand their homeworking capabilities… and that did not always happen in the most secure of effective way possible.
- In our “Homeworking is the new normal” blog post series, we aimed to instruct companies that are new to the concept on the (non-technical) what, why and how’s of letting your employees pick their location and device of choice.
- In Part 1: productivity, we use data to debunk the idea of ‘the slacking homeworker’ – in fact, it has been proven to boost productivity and output. Next to that, we also gave tips and tricks for employees and managers to make their homeworking experience as fruitful as possible.
- Part 2: healthy employer & employee relationships tackles what for many companies was the reason homeworking never took ground: underlying trust issues. In this HR-focused blog, we take a look at the formal (installing homeworking policies and the legalities it entails) as well as informal (managing expectations and management style) aspects of maintaining a trustworthy bond with your employees that work from home.
- Lastly, Part 3: post-COVID will bring a new equilibrium on where we work looks at the future. Now that close to everyone has spent almost a year working from home, does the “homeworking is here to stay” mantra correspond with reality, or will we all return to the office full-time when corona has left us? Together with many research firms, we believe that we’ll evolve towards a situation where companies will find the perfect divide between those two – and that ‘golden ratio’ is different for every company, industry and profile.
- Let’s get practical. Awingu has proven to be an excellent remote working solution in the past, and in our blog post about how our Digital Workspace helps organizations set up a corona-related homeworking platform we outline some of the typical scenario’s in which this can happen. One of the most common use-cases we saw was accessing office desktops from any device – something Awingu does with ease, as we’ve covered in another write-up.
- With IT admins all across the globe having set up a reliable homeworking platform in a matter of days (whereas before, those projects could’ve taken months or even years), we noticed that it didn’t always happen with security in mind. And we’re not the only ones that noticed this: hacks targeting insecure RDP or VPN systems were escalating. In fact, a study we produced right before the pandemic showed that over 360k companies in a handful of European countries were facing serious security issues – a number that is sure to have risen significantly during the pandemic. One thing’s for sure: now is not the time for insecure homeworking solutions.
- Many companies all over the globe have switched to Awingu to ensure a simple, secure and cost-effective way for their employees to work from home. And those that already had us in place saw a large increase in its use. In fact, Awingu usage rose with 300% during the first months of the pandemic.
A wide variety of customer success stories
Awingu is being used by companies all over the world and covers a wide array of use cases. This year, we have released more than a dozen of Awingu testimonials and reference cases. Click on the logo’s below to read their stories!
This year was one where we engaged in many partnerships, either by forming new alliances with meaningful and strategic stakeholders in the IT landscape or by solidifying the engagements we already had.
- Together with BlackBerry, we announced the BlackBerry Digital Workplace. “The combination of BlackBerry Desktop, CylancePROTECT® and Awingu makes a unique and highly competitive unified workplace solution which sets itself apart thanks to its end-to-end security focus.” (Walter Van Uytven, CEO Awingu)
- Awingu & Nutanix: better together. We achieved the ‘AHV Ready’ partner status this year, which is awarded to products and solutions that have been tested and verified to work on or with AHV, the Nutanix built-in hypervisor.
- Awingu we announced our partnership agreement with ASM Technologies Limited, a multi-national and industry-leading IT channel provider. ASM Technologies are the ‘Partner of Choice’ to Europe’s largest Systems Integrators and Value-Added Resellers for supply chain rationalization for non-strategic IT products & services.
Knowledge is power: technical & market insights
Our goal is not only to inform you about the need of a unified workspace such as Awingu, but also to provide insights into technical (e.g. deep-dives into technological concepts and/or solutions) and less technical (e.g. the HR focus of remote working or cost-saving methods) topics.
- It’s clear that Zero Trust is a concept that will dominate the IT security landscape in the coming years, and it’s here to stay. We’re happy to say that Awingu is a Zero Trust enabler (as backed up by Dr. Chase ‘Zero Trust’ Cunningham in one of our AwinguruTalks). Be sure to also check out our blog post Zero Trust: the new normal to learn more.
- One thing that definitely doesn’t fit within the Zero Trust picture, however, is VPN. In fact, there’s so much wrong with it that we even decided to write it down in a blog post – check out Friends don’t let friends use VPN: technology made in the nineties isn’t suited for 2020.
- Managed and/or Cloud Service Providers (M/CSP) can unlock growth with Awingu, be it via an Awingu-as-a-service or workplace-as-a-service model. We’ve explained the technicalities in detail in our blog post, or download our white paper to learn more.
- At Awingu, we’ve been strong advocates of BYOD for many years. Now, we’ve also done the math and proven that a combination of Awingu and BYOD can shrink your end-user computing TCO with up to 45%! Find out how we did the math.
- It is important for us to listen to the market and spot where Awingu can offer a solution that we did not previously outline. Some of those (popularly requested) use-cases are extending the life of 16 and 32 bit apps that ran on a Windows Server 2008, enabling smooth remote access to Filemaker Pro and giving students remote access to school PCs.
- Lastly, it’s also our mission to inform about potential hazards remote workers (be it Awingu users or otherwise) may be facing. For example, we covered the fact that Citrix Netscaler contained a serious security vulnerability, or that a Microsoft Security Update that disables unsecure LDAP logins could leave you with operational worries.
For now, we wish you happy (and safe!) holidays and a hopefully better 2021. If you would like to kickstart your year and grasp the future of work with both hands by enabling your employees to work securely from anywhere on any device – look no further and start your free trial today or contact us for more information!
About the author
Karel Van Ooteghem