The future is connected - Enterprise VDI and Remote Access

The future is connected

Normally at this time of year, I write a piece with predictions for the upcoming year, but I feel like no one really wants to read “Five Hosted Desktop Trends to Watch Out For in 2021.” Not after the year we’ve all had.  Instead, let’s do a look back at Leostream’s journey through 2020, to learn how this year made us stronger and leaves us optimistic for the year(s) to come.

Leostream in 2020

Leostream entered 2020 like many other software companies did, with a plan for growth and a roadmap for development. We held our annual company meeting in January to align our entire team with the company’s goals, followed by a festive lunch attended by everyone – mask-free and in the same hall.

Then came March.

Like everyone, Leostream’s offices closed and our staff went remote. For Leostream, that shift was easy – after all, we sell remote access software. Our challenge was to ensure that our customers were successful, as well.

So we did what Leostream has excelled at doing for over a decade. We listened to our customers, we worked with our partners and opportunities, and we pivoted. Essentially, we tossed our development roadmap out the window and focused on the features and functionality required to make this new work-from-home world, in a word, work.

  • We taught existing customers how to leverage the Leostream Gateway in their Leostream deployments, to connect workers from home without a VPN and, more importantly, without additional cost. Almost immediately, I heard stories from a Solutions Provider who was able to support remote work for one of their call center customers in less than a day.
  • We answered what amounted to a distress signal from the Media & Entertainment industry and academia, both with specific needs for a remote access solution for graphics-intense applications, specifically to macOS. Through the Spring of COVID, Leostream worked diligently to build a solution for these industries and use cases.
  • We did demonstrations, conducted webinars, and participated in design calls to get our message to you.

That message has been one of working with you to add the features you need to solve your problems. Thankfully, the design decisions Leostream made prior to 2020 made that message possible.

Leostream has always been vendor neutral to the rest of the hosted desktop stack. We’ve always believed you should be able to use whatever hosting platform, operating system, and display protocol you may need, and we designed our solution from the start so it can adapt to changing times and technology. 2020 put that philosophy to the test and Leostream (in my admittedly biased opinion) scored high marks.

Looking back at 2020, our first release included Connection Broker 9.0.34.22. A look at our Release Notes shows how far we went over the year. Some highlights:

  • Expanded support for provisioning in Google Cloud Platform
  • New support for Verge.io solutions
  • Full support of NICE DCV, including connections through the Leostream Gateway
  • Support for NoMachine connections through the Leostream Gateway and for tracking NoMachine session state using the Leostream Agent
  • PIV/CAC card logins for PCoIP Zero clients
  • MFA enhancements, including enabling/disabling MFA for specific groups of users when using a RADIUS-based MFA provider
  • Collaboration enhancements to restrict which users can be invited to collaborate with each other and to send email notifications when an invitation is sent

These features and the others that you can read about in our Release Notes, while seemingly disparate, follow two themes. First, with few exceptions, they weren’t on our roadmap when the team met in January. More importantly, though, they addressed the specific requirements of organizations needing to provide secure remote access for a suddenly remote workforce.

Leostream is grateful we could assist our customers as they weathered 2020, and we thank you for the input you provided in driving our fluid 2020 development roadmap.

Leostream in 2021

As we enter 2021, Leostream is helping our customers continue their remote access journey, whether that be post-production firms who recognize the power of collaboration that a remote work solution provides, or universities who can attract a new student population by offering classes for students who are unable to travel to campus. Early in Q1, you’ll see the next Leostream release, which includes (spoiler alert!):

  • MFA using push notifications for RADIUS-based identity providers
  • New and improved workflows for SAML-based authentication to Leostream
  • Scheduled access to pools in policies for groups of users (perfect for mimicking classroom access)
  • Support for the Scyld Cloud Workstation HTML5 viewer
  • Support for the NoMachine HTML5 viewer (rounding out Leostream’s support for clientless access)

And that’s just our first release. Later in the year, we plan to build a dashboards and reporting tools that make it easier to visualize resource usage, and we’re going to get back to building the RESTful API and multitenancy tools that got put on hold in 2020.

You can find any number of studies and surveys that indicate remote work is here to stay. I’d like to point out that it’s been here all along; 2020 just shoved it into the mainstream. Having a remote work solution means you can instantly react to any sort of DR event. It means you can hire based on talent, not location. It opens up your colleges and universities for more students. It fosters collaboration for teams scattered around the globe.

These are all use cases Leostream has solved for years. We’ve been proud in 2020 to bring that solution to an even wider range of industries and organizations, to help them see the future of work. It’s not remote, it’s connected- from anywhere, to anything, for everyone.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2021.

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