Standards in Desktops Can Pay Big Dividends

By Steve Anderson March 12, 2012

While we all use it every day, the standard computer desktop, as it turns out, is mostly anything but. With thousands of different programs and apps out there, getting everybody onto one basic desktop program was seen as a fool's errand in the past. But many companies are coming around to the idea of a standard desktop, as a way to save money and improve security.

It's not hard to look at your desktop as a source of individual expression—from the background image you use all the way to the programs you keep available for quick access—and as such, be something that you wouldn't want to see changed. And of course, some systems didn't need certain programs that others did, so leaving some desktops out of some loops was a way to save money and do more with less, a common refrain in economically-chaotic times. But more and more companies are beginning to look to the desktop as a way to improve their overall picture with a few simple alterations.

Leading the drive to standardize the computer desktop, which is rapidly becoming a best practice, is security. With fewer “rogue applications” in the system, there is less likelihood of giving hackers a toehold of vulnerability, and thus allowing for the possibility of unauthorized access. This is followed up by the virtualization movement, which allows companies to create what's called a “gold standard” desktop, one that gets put in the hands of all users on the network. And, with a “gold standard” desktop in play, this allows for lower overall costs as the rollout of new items to the desktops becomes simpler, requires less time to implement, and from there, naturally, costs less.

Once a standard desktop is established, of course, IT departments can make adjustments based on the size and type of the industry involved. In some cases, specialized applications and programs are required to do a job—a human resources department desktop, for example, might never need the prospecting or lead management software a sales department's desktop would require—and a highly mobile laptop's desktop may be completely different from that of a stationary desktop's version.

Some might balk at this degree of standardization, of course, with individual users wanting their own special touches and programs adorning their desktops. And with many offices having policies against decoration in cubicles or offices, some may see their desktop as their last hope for any kind of personal expression. But working with employees, and showing the benefits of such a system—and perhaps relaxing other rules that aren't related to the computer—could go a long way in keeping morale high.

Still though, many companies are discovering the benefits of a standardized desktop, so it's certainly something to keep in mind.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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