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Productivity & Collaboration

How TELUS International got employees back to work with virtual desktops

April 23, 2020
Adrian Graham

Senior Cloud Solutions Architect

Anil Jain

Managing Director, Strategic Consumer Industries, Google Cloud

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian recently shared the many ways we’re helping people work remotely and remain productive, while ensuring the health and safety of employees around the world during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Along with internet connectivity, access to remote desktops is essential for many workloads. But not all applications are web-based, and not everyone has access to a local workstation to do their job effectively. 

One solution to this problem is to use virtual desktops, which can help organizations in a variety of industries securely connect their employees to the resources they need from any device with an internet connection, including mobile phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. From call center and support agents connecting with customers, to remote workstations for media editing and animation, to scientists collaborating on research, there are many scenarios that can benefit from virtual desktops. 

Helping our customers empower a work from home workforce

One Google Cloud customer using virtual desktops is TELUS International, a leading global customer experience provider and subsidiary of Canadian telecommunications company, TELUS. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the company had to quickly transition tens of thousands of its employees to a work-from-home model to protect their health and ensure business continuity due to partial and full site closures. TELUS International team members, who provide points of contact for leading brands all over the world, typically log into a Windows desktop to access company software to connect with customers over both voice and chat. Without access to TELUS International’s corporate software and the secure corporate network, its frontline team members would not be able to do their jobs.

The solution came in the form of spinning up a remote desktop environment on Google Cloud. Working with Google Cloud Premier Partner itopia, which specializes in rapidly provisioning and orchestrating virtualized Windows desktops and applications hosted on Google Cloud, TELUS International deployed a fully-configured virtual desktop environment in just 24 hours. This included secure connections to TELUS International’s on-premises databases, software, security systems, and Active Directory services.

"This unprecedented time brought the need to implement a rapid and reliable solution that could first and foremost ensure our team members remained safe and healthy, but would also simultaneously enable them to remain connected and provide much needed customer service support to our clients," said Jim Radzicki, CTO, TELUS International. "Working with Google Cloud and itopia allowed us to transition our workforce—securely, globally and resiliently—all while keeping our team members engaged in what will certainly become part of the ‘new norm.’"

Tens of thousands of TELUS International workers continue to have access to the same desktop environments as if they were in the office, so they can provide the same high quality service their customers are accustomed to.

Running virtual desktops on Google Cloud 

Running virtual desktops on Google Cloud is a secure, scalable, cost-effective way for remote workers to access corporate desktop resources that won’t overload a VPN and doesn't require enterprise connectivity. Running virtual desktops on Google Cloud lets users securely connect to cloud desktops or back to on-prem resources from anywhere with an internet connection, while protecting corporate applications and data. You can access remote desktops with user authentication and authorization through G Suite, IAP, your own Microsoft Active Directory or our managed AD service. Finally, adding encrypted desktop streaming software delivers a full desktop or application to your employees—wherever they may be.

TELUS International’s use case is one example of how to deliver virtual desktops on Google Cloud, but the specific solution will vary depending on industry and business needs. Google Cloud has several offerings that can help build a high-performance virtual desktop environment:

  • Virtual desktop partnerships: We work with leading software vendors such as Citrix, itopia, Nutanix Frame and VMware Horizon to provide virtual desktop solutions running on Google Cloud. We also partner with leading graphics visualization companies such as NVIDIA and Teradici.
  • Compute Engine: Google Cloud virtual machines (VMs) are available in a wide variety of preconfigured sizes, or can be customized with the amount of CPU and RAM that you need.
  • Google Kubernetes Engine: Run containerized VDI workloads using flexible GKE clusters to quickly deploy application and desktop streaming.
  • GPUs: Attach one or more NVIDIA GPUs to VMs to deploy powerful graphics workstations or to support accelerated workloads such as real-time rendering or simulation.
  • Storage: Attach shared storage to VMs or containers to share assets between users and systems. We offer a number of storage solutions, from globally available object storage to virtual file systems capable of serving entire enterprises, and everything in between.
  • Network: Google's global network connects to more than 140 local points of presence around the world for last-mile delivery close to your employees' homes. This also means your entire global organization can run within a single VPC, connected across Google's network backbone.

Get started today

Google Cloud has the capacity, the global infrastructure, and the partners to get a virtual desktop environment ready and running, fast. Contact us to learn more about virtual desktops on Google Cloud.

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