Yes, millennials demand workplace flexibility. And as their numbers grow to 75% of the global workforce by 2025, the need to build more flexible and integrated workspaces increases. But baby boomers and Gen-X workers are also pressuring IT to support a wide variety of workstyles.

Cloud, virtualization, and device-agnostic systems give people the ability to work anywhere they want – and increasingly, that’s their expectation. But a willy-nilly anywhere, anytime, any device strategy won’t work – and will likely curb digital success.

Today’s technology decision makers (TDMs) must take a leadership role in defining the flexible work environment that best fits an organization’s strategic goals. The challenge for IT is walking a razor’s edge between employee freedom and enterprise security.

On the one hand, employees demand the freedom and flexibility to change how (and where) work gets done according to their preferences, regardless of device, network, or generation. Although eager to satisfy these demands, IT must also minimize the risk of security threats and unwieldy IT infrastructure.

Here are four ways IT leaders can help deliver a flexible and secure digital workspace:

  1. Boost employee app-titude

Once a cause for concern, bring your own device (BYOD) is now mainstream – granting employees the freedom to use their personal devices in the workplace. But as unsecured devices in the workplace multiply, so too do the number of potentially vulnerable end points.

“Workers are using so many devices these days that the number of end points has grown exponentially,” says Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing for Citrix. “That can be a huge problem. Consider how much effort it takes to lock down a single device. Now IT pros have to think of the dozens of other devices that an end user might want to use.”

Fortunately, virtualization mitigates security risks by delivering Windows, Linux, web, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to workers on any device, anywhere. Employees can easily and securely access their virtual apps and data from any computing platform or operating system; IT maintains control of apps and data through strict provisioning policies; and data is stored centrally in a cloud environment or data center, not on an employee’s device, for added protection.

  1. Deliver high-performance virtual desktops

The days of standard PCs and wired connections are past. Instead, employees expect untethered access to their data and applications on any device. The good news is virtualization lets today’s mobile workers interact with virtual applications the same way they would with a physical desktop. They still experience real-time responses from the apps they’re accessing, regardless of connection quality or location, as if working on a high-powered desktop. The only difference: virtual desktops centralize data systems in a cloud environment, eliminating redundant infrastructure. This reduces IT workloads, simplifying the configuration, monitoring, and management of digital workspaces.

However, sometimes it isn’t enough to provide employees with secure access to a remote Windows or Linux desktop. In this case, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution can deliver fully personalized virtual desktops for each worker – with all the security and simplicity of centralized desktops.

  1. Manage mobile mania

The majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The challenge for IT leaders is to support these mobile-wielding workers while still securing data and applications. But there’s no one way to control multiple devices in a digital workspace. Who may, or may not, have access to virtual applications can vary by title, use case, time, or place.

Enter mobile device management (MDM). MDM protects data by letting IT apply usage policies – at the device level. Whether it’s enabling device-wide encryption or automatically wiping a stolen device, MDM helps IT configure, secure, and support an organization’s growing mobile workforce.

  1. Get your data in sync

Every day, mobile workers collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners. But sharing files across unprotected platforms can expose an organization to legal liabilities and other compliance risks. Luckily, secure file sync and sharing can support on-the-go collaboration for enhanced productivity while still meeting strict corporate security requirements.

In digital business every organization shapes the future of work