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AiThority Interview with Paul Vallée, CEO at Tehama

Hi Paul, please tell us about Tehama. What was your inspiration for founding Tehama?

At Tehama, our mission is to provide our customers with the fastest, easiest and most secure way to deploy their virtual and hybrid workforces. With our next-generation DaaS platform, enterprises can create cloud-based virtual offices, rooms, and desktops anywhere in the world.

As a serial entrepreneur, I have spent much of my career at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies that enable the exchange of work over the internet. In 1997, I founded Pythian, a data-centric services business with a focus on remote work. Under my leadership as Founder and CEO, the company developed groundbreaking tools for enabling remote teams to work and interact seamlessly and securely across multiple continents. Tehama was born at Pythian, launched to the public in 2018 and, due to rapid adoption of the platform, spun out to become fully independent in 2019.

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Could you tell us how the Desktop as a Service industry evolved in the last 2-3 years? What impact did the pandemic have on the business?

Previous to the response to COVID-19, remote work was already on a growth trajectory, meaning the adoption of technologies to facilitate remote and hybrid work scenarios was moving  at a fast pace within businesses of all sizes.

At the beginning of the pandemic, enterprises that defaulted to leveraging corporate-owned laptops and antiquated Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) struggled to manage, deploy and secure their newly remote workforce. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is capable of completely virtualizing the management of physical endpoint assets (i.e. laptops, desktop computers and mobile devices).  With DaaS, data and applications live securely in the cloud, and the company’s network is only displayed locally on the worker’s endpoint device.

It is undeniably a good time to be a remote work entrepreneur. The ideas and vision that we’ve been promoting for two decades are suddenly mainstream and being adopted by everyone, everywhere. We’ve seen our business more than double, with new customers coming from all quarters and existing customers massively increasing their rate of adoption.

How did Tehama utilize the remote workplace scenario to assist the IT services industry?

Not too long ago, in the pre-pandemic era, most remote work was in the IT services industry. Naturally, Tehama focused there, since IT services are traditionally more likely to be outsourced, global and remote work-based. Fast forward to the present, and the pandemic has dramatically accelerated and distributed our vision to every sector of the economy. Today, every organization has an interest in enabling and securing a remote workforce. Not surprisingly, much of 2020 was focused on the emergency response to the pandemic. In 2021, that has shifted and the primary mission for many organizations will be to create a digital workplace of the future where people can access critical business data and applications from wherever they are at home, in the office or elsewhere. Tehama is committed to helping our customers accelerate digital workplace transformation by permitting them to adopt a cloud-based endpoint strategy, and stop replacing legacy laptops with new legacy laptops that still suffer from challenges in provisioning, logistics, management and de-provisioning. These legacy laptops especially pose the impossibility of securing a data estate that reaches right into people’s bedrooms and the trunks of their cars.

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Tell us more about your partnership with ControlUp and how you help organization’s address perennial IT issues?

A key add-on service to Tehama’s Enterprise Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution is our Desktop Intelligence and Automation (DIA) capability developed and delivered in collaboration with ControlUp. Today’s IT administrators are responsible for managing more endpoints than ever before, and to support these devices at scale, enterprises need a holistic view into the health and performance of their device fleet be it in-cloud or physical.

Tehama DIA allows administrators to centrally manage both their physical and virtual devices, automate tasks, troubleshoot issues remotely and in real-time and automate critical updates. This instant delivery of deep analytics is critical for organizations that want to successfully enable their remote and hybrid workforces. For us, we gain the benefit of supporting our customers’ journey into the cloud thanks to ControlUp’s seamless ability to instrument workloads and identify suitable machines for migration.

Tell us more about the way CIOs could leverage a Desktop as a Service platform to improve performance of remote collaboration tools?

CIOs disliked owning laptops before the pandemic, and with today’s disrupted IT supply chains, increased cybersecurity risks and the cost of shipping laptops all over the globe, they dislike it even more. They also know that having out-of-date laptops, and other hardware, can place undue strain on their organization and result in loss of productivity.

Further, aging endpoint devices don’t always guard against the latest viruses and malware, and require more IT support. This is why a significant part of the CIO’s, and IT organization’s time, is spent facilitating laptop refresh cycles, which typically take place every 3-4 years. Tehama’s technology is in place today to solve this pain point. It’s time for CIOs to get off the laptop refresh merry-go-round and move to a DaaS solution. Not only can they reduce the cost burden of regular equipment refreshes, they can also extend the life of their organization’s existing hardware.

For organizations to truly facilitate a world-class virtual workforce, digital work environments that are secure, compliant, collaborative and allow easy and fast onboarding from anywhere in the world are the only way to go.

Hear it from the pro: What are the biggest trends in IT hardware that every business professional should watch out for in 2021-2022?

This may be hard to believe, but in 2022, I  predict that enterprises will buy their last laptop. If you’re still buying laptops in 2022, they will be ultra lightweight machines, acting simply as a portal and brokering access to your real enterprise desktops which will be in the cloud. Your CFO and CISO already dislike owning laptops, due to the cost to source, manage and deploy, and because of the resulting data governance problems. Today, IT organizations carry an enormous number of battle scars earned while trying to remotely manage fleets of laptops over the last year. After 2021, every dollar spent from here on out on owning a physical laptop deserves a very careful review and is probably not a good way to spend your money.

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Tell us more about the hiring challenges when it comes to technology companies? What advice do you have for the industry leaders?

The competition for top talent is nothing new, but the lessons of the pandemic have made that competition even more intense. Potential hires will continue to opt for affordable homes farther from urban centers, and they will be looking for organizations with unique approaches to enabling hybrid work, from implementing “workcation” entitlements, facilitating asynchronous work, and offering synchronous experiences when it really matters.

In 2021 and 2022, the hiring challenge will only be half the battle. Workers are more mobile and  have more opportunities than ever before. As such, it is extremely important that your organization makes retaining top talent the first priority, or employees will continue to jump around looking for that organization that checks off ALL their boxes.

My advice for today’s IT leaders who want create a workplace that retains top talent, can be  best summed up in my recent blog post on 10 practices of effective hybrid workforce leadership, but I will share a few highlights here:

  • Don’t allow the physical workplace to regain it’s status as the primary workplace. The efforts and investments made since 2020 in creating a digital workplace can not be wasted. Instead, have the digital workplace be your primary workplace, and let your office be simply one more physical location your employees can reside while attending their digital workplace.
  • When people do begin to return to the office, don’t fall into the bad habit of managing by attendance. New hires want to be managed by objectives and feel like their creative output is valued above all.
  • Winning organizations will value trust, transparency and over communication.
  • Ignore the org chart. Omni-directional and peer-to-peer feedback must be normalized, and encouraged via the shortest route possible.
  • Asynchronous work environments will give people the time and space to choose when they work best, while giving them the freedom to get some exercise or pick up kids from school. This environment must be the default, but choose synchronous work when you need to maximize the social impact of your leadership.

Thank you, Paul! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Paul Vallée is the founder and CEO of Tehama and a serial entrepreneur who has spent his career at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies that enable the exchange of work over the internet.

When founding Pythian in 1997, Paul envisioned a future that allows anyone to work from anywhere. Perceiving an opportunity for the Internet and related technologies to unlock human potential, he set out to apply and invent technology that could securely connect global workforces to enterprise IT systems.

Paul was a pioneer in remote connectivity technology and lays claim to the first application of IPSEC VPN technology to enable enterprises to consume services over the internet. Paul founded Pythian as a data-centric services business with a focus on remote work, and under his leadership, the company developed groundbreaking tools that enable teams to work and interact seamlessly and securely even when dispersed across multiple continents. It is at Pythian that Tehama was born, then launched to the public in 2018, and now spun out to develop its opportunity to help global enterprises seeking to secure their services supply chain.

With Tehama now independent, Paul has redoubled his commitment to the future of work. Tehama’s Virtual Office as a Service technology makes it easy for enterprises to manage, onboard and audit third-party vendors, remote teams, and freelancers by providing compliant, secure, cloud-based virtual desktops available on-demand globally.

Paul is a sought-after speaker who was named 2016’s Diversity Champion by Canada’s Women in Communications and Technology, is active in the Council of Canadian Innovators, the CIO Strategy Council, and serves on the board of the Basic Income Canada Network.

Tehama’s Enterprise Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is the fastest, easiest, most secure way to deploy a virtual workforce. With our next-generation DaaS platform, enterprises can create cloud-based virtual offices, rooms, and desktops anywhere in the world. No other solution on the market today connects remote workers with mission-critical and data-sensitive systems, with the speed, agility, unparalleled security, and comprehensive audit trail via built-in SOC 2 controls, real-time activity feeds and session recordings that Tehama offers. For more information, visit

TEHAMA and the Tehama logo are trade-marks of Tehama Inc. or its affiliates. All references herein to the corporate names, trade names, trademarks, and service marks of third parties are intended to accurately identify such parties as the sources of specific products and services. No claim of association or license is intended or should be inferred by such use.

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