Desktop virtualization can be a uniquely effective strategy for securing business data, particularly as employees access company resources from a wider range of locations and devices. However, it remains to be seen whether these benefits will be enough to overcome the hurdles of cost and complexity and inspire a wave of new deployments.
By virtualizing an employee’s desktop interface on a remote server, users can access all necessary programs, applications and data from PC and mobile platforms – in or out of the office. According to ServerWatch, this approach often leads to increased workforce productivity while allowing network administrators to bolster data security through a convenient, centralized management model. Virtual desktop infrastructure can also serve as a reliable mobile device management platform and facilitate fast, cost-effective scalability.
As companies continue to search for the best way to embrace workforce mobility without ceding security and control, Citrix Systems expects many to turn to desktop virtualization in the coming years.
According to a recent survey of 1,100 global IT professionals conducted by the virtual computing solutions vendor, 55 percent of organizations plan to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure by 2013. Business agility and immediate provisioning capabilities were cited as expected advantages of desktop virtualization, but security was the main driver of adoption rates.
Regardless of whether they planned to implement the strategy in their own operations, 86 percent of all respondents in the Citrix study indicated that desktop virtualization represented a “strategic approach to improved information security.” Increased application and data security, instant isolation of compromised resources and remote data wipe capabilities were also viewed as compelling advantages.
“Desktop virtualization delivers centralized control and management of desktops, applications and data delivered to any endpoint device,” noted Citrix chief security strategist Kurt Roemer. “It also offers granular, policy-based access control and supports compliance requirements. It embeds an important infrastructure level of information governance that enhances risk management across information security and compliance.”
Despite Citrix’s optimism, there is evidence to suggest companies may remain hesitant to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure.
“Their uneasiness, according to virtualization experts, stems from higher than expected infrastructure costs, technical complexity and a return of investment that’s typically slower to materialize compared to server virtualization,” noted CRN contributing author Kevin McLaughlin.
A lack of full-deployment case studies and growing popularity of HTML5 as a mobile application delivery mechanism has also slowed adoption rates, according to McLaughlin.
Virtualization Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro