Desktop Virtualization – The Next Generation Security Transformation

12th of May, 2017 was the day when reports of the notorious and highly infectious ransomware WannaCry started to make headlines. Hailed as one of the largest computer attacks, WannaCry infected 200,000 + computers across 150 countries and simply rendered them useless. One can imagine the kind of havoc, distress, and helplessness it caused to thousands and thousands of users all around the world.

Computers (desktops and laptops) are the most favored/preferred devices in working environments and even at home. Unfortunately, desktops and laptops are also the most potential targets for hackers often. Under such, insecure and unforgiving conditions which can result in huge losses and grieving damages to corporates there needs to be a plausible and executable solution.

Hence the question –

‘’Why not transfer everything that is very critical and important from the device onto a platform, data center or a virtual space which is a much safer environment?’’

Transfer of critical information makes absolute sense and this is where Desktop Virtualization comes into play. In fact many experts believe Desktop Virtualization is the solution going forward.

Desktop Virtualization - The Next Generation Security Transformation

What factors are prompting a push for Desktop Virtualization?

Agility and Security: Virtualization has become the solution to resort to under prevailing circumstances and changing business dynamics. More and more organizations are looking forward to embracing virtualization in the hope of cutting down on unnecessary workloads and beefing up security. Virtualization also helps organizations go agile and have more fluidity in the work process.

Mobile and BYOD: Mobile has slowly moved into both our personal and professional lives and it is only set to permeate more. Organizations, under changing environments are requiring employees to work from home or when on move. They have also begun allowing employees to bring their own devices in the name of productivity and savings on costs, which makes perfect sense. Under such circumstances, it is essential to have tighter security norms to ensure device safety. Virtualization facilitates data and applications safety while helping employees go mobile or go BYOD bringing dual benefit at one go.

After all, Endpoint security is essential and more so in the current IT landscape where devices are threat prone and highly vulnerable. Hackers are getting smarter; all they need to do is hack one BYOD and gain access to everything in the network – the damage is done!

    Mobile workers will account for about 72% of the total U.S. workforce by 2020, which stands at 105.4 million workers. This will contribute to a steady increase to the out-of-office working.

Let’s understand how Desktop Virtualization (DV) facilitates the next generation security transformation –

Remote access plus security: Increasing number of mobile working professionals calls for more flexible and secure working methods. Desktop virtualization fulfils the dual requirement of a Virtual work platform that is secure. Organizations will need to provide remote access to employees with higher levels of security to ensure remote access is plausible and not hackable.

Ensure Business Continuity: Accessing critical data and using applications remotely are essential for employee productivity and business continuity. An organization will be in a position to provide such access and yet not compromise on its security, all thanks to desktop virtualization. Data is both managed and secured centrally to ensure mission-critical operations have the continuity and business goes on as usual without any hindrance.

Take for example the case of a Hospital or a Healthcare unit –

Critical information on patients is stored in desktops and other devices making it vulnerable to security threats. Desktop Virtualization plays a key role wherein it helps doctors, staff, and other personnel to access critical information and while at the same time secures the information. The entire Protected Health Information (PHI) is stored in a data centre and secured due to desktop virtualization.

This helps healthcare centres in two ways –one, data remains secured and two, by virtue of that it also helps healthcare centre comply with government regulation as far as Healthcare data is concerned.

Segmenting Network environment: Desktop virtualization helps create sub-sets of virtual environments which enterprises can use for different purposes while having a tab on security. Again in the case of a Healthcare centre – Clinical data which needs more protection can be segmented from non-clinical data by virtue of which access is restricted and hackers will find it difficult to breach. Most hackers use medical devices to attack the system and hence device can be completely segmented away from clinical data and information to ensure greater levels of security.

Restricted Access and high level Encryption: Desktop virtualization allows for a restricted access letting only those who have the permit to access data and information. There is a high level of encryption deployed at each level of data storage making it difficult for hackers to breach.

Conclusion

For years, Desktop Virtualization Solutions has been preferred for cutting on costs and reducing work burdens. But now there has been a shift and Virtualization is viewed differently—it is a solution that brings efficiencies in operational process and greater security process for all the critical data and information.

While virtualization ushers in next generation security transformation it will also change the landscape of workplace dynamics and bring in greater agility to organizations. It will enable employees using personal devices to use enterprise level applications, and thus pave way for scalability and digital transformation.

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