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Six ways to use virtualization in your small business

Paul Mah | Aug. 5, 2013
Virtualization. The word evokes complex, pricey technologies beyond the grasp of all but the biggest enterprises. But virtualization offers many benefits for small businesses, including cost savings and IT efficiency. And options such as Oracle's VirtualBox and VMware Workstation have put the technology within reach of small business budgets.

Rather having employees connect directly to their desktops, set up a VM to serve as the RDP host, making sure to configure only the services that they need. Keeping work machines segregated this way adds an extra layer of security.

Enhance security
The prevalence of cyber attacks targeting Web browsers puts your business data at increased risk. An easy, inexpensive way to combat it is to limit Web browsing activities to a virtual environment that has no access to sensitive files. Should a hacker break through the Web browser, a quick restart will conveniently erase any malware or modified system files (assuming the VM was started in read-only mode).

Distribute apps without having to install them
Apps can also be packaged and distributed within a VM image. This is a great method for transporting your favorite apps on a flash drive between home and work, and is also a way to ensure that your software demo will not fail due to missing drivers and code libraries. Finally, this tactic can also be used to run multiple instances of an application such as Yahoo Messenger and Skype, with different instances mapped to different accounts.


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