New ways of working call for new ways of managing risk. Mobility, flexwork, bring-your-own device (BYOD) and increased collaboration across organizations have changed risk profiles and undermined existing IT architectures. The challenge is to allow people the flexibility they need to be productive, while ensuring the security and compliance required by enterprises. What's needed is a new security layer -- one that makes it possible to manage risk more effectively.
Desktop virtualization provides exactly that, allowing organizations to embrace initiatives like flexwork and BYOD, and deploy personnel and resources wherever and whenever they're needed. Here, I take a look at the business case for harnessing desktop virtualization to strengthen security. I believe there are at least ten highly compelling reasons to do so.
The top 10 reasons to strengthen information security with desktop virtualization
1. Support workplace flexibility and mobility
Increasingly, workers work outside the office, from customer sites, at home or on the road. Their productivity depends on 'anytime, anywhere' access to corporate data and applications. To accommodate this, 'flexwork' (shorthand for moving work to the most convenient times, locations, and IT resources) is a key strategy. As well as productivity benefits, this can also reduce real estate, travel and labor costs.
Desktop virtualization platforms like Citrix XenDesktop help organizations maintain security while providing staff with IT resources from more locations. Centralized application and data management mean that IT can provide secure access to anyone, anywhere, at a moment's notice. Desktop virtualization makes mobility simpler, less costly, faster to implement and secure -- enabling companies to realize the full value of flexwork.
2. Say 'yes' to consumerization
Consumerization has increased people's ability to work in the most convenient, productive manner possible. Theoretically, this spells a win-win for people and the organization -- but it greatly complicates the security picture for IT. Different devices may have different security layers, or none at all. IT needs a way to securely partition business and personal data on consumer mobile devices.
Desktop virtualization frees IT from managing security complexity across a huge range of devices. It helps prevent data from residing on endpoints by delivering Windows applications, data and desktops only in virtualized form, isolated from any personal data or applications on the device. Policies can keep unmanaged (and potentially compromised) devices from interacting with sensitive data.
3. Prevent data loss, ensure privacy and protect intellectual property
For optimal productivity and speed to market, partners, suppliers and contractors need to be able to access corporate applications and data, but without being given free rein within the firewall. IT needs to not only prevent data loss but also ensure client confidentiality and compliance.
By centralizing resources in the data center, desktop virtualization lets IT manage and secure Windows applications and associated data more simply and effectively in a single location, rather than thousands of different locations. Where offline or locally installed resources are needed, Citrix allows IT to encrypt data within a secure, isolated container on the endpoint which can be wiped remotely, ensuring security even if the device is lost.
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