4. Maintain global compliance
Compliance with laws, industry regulations and organizational policies is both a rising burden and a moving target. With little ability to control the distribution of sensitive data, IT has struggled with trans-border compliance issues. Applying comprehensive controls may be overly restrictive, while a minimum set of controls may not meet the organization's security needs.
The centralized, granular controls enabled by desktop virtualization allow IT to set the information security strategy they need from the outset, rather than addressing security issues reactively. A single set of policies can govern whether users can add applications, copy data, access peripherals and other actions, depending on their location and other factors. Centralization also reduces the burden of achieving compliance and data privacy since data is accessed without actually leaving the data center.
5. Empower contractors
Businesses are increasingly using contractors, temps, consultants and outsourcing partners. While this can increase flexibility and efficiency, it also presents the security challenge of providing the resources these contractors need quickly and easily -- and removing them once the engagement is over. The devices they use can also cause problems: allowing them to use their own equipment would reduce cost, but IT can't be certain that their devices will be able to run all the necessary applications.
Desktop virtualization solves both of these problems. Windows applications and desktops can be provisioned and de-provisioned instantly from a single, central point of administration, regardless of the contractor's location. Apps and desktops can also be delivered to any device, and access can be stopped instantly once no longer required.
6. Increase the value of existing security investments
Managing security for hundreds or thousands of endpoint devices is extremely challenging and resource-intensive, leading to inevitable delays and oversights. In fact, studies have shown that an overwhelming proportion of successful attacks took advantage of known vulnerabilities, for which a patch was already available.
By centralizing maintenance, desktop virtualization simplifies and accelerates endpoint security. Patches, antivirus updates and hotfixes can be installed on a single master image, then deployed almost instantly throughout the organization. Freed from the time and expense of endpoint-by-endpoint security updates, IT can focus on protecting data in the data center and responding quickly to new security requirements.
7. Safeguard information and operations during a disaster or other business disruption
A business disruption, whether natural or man-made, can make organizations vulnerable as ordinary practices change, people access applications and data in new ways, and perimeter or endpoint security measures may be compromised. If disaster strikes, organizations need to ensure not only that data and applications remain secure, but also that business operations can continue as normally as possible.
By its nature, desktop virtualization supports business continuity. The centralization of resources supports a dual-data center strategy in which people are automatically switched from one to the other in the event of a critical incident. They can continue working, and IT can focus on protecting Windows apps and data within the data center, and securing, provisioning and controlling access to these resources via XenDesktop and XenMobile, rather than having to manage local apps and data on myriad user devices. Endpoints that may no longer be secure--such as laptops left behind in an evacuation--hold no data in usable form, and IT can easily remove their access to corporate applications or wipe data remotely.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.