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Can BYOD breathe new life into the virtual desktop?

Tom Kaneshige | July 11, 2013
Seattle Children's Hospital isn't your typical BYOD story. Its mobile device strategy isn't bound by onerous user policies and monitoring software. Rather, the hospital's CIO reports an interesting twist: BYOD is resuscitating ill-fated virtual desktop infrastructure technology.

Wright can't wipe BYOD computers, so instead he leans on user agreements and checks Accellion logs to make sure those files are being handled properly.

For some CIOs, that might not be good enough. If CIOs think desktop virtualization gets them out of the BYOD security challenge, Johnson says, they're sorely mistaken. Employees accessing, say, an EMR system from a personal iPad via a virtualization session, or even a terminal services session, doesn't absolve them from an auditor's requirements.

"The auditor will still expect the CIO to have some control over the iPad," Johnson says. "It might be as simple as enforcing a passcode or detecting whether or not the device is jailbroken and then denying access if it is."

Nevertheless, Wright says he fields weekly calls from peers who want to know if VDI can help them make sense of the BYOD trend that's stampeding toward them. After all, corralling personal devices using a mishmash of mobile device management software, user policies, geo-fencing and other emerging mobile tools is a Herculean task.

"I think it's a way for IT to get out of having to control personal devices, a way to give the user the information without having to worry about the device," Wright says, adding, "It's really turned into an elegant solution for BYOD."


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