Citrix says desktop virtualisation is the key to enterprise security
Virtual vendor practises what they preach
By Ellen Messmer | Network World US | Published: 12:36, 08 December 2011
One of the main reasons for deploying desktop virtualisation is the security advantages it can provide, such as keeping sensitive data off the endpoint, according to Citrix.
And Citrix is practicing what it preaches at its headquarters, where employees use the Citrix virtualisation product Citrix Receiver for smartphones and tablets.
"It's required to access some systems such as SAP," says Kurt Roemer, chief of security strategy at Citrix. "And we don't have to roll out an SAP client. It's up to date and the exact configuration. You're just interacting with the application."
While businesses all operate in different circumstances, there are general aspects of desktop virtualisation that hold appeal to IT departments that have fought unending battles to try and keep unwanted applications off user desktops, patch applications and cope with the stray malware eruptions.
"It gives IT back control," Roemer says. "It allows for risk-based access, and the decision on whether to allow the data to be taken offline." The company managers can set policies related to saving or printing data, for instance. Although for those needing data offline, desktop virtualisation doesn't preclude use of encryption, for example.
Applications made available through desktop virtualisation, Citrix offers Xen Desktop, which can run on top of VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V or the Citrix hypervisor, are consistent across the user base and patch updates to them are consistent, even while access to applications is more flexible.
"This is very beneficial for security," Roemer notes, adding that it allows for flexibility in deciding how to centrally establish management and security controls.
It's evident from the survey of 1,100 senior IT managers and decisionmakers worldwide that was published today that there's also widespread expectation that desktop virtualisation will be used in a complementary fashion with cloud-based services and various security controls.
The survey, "Desktop virtualization and security: a global market research report," found 91% of the respondents said they already have or will have desktop virtualization implemented by the end of 2013 in their organisations, of which all have at least 500 employees.
In addition, they said they plan to complement desktop virtualisation with cloud-based services and additional security measures such as data loss prevention, identity management, mobile device management, VPN, threat management and authentication.
According to the survey, which didn't identify which specific desktop virtualisation technologies were being used, 33% have already deployed desktop virtualisation to a significant level and a further 58% plan to do so before the end of 2013. The survey, sponsored by Citrix, was conducted by firm Vanson Bourne.