Can also increase security of end-user computing
Hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) can boost security of end-user computing as well as assist organisations in meeting compliance standards, Gartner analysts said.
Gartner vice president Neil MacDonald said having the organisation’s data spread across hundreds or thousands of devices, many of which leave the physical security of office locations, presents a significant risk of data loss.
"HVDs can help improve the security standing of the client computing environment by centralising sensitive information and applications in the data centre, giving IT system and security stakeholders the opportunity not only to improve support efficiency, but also security," MacDonald said.
HVD allows transforming client computing from a device-centric to a user-centric workspace, application and data delivery technology as well as offers an endpoint-agnostic access solution that allows users to access their user’s workspace from many different locations via many different devices.
Gartner research director Nathan Hill said an HVD architecture is complex, and infrastructure and security stakeholders must consider multiple facets, such as device form factors, access methods and data security, to avoid potential issues.
"Chief among the concerns of organisations is how they capitalise on the opportunity to use HVDs and ensure that the environment is secure, and which areas of the architecture represent a change in risk profile from traditional client computing architectures," Hill said.
HVD architecture considers several conventional PC security concerns such as desktop OS antivirus protection, while the security stakeholders are advised to ensure that they deal with the security needs of the access device and remote connectivity, as well as the virtualisation platform.
According to the research firm, there has been an improvement in HVD platform architecture over the past four to five years, due to the evolution of software and hardware modified to the workload, such as HVD appliances, reference architectures, storage virtualisation and personalisation software.
In addition, the improvement in security application are evolving to meet the requirements of the platform, as well as to offer increased security and/or performance, the analysts added.
"Centralising workloads gives organisations the potential to improve security, but because risk is aggregated in the data centre and network with HVD, strong security controls are required to protect the infrastructure," MacDonald said.
"As a result it’s important to address data and HVD security requirements, and leverage the security capabilities of the Citrix and VMware product sets, when required."