Companies deploy desktop virtualization to improve mobile security

The factors driving the expected growth in desktop virtualization are secure access for mobile and user-owned devices, increased application and data security, business agility for a mobile workforce, and simplified risk management, according to a survey of 1,100 IT professionals conducted by Vanson Bourne for virtualization computing provider Citrix.

A full 86% of those surveyed said that desktop virtualization offers a strategic approach to improved information security.

Other desktop virtualization benefits identified by respondents included the immediate provisioning and de-provisioning of app and desktop access (60%), instant isolation of a compromised application (54%), and the ability to remotely wipe data from mobile and PC devices (32%).

At a device level, 74% of respondents envisaged using desktop virtualization to update an enterprise's network of PC and computing devices, and 66% cited the secure delivery of applications and data as a security capability that led to their decision to implement desktop virtualization. Compliance requirements are also a driver to adoption, with 61% citing access management and 53% citing activity monitoring, logging, and reporting as important capabilities delivered by desktop virtualization.

At the infrastructure level, 91% of respondents said that desktop virtualization is effective at supporting compliance requirements, and 89% said that it helps protect against the exposure of private data and data loss.

While desktop virtualization provides security benefits, as noted by Danny Bradbury in an Infosecurity column, it comes with unique security risks. In particular, the vulnerability of the hypervisor, which controls the applications and virtual operating systems, could enable hackers to gain control over the systems without detection.

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