Desktop virtualization has long been touted as a means of cutting the cost and effort associated with maintaining, supporting and updating desktop computers. But desktop virtualization brings additional benefits in light of today’s mobility trend: it supports an agile business environment for mobile workers by enabling secure access to applications and data from a wide range of devices.
With desktop virtualization, a server hosts an entire desktop environment specific to each user. Virtual machine images are built and stored on the server and delivered to any network-connected device on demand. These images can be personalized with the operating system, applications and other features required by each user.
Desktop virtualization brings the desktop environment into the data center for centralized management and control. IT is freed from the tasks of patching operating systems, installing and updating applications, and ensuring that data is protected on each and every endpoint.
More importantly, desktop virtualization brings greater security to the mobile environment. That’s because the applications that users access are running on a server inside the data center that meets the organization’s security policies. Because the desktop images are “sandboxed” on the server, the security posture of the device is unimportant.
Desktop virtualization also improves information governance by providing mobile users with fast and effective access to the data they need. It protects information by offering an alternative to storing sensitive data on a mobile device or utilizing insecure cloud-based storage options. It also supports compliance requirements through activity monitoring, logging and reporting capabilities.
Of course, desktop virtualization for mobility still provides relief from the desktop management burden — a burden that becomes even heavier with the growing use of user-owned devices. The ability to run secure, centrally managed virtual machines directly on end-user devices enables companies to adopt large-scale Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. For user-owned devices, the simplest solution is to deliver the corporate applications these users need as an on-demand service, while ensuring that any data created by those corporate apps is automatically protected. IT can instantly update the environment of every PC and mobile device on the network.
Desktop virtualization won’t solve every BYOD problem. However, it does provide a framework for mobility by consolidating and centralizing complete desktop environments and introducing an element of flexibility to the delivery of technology services. Workers are more productive because they can get their full desktop experience from any location, and IT personnel are more efficient because they can centrally manage a large number of desktop environments. Desktop virtualization makes it easier for IT to successfully support and manage the growing number of mobile devices.