Enterprises should prioritize HVD security requirements

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 23, 2013

virtual desktop

For enterprises deploying hosted virtual desktops (HVDs), security can be a double-edged sword. This means that while on one hand, HVDs can considerably improve the security level of the organizations, on the other it can result in newer vulnerabilities if not implemented properly. According to research firm Gartner, this has become a concern for both enterprises and solution providers, who need to identify the potential benefits and risks of this technology and implement it in a strategic manner.

HVD is a technology that enables client computing to shift from a device-centric to a user-centric workspace, application and data delivery technology while providing an endpoint-agnostic access solution where the user’s workspace can be accessed from many different locations using many different devices. “HVDs undoubtedly help improve the security standing of the client computing environment by centralizing sensitive information and applications in the data center. However, as an HVD architecture is complex, infrastructure and security stakeholders must consider multiple facets, such as device form factors, access methods and data security, to avoid potential issues,” said Nathan Hill, Research Director at Gartner.

He mentions that the most important concern for organizations includes how they capitalize 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. 

Although HVD architecture holds the promise of a more secure environment, it can only do so if carefully planned, deployed and configured, then managed consistently on an ongoing basis. Security although a strength of the HVD architecture, but any solution under consideration must be compatible with the applications user’s need, must be sized appropriately for capacity and performance and, most importantly, must deliver a good end-user experience, says Gartner. 

The most important concern for organizations is how they can capitalize on the opportunity to use HVDs and ensure that the environment is secure.
-Nathan Hill, Research Director, Gartner.

Many traditional PC security considerations remain with the HVD architecture, including desktop OS antivirus protection, but the complex nature of the HVD architecture also introduces new areas where security must be considered. Security stakeholders must ensure that they address the security requirements of the access device and remote connectivity, in addition to the virtualization platform. 

Emerging HVD security solutions promise enterprises and users more efficient and secure platforms tailored for the architecture’s needs. According to Hill, in the past few years, there has been an improvement in platform architecture, with the evolution of software and hardware tailored to the workload, including HVD appliances, reference architectures, storage virtualization and personalization software. The same is true for security solutions that are evolving to meet the demands of the platform, and to offer increased security and/or performance. However, as risk is aggregated in the data center and network with HVD, strong security controls are required to protect the infrastructure. As a result it is important for companies to prioritize data and HVD security requirements.