IAM Security for Virtual Desktops
Melissa Stevens 270005B76W MELISSAS@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  ibmsecurity desktop-virtualization virtualization identity-access-managemen... iam security
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This post is courtesy of Ronnie Shelley, IAM Segment Manager for IBM Security.
Like many of today’s IT trends, the move to desktop virtualization is often driven by economics and the need to wring more efficiencies out of overstretched IT resources. Managing desktop and mobile systems can be a time-consuming and expensive challenge for IT employees who also have to deal with system maintenance, upgrading applications and supporting new business initiatives.
Virtualization allows organizations to maintain and manage users’ desktops centrally, which helps reduce desktop management costs and administration time. For example, IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business can help reduce the time and expenses associated with building, managing, patching, upgrading and supporting employee desktops. This model can be especially attractive to midsize organizations that lack the IT resources and time required to manage a traditional PC environment.
With virtual desktops, user programs, applications, processes and data reside on a remote central server that can be seamlessly accessed from anywhere, on any device – perfect for today’s mobile workforce. Virtual desktops allow employees to use the computing device of their choice, even smartphones and tablets, to access their business environment. With easy access to a virtualized desktop, people can become much more productive.
Another selling point of virtualization is better security and control over corporate assets. Because data is stored centrally, instead of on user devices, virtual desktops help companies safeguard data and meet mandatory compliance requirements. In the event of local device failure, loss or theft, data can be quickly recovered—because it’s not on the device itself.
That said, protecting access to virtual desktops is still a critical requirement. As in standard IT environments, you must manage the identities and privileges of users accessing the applications inside the virtual desktop. You also need to address the regulatory compliance challenges of tracking application and data access inside the virtual desktop.
IBM’s Security Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-On is one access management solution to consider. It integrates with VMware View™ to provide single sign-on and strong authentication to the virtual desktop, increasing security. This security solution leverages technology from both IBM and VMware to strengthen access to virtual desktops. Regulatory and compliance requirements, especially related to monitoring application access and usage inside the virtual desktops, can also be satisfied. The solution collects audit information that can be used to generate detailed reports for compliance and charge-back accounting purposes.
To fully benefit from desktop virtualization, organizations must build a desktop infrastructure that is secure, simple to manage, and enhances the productivity of both IT and desktop staff and end users. There are many factors to consider, but IAM security should definitely be a part of your overall virtual desktop strategy.