In survey after survey, companies that are considering moving their IT to the cloud state that security is their number one priority. Yet, the term “security” can be as nebulous as the word “cloud”. Further, security means different things to different people within the organization, and companies often take an ad hoc or siloed approach to the matter when creating security strategies in-house. This means that network security is handled by network administrators, endpoint security is handled by system administrators, disaster recovery and fail over is handled by infrastructure engineers, and so on. This approach can get extremely complex and messy fast, and ultimately lead to a patchwork of policies and procedures that leave companies vulnerable to security threats.
What companies need from cloud service providers is a comprehensive set of services that cover all aspects of security, and cloud desktop services are a prime example of how companies can ensure that their entire IT environment is highly secure. It begins by centralizing all infrastructure, applications and data in highly secure and redundant data centers – not on the devices that are likely to be lost or stolen (Gartner reports that laptops are lost or stolen every 53 seconds).
Security Considerations When Choosing a Cloud Desktop Service Provider
A comprehensive cloud desktop offering should offer multiple security features, including:
- Multi-factor authentication to make sure that only the intended users gain secure access to critical applications and data
- Disaster recovery, backup and failover through highly redundant data centers and related automation and monitoring platforms
- Network security through secure IPSec or SSL connections and dedicated VPNs
- Data security through encryption for data at-rest or in-flight
- Infrastructure security through systems management technologies and physical security procedures
- Mobile device and application management (MDM/MAM) capabilities to manage a mobile workforce and BYOD programs, and remotely wipe data and apps from lost or stolen devices
- Identity and access management (IAM) to set granular policies about who can access what from various places on the network
- Malware protection through anti-virus and intrusion prevention and detection systems (IPS/IDS)
- Virtualization and containerization technologies to isolate data, applications and desktops
- Auditing and reporting to gain insight into what users are actually accessing, what resources are being utilized and where breaches have occurred
All of these features are necessary in today’s cloudy, mobile world. As users are working from multiple devices and from various places on the network, security has become increasingly complex and expensive to implement. By offloading cloud desktop administration and management to a service provider that specializes in security, organizations can focus on improving their core business offerings, enable a mobile workforce and increase end-user productivity at the same time – all at a fraction of the cost than by taking the task on in-house.