Feeds

Some Windows tools to manage the desktop estate

Operating framework

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Desktop Most businesses are pulling their IT team in two directions at the same time. We want instant access to information for improved productivity - and we want regulatory compliance. We want the economies of cloud, virtualisation and managed desktops - and we want business mobility.

We want to get online from the coffee shop, the hotel, the aeroplane and we don't want to wait to go through a virus scan to get access -- but we don't want to leak data or discover all the files we created on the road were lost with the laptop we left in the back of a cab.

Managing desktops in the office can be secure, streamlined and heavily automated, but can you still get a single view of IT assets you need to manage if most of your desktop estate isn't actually a desktop PC or even in the office?

Research firm IDC says that over 30 per cent of workers will be mobile this year, and analyst firm Forrester says mobile PC usage will climb to 43 per cent by the end of 2012. And that's not counting people bringing their own smartphones or laptops to work.

That's nearly half the users you support that won't benefit from classic virtual desktop infrastructure - and who will be complaining loudly if you're trying to keep them connecting over VPNs and making themselves more productive by copying the information you thought was safe behind the firewall.

On average one in ten of those laptops is going to get lost or broken every year. The ones that don't get lost are still more expensive to manage than desktops, and not just because of the cost of data breaches. Most companies - 68 per cent - told Forrester they struggle to manage PCs when they're not physically connected to the corporate network, mainly because of the complexity of connecting to the office network remotely.

This all means your desktop management strategy has to take mobility into account, and it has to give you a combination of flexibility and control that fits your business - and your users.

Virtualization is still a big part of managing the desktop, even when it's a notebook; application and user state virtualisation are even more useful on mobile systems because you can use them for fast remote provisioning if you have to replace a lost or damaged PC without making the user come back into the office.

Roaming profiles and folder redirection put user settings, preferences and files onto their notebook automatically when they log in to a new machine with their existing user account, and the client-side caching for user data and profiles in Windows 7 stops that from slowing things down because they don't have to get it over the network every time they log in.

Virtualised apps can stream onto the PC in the same way and with technologies like App-V, users don’t have to be online to use the app once it’s streamed - and you can manage them and push updates from the same System Center tools where you manage desktops and servers.

Offline files give users access to key documents from file shares and document libraries when they’re not connected by VPN and, if you have an IPv6 infrastructure and Windows Server 2008 R2, you can do away with hard to manage, painful to use VPNs by setting up DirectAccess.

That makes sense, together with the shift away from assuming a firewall is enough to secure company data and towards information-centric security; you can use roles, rights management, data leakage prevention tools and encryption to control which files and applications can only be used on the internal network and which can be copied onto mobile computers as long as they’re secured there.

You can also keep inappropriate file types like music and video from being synced back to the servers from user machines; giving users the flexibility they need doesn’t mean giving up all your control. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.