VMware And Symantec Pledge Secure DaaS Offering

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Symantec and VMware promise a desktop-as-a-service offering with security and management capabilities

Virtual desktops with security built-in are coming soon to enterprises and IT service providers, according to Symantec and VMware.

Symantec and VMware expanded their strategic partnership to offer desktop-as-a-service applications with integrated security and management, Symantec said. The combined offering will combine Symantec Endpoint Protection and the Altiris Client Management Suite with VMware’s virtual desktop and cloud products including VMware View, vShield, vCloud Director 1.5 and vSphere 5, Symantec said.

Inbuilt Security And Management

Administrators will use Symantec Endpoint Protection and VMware vShield to protect desktops from internal and external threats, regardless of whether they come via email, Web or storage devices, the company said. The day-to-day demands of managing the environment and the applications installed on the systems will be handled by the management suite.

“Our partnership with VMware demonstrates the commitment by both organisations to jointly innovate with the goal of delivering a differentiated, secure and easy to manage hosted virtual desktop experience,” said Chirantan “CJ” Desai, senior vice president of the Endpoint and Mobility Group at Symantec.

Companies are beginning to consider virtual desktop environments to serve mobile employees and to allow employees to access corporate applications on devices other than the PC.

Symantec and VMware’s desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) initiative will allow organisations to deploy virtual desktops that are highly resilient, cost-effective, and secure, Symantec said.

The DaaS announcement was made at the VMworld 2011 conference, taking place from August 29 to September 1 in Las Vegas. Also at the conference, VMware announced it had added Symantec to its vShield product-development program. As part of the partner ecosystem, Symantec will develop data protection for VMworld’s vSphere 5 using the vShield API.

Security Opportunities In Virtualisation

Virtualisation is a key area of interest for Symantec as organisations start considering ways to take advantage of the cost benefits of the cloud, Ashish Mohindroo, senior director, enterprise security product marketing at Symantec, told eWEEK. The transition away from physical machines to virtual ones provides Symantec with the opportunity to help organisations secure the new systems from external threats, he said.

Organisations are interested in virtualising more of their infrastructure and consolidating shared server and storage resources, John Magee, vice-president of product marketing for the cloud and virtualisation group at Symantec, told eWEEK. They have most likely already migrated test environments, file and print servers, and individual line of business applications, Magee said.

However, to get the most out of virtualisation, organisations have to migrate business-critical applications, such as e-commerce systems, email, content management, and database-intensive applications such as Enterprise Resource Management, Magee said. But many organisations are deterred from doing so because of security and compliance concerns, Magee said. Disaster recovery also becomes a bigger concern.

That is not to say organisations were not thinking about security, compliance or disaster recovery for earlier deployments, Magee said. They may have relied on security protections already in place within the enterprise, such as configuring the perimeter to recognise the new virtual machines and protecting the physical host, he said. The business-critical applications generally require VM-specific security, especially if there are compliance or regulatory requirements to fulfil, according to Magee.

“The more important the app, the more important these other concerns become,” Magee said.

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