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All about Virtualization and Cloud Security | Recent Articles:

Desktop-as-a-Service: New Opportunities for the Channel

Jun 03 by Robert Krauss

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), yet another “as-a-service” offering made possible by the cloud, continues to gain momentum in the market. As a VAR or managed services provider, you can tap into this opportunity, not only by providing DaaS offerings to your customers, but by ensuring that these platforms are as secure as possible. 

As with most buzzwords in the IT industry, DaaS can mean different things to different people. But basically this type of service involves providing remote desktop virtualization to devices via cloud computing, much like applications are delivered through software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. 

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The Costs of a Cost, and the Opportunities Lost – Why US Retailers Need to Give Their PoS a Shake

May 23 by Shaun Donaldson

Credit cards are very convenient; swipe, sign, pay later. That is going to change in the US (More Info) and it’s about time. The change does introduce a cost for retailers, but it is also an opportunity.

The Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices at many retailers are a tool that is part of what is generally a low-margin business. The only time PoS devices are refreshed en-masse is when there is an external pressure that initiates the change. The change to credit cards with a chip (whether chip-and-sign or chip-and-PIN) is now creating an external pressure (Read More).

It begs a question from both security and operations perspectives; can retailers do better than meeting only the new immediate demand?

Simplicity rules

When boiled-down, PoS systems have hardware peripherals (magnetic stripe readers, chip readers, signature screens, printers, and so on) attached to a computer. The computer runs software, often within a Windows embedded operating system, that facilitates transactions. They are, in essence, fancy digital cash registers.

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Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS): when traditional security just won’t cut it

May 22 by Kathryn Schwab

Destkop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is on the rise in terms of adoption and maturation. You just have to look at some of the media articles flying around to see that this movement is gathering steam. Cloud computing is eliminating the entire on-premise conundrums – cost, maintenance, etc. Choose a platform vendor, anyone… VMware, Citrix, Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, and you’ll find the expansion of elasticity is happening fast.  

In early May 2014, Amazon launched its Workspaces DaaS in Europe. Microsoft recently debuted its upcoming offering, RemoteApp At Citrix Synergy 2014, announcements about Workspace Services got a lot of people excited. The challenge is now keeping up with who is getting into the DaaS business. In the past few weeks alone the following companies announced their DaaS services: RapidScale, IndependenceIT, NComputing, Proxios, and the list goes on. 

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VDI, for sure, but which one is best for me?

May 13 by Horatiu Bandoiu

With this post dedicated to the series of newer IT infrastructure models and options available to CIO’s (previous posts available here) we have reached the milestone of Virtual Desktop Infrastructures. They are key component of the new computing paradigm and probably the most challenging option that faces IT management today.

Virtualization came as a consequence of the third wave of IT acquisitions: first we had the golden age of IT Expansion (a lot of new dedicated hardware, software, servers, platforms, business applications to be implemented for the modern enterprise), then we had the Constriction period due to the crisis (that has left many organizations without upgrades, software subscriptions and services), and now we have entered in the wave of Optimized Development where all that is acquired must add a considerable value to the business, otherwise it is discarded.

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Antimalware as a Competitive Differentiator – 3 Advantages for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Providers

Apr 30 by Shaun Donaldson

In this post, I’ll focus on Infrastructure providers (IaaS), though these points may be relevant to platform and software providers as well.

Infrastructure providers tend to be very good at providing security inside the infrastructure. However, not all providers go beyond infrastructure security. Instead, the model is to have a shared security where responsibility for security beyond the infrastructure is in the hands of end-customers.

In the simplest example, the provider sets-up a virtual instance running, say, Windows, but everything that runs within that instance, including operating system and applications, is the responsibility of the end-customer. On the IaaS side, this is completely reasonable theoretically, but it has potentially damaging results if the end-customer isn’t taking further steps to protect the OS or the apps.

Best interests and the role of security

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5 Important Things to Consider When Evaluating Security for a Virtualization Platform

Apr 29 by Kathryn Schwab

As a VAR or managed services provider, you’ve no doubt received queries from many of your customers about server and desktop virtualization, and how they can take advantage of these technologies to improve business operations.

Some of these companies might already be dabbling in virtualization. But regardless of where they’re at with server and desktop virtualization, they’re also likely to be concerned about information security in this new environment. They want to be sure that their data and applications are safe from malware and other threats.

Without effective security strategies and tools that were created for the virtualized environment, some of the gains made possible by these technologies might be negated. Here are 5 key factors that you need to consider when evaluating anti-malware solutions designed for virtualized environments:

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VDI, Security and Keeping your Sanity

Apr 23 by Horatiu Bandoiu

In a recent post about new technology paradigms for SME we have been trying to provide reasons for SMEs to consider the changing of their computing model from “IT to own” to “IT to use”. Questioning the model is useful always and may bring a great gain for the organization.However, the decision to change may pass over some bumpy roads.

Today we try to put you in front of a real life scenario.

Imagine that you are the IT Manager of a very dynamic organization of around 100 people. Change is the constant in your day-by-day work: you serve a very mobile commercial force, several executives that travel all time, and, among many, two groups (marketing and development) that remain in the headquarters but take work at home after hours too.

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Virtualizing desktops – the drivers may not be what you expect

Apr 16 by Shaun Donaldson

The driver behind server virtualization is clearly cost savings, while agility and flexibility also have value. This well-known return on investment is achievable because servers have fairly predictable workloads, tend to be rather static in their workloads (an Exchange server tends to stay an Exchange server).

Also, the number of servers that can be run on each CPU across a datacenter tends to be low because, generally speaking, they need more horsepower than an end-user system.

Virtualized desktops are quite different. The number of desktops per-CPU across a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is much higher than with servers. The environments tend to be highly dynamic, with instance being instantiated and destroyed at a high rate.

Naturally, trying to lead with cost savings as a primary goal of a VDI deployment is problematic. Instead, agility and flexibility are key.

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Five reasons why evolution, virtualization and cloud are good for (SME) business

Apr 10 by Horatiu Bandoiu

I invite you to imagine how things were ten years ago when we were all younger and probably happier; IT models were clearly defined and all was logical and gradual, just an exercise of scalability.

You started with a few PCs, you were connecting them into a network, eventually adding one file server, then a mail server, and starting to think about security. But also security was easier ten years ago. Viruses, worms, and occasionally some successful attack from curious persons that were called crackers, and was pretty much all. We were adding something like 5 to 10 virus signatures per day, and that was enough.

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Government and Virtualization: What a Denmark municipality expects for security

Apr 09 by Kathryn Schwab

Governments, federal, state/provincial and municipal, always face mounting costs when it comes to IT, this isn’t news.

And increasingly, many are turning to virtualization and cloud innovations to deliver better service to citizens. Virtualization and cloud technologies bring the promise of better data management and services within and across departments, the storage of the billions of records, and overall, a better user experience both for government workers and citizens alike.

However, security in these innovative environments is no easy task. Traditional implementations rely on a licensing model based on physical machines (per-seat, per-machine, per-year), which ultimately costs more.

But virtualization and cloud present an entirely different methodology, where ‘islands of hardware’ disappear, and the traditional security licensing model becomes troublesome.

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