Enabling maximum productivity while also safeguarding intellectual property and other sensitive corporate data has always been a challenge for companies. This tension between productivity and security has traditionally forced tradeoffs that no IT team or risk management team wants to make, yet the overnight shift to remote working in 2020 has introduced additional security risks into enterprise organizations. What steps can you take to mitigate end user computing risks that are in alignment with a zero-trust security policy?
Recently, Jimmy Chang, Chief Product Officer here at Workspot, was featured on the Security Magazine website discussing how cloud desktops reduce risk. For some people, “losing control” of the company’s desktops in the cloud will be seem counter to strengthening security. While many CIOs are more comfortable than ever that cloud computing is more secure than on-premises computing, there are still risk-averse IT leaders who are hesitant to make the move. Other IT teams have moved to virtual desktops or are considering them, whether on-premises or in the cloud, and there are really important security implications for each of those approaches too. These are the key points that stood out to me in Jimmy’s article.
Physical PCs Are Impossible to Secure
If you’re a small company, I’d like to soften that statement. It is possible to secure a small number of PCs, but there is always the chance that one will be lost or stolen along with sensitive corporate information. For enterprise organizations with thousands or tens of thousands of PCs scattered across the globe, it is truly impossible to secure them. Plus, with people working remotely, you need to worry about their personal devices being used for work too. Even large organizations – with a substantial IT team on the ground ready to update all those devices – can’t keep up. This is where the “losing control” argument fails. You’ve already lost control. It’s a tough reality.
VDI Strengthens Security, Kills Productivity
Many organizations tried virtual desktops (the old-school VDI-style) – to help with security – and it did help. When you centralize desktops in the cloud, there are considerable security benefits. It’s just that VDI brings with it serious performance problems for anyone who isn’t close to the data center in which their desktop resides. Basically, VDI helped with security, while latency killed productivity and just made end users unhappy. Can you say “Shadow IT”? When app performance is so slow that people can’t be productive, they’ll often take matters into their own hands. There’s that unpopular productivity-security tradeoff again!
SaaS Cloud Desktops Reduce Risk and Boost Productivity
First, the punchline: There’s no reason to ever trade off security for productivity (or vice versa) again.
The Public Cloud is Secure
While there will always be cybersecurity risk, the goal is to take all reasonable measures to reduce it. So, if a public cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud spends $1 billion per year on securing its cloud data centers and you don’t, it seems reasonable that they can do a better job of securing your corporate information assets than you can with an on-premises data center and an in-house IT team. Notably, “Gartner observed in its recent discussion on cloud security that security concerns have caused some leaders to hit the pause button on using public cloud services. But analysts also note that, though cloud breaches make news, in most cases, the breach isn’t the fault of the cloud provider but of the user. Misconfigured policies, inconsistent architecture, or poor control of cloud services are typically at the source of these breaches.”
Cloud-Native Cloud Desktop Architectures are Built for Zero-Trust, Simplified Compliance
Centralizing desktops in the cloud offers significant security benefits over and above anything traditional VDI can do. Your attack surface is significantly reduced, and IT teams have a much easier time keeping operating systems and applications up to date with security patches. Workspot turns all those devices your employees and contractors are using for work – which are completely out of your control – into zero-trust endpoints. Meeting regulatory requirements is more straightforward because corporate data is nowhere near the 10,000 homes out of which your employees and contractors are now working! Your corporate data stays safely in the cloud. Plus, unlike other cloud desktop solutions, your data never enters the Workspot control plane, so that means Workspot is out of scope for compliance audits. We’re not relevant for compliance audits because your data never flows through Workspot, and that dramatically streamlines your compliance verification processes. This is a critical point to understand; it’s an architecture decision we made long ago that makes our platform inherently ready to enforce your zero-trust security policy and simplify compliance.
Workspot also offers a suite of innovative business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, including multi-cloud region failover, cloud desktop back up and recovery, and one-click activation of standby cloud desktops. These are powerful tools for mitigating malware/ransomware and combating Mother Nature’s wrath.
Cloud Desktop Performance, Reliability and Availability – A Triple Threat!
As Jimmy, our Chief Product Office puts it, “Employees who can rely on regular, anytime access to the tools they need to use from wherever they need to work – which is what cloud desktops provide – aren’t likely to seek out alternative solutions.” Instead, they will use the secured desktops your company is providing them, ensuring full visibility. End users love their “Workspots” as our cloud desktops and workstations have come to be known. For IT, our Network Operations Center (NOC) monitors all cloud desktops globally, helping to place you in front of problems that may arise so you can address them quickly.
When end users are happy and productive with amazing performance they can count on, your sensitive data is secured, and you have global visibility into all your desktops so you can keep the business firing on all cylinders, you’re back in control!
Ready to stop making security-productivity tradeoffs? Ready to see cloud desktops in action? Schedule a demo and I can guarantee you’ll have a great conversation about the possibilities!