As part of my new series “Technology Tuesdays”, I’m going to dedicate these posts to highlighting some of the lesser known but equally awesome technologies that relate to cloud and virtualization. One of my latest and favorite virtualization goodies to come out in 2011 has to be VMware Horizon for Mobile. What is Horizon? Well, to quote the VMware folks directly:
“Horizon Mobile Manager is a product that will allow enterprise IT administrators to create, provision, monitor and manage a corporate phone that will be running on an employee-owned smart phone. “
Essentially employees could go out and purchase a smartphone and the enterprise could then lock it down through creating a virtual phone within a phone that runs the corporate applications including email, phone calls, web applications, anything and everything. It runs completely independent from the host OS, so anything that the user puts on the non-corporate side of the phone has no effect on the corporate side.
So why would the IT and security guys care? Quite simply, it will reduce their sleepless nights worrying about all the rogue devices lingering on their corporate network. Let’s face it; employees are never happy with corporate provisioned phones. The “accidental destruction” rate of corporate phones is pretty high when you think of it. By leveraging a technology such as Horizon Mobile, the employee can make the decision on their mobile device and the corporate policies can be implemented regardless of platform. This means we can start to see the adoption of Android mobile devices in the workplace, and greater adoption of Apple products.
So that’s a great solution for mobile devices, but what about tablets? We are seeing more and more business application of tablets, from taking notes in meetings, to accessing email when a laptop is not available. But of course, security must be top of mind here.
There’s an app for that. Actually, there are several, as most of the main firewall and SSL-VPN manufacturers are starting to release dedicated clients for these devices that allow for secure connection to the corporate network and launch essentially an encrypted environment for accessing corporate resources. You can even use two-factor authentication on mobile and tablet devices to create an even more secure environment. As long as there are stringent security policies in place to support the adoption of these technologies, the security solutions are available. In some cases, there is no additional cost to use the mobile/tablet application version of a VPN client over a desktop client.
Definitely a step in the right direction to keep employees happy, and in highly competitive markets where the workforce is increasingly addicted to these new technologies, it’s something that corporations should start looking at adopting.