There will be no distinction between the personal and professional use of the devices and broadband connectivity will be ubiquitous with internet access in real-time, all the time, anytime, from anywhere and IT must learn to manage a mobile computing environment as simply an extension of their corporate networks or they will face severe problems of availability, support costs, and security incidents in the coming years.
Desktop and Client Virtualisation
Wouldn’t a majority of systems management and security problems be solved in this new world if we implemented a virtual desktop “container” on all corporate assets and maintain the health and security of the container – couldn’t we just go back to the thin-client model?
It sounds like a beautiful world, a big giant virtual world filled with roses, butterflies and perfect SLA adherence. A virtual container would be placed on a baremetal device or adjacent to an existing OS and voila the enterprise has a “clean” environment that can be swapped out, updated, flushed and quickly returning to homeostasis.
Lower costs, greater efficiencies and better security – well not exactly. In some cases the cost of implementing virtual desktops is up to 10x the costs of managing physical environments and there is almost zero improvement in security or operational efficiency.
Not only will you need an entirely new infrastructure, which costs lots of money – you also need FTE’s to manage this new infrastructure, and of course they must posses the expertise to make it all work, oh and btw, this doesn’t support remote, mobile computing environments very well, nor will it magically improve poor patching, security or other traditional IT practices that organisations already struggle at. Desktop virtualisation is not the magic bullet you are looking for.
The movement to “cloud computing” will strain IT organisations and force them to look at how to secure mobile computing devices. Cloud computing provides tremendous promise leading IT towards the land of “dynamic and agile infrastructure” but along the way they must pass through the dark forest of limited to no visibility and near-zero control.
When we allow services to be delivered by a third party we lose all control over how they secure and maintain the health of their environment and you simply can’t enforce what you can’t control.
Now the “experts” will tell you otherwise, convince you that their model is 100% secure and that you have nothing to fear, then again those experts don’t lose their job if you fail. This doesn’t mean that cloud computing isn’t important or that it shouldn’t be invested in, but organisations should look for non-critical applications and slowly move to understand how and what needs to be done before they get sucked into the “cloud”
IT infrastructures are evolving and those organisations that are unable to take advantage of new technologies and innovations will fall behind competitively, unfortunately moving to adopt and address these new changes requires IT to implement technologies and processes that support them – but isn’t that exactly what we all get paid for?