VMware Sets Sights on Desktop Security

VMware is putting the pieces in place to better secure digital workspaces by launching Workspace ONE Trust Network, which includes multiple IT security partners, and moving to acquire user behavioral analytics software E8, which the company plans to integrate into Workspace ONE.

VMware Workspace ONE combines desktop and application virtualization with IT management tools including VMware AirWatch and network microsegmentation to create a unified workspace accessible from any device. Renu Upadhyay, senior director of product marketing for end user computing at VMware, said the Workspace ONE Trust Network provides a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to feed security threat alerts into Workspace ONE, which can use that intelligence to limit access to certain websites or quarantine devices infected with malware.

IT security vendors participating in the Workspace ONE Trust Network include Carbon Black, CrowdStrike, Cylance, Lookout, McAfee, Netskope and Symantec. All the data VMware collects gets fed into Workspace ONE Intelligence, a new cloud-based monitoring service integrated with the Workspace ONE platform that aggregates users, apps, networks and endpoint data. That data is then relayed into a decision engine that makes use of alerts and notifications to enable employees to address a range of remediation issues on their own, eliminating the need to generate a job ticket for the internal help desk.

VMware is clearly trying to strike a balance between providing users access to applications from anywhere and a need to lock down IT environments using a zero-trust security model, said Upadhyay. As part of that effort, VMware also announced Workspace ONE AirLift, a co-management technology for Windows 10 that promises to help organizations modernize their approach to PC lifecycle management.

VMware additionally has extended mobile workflows with the VMware Boxer secure email application and integrated Workspace ONE with Microsoft Graph APIs to provide data loss prevention (DLP) controls, as well as continuous monitoring that cuts off access instantly if risks exceed a certain threshold.

Much of the cybersecurity issues that organizations wrestle with daily stem from the historically personal nature of desktop computing. Every user wanted to have administrative rights to their PC, which allowed them to install any application they wanted. Things got complicated when those same users started updating those applications without being able to check if those applications had been compromised.

Digital workspaces represent an attempt to strike a balance between the need for users to be able to set up their own desktop environment within the confines of a self-service portal managed by the IT department. That approach allows the internal IT department and the cybersecurity professionals working with them to effectively lock down the desktop without appearing  overly totalitarian to the user.

Best of all, Upadhyay says, standardizing on one vendor to unify all those capabilities decreases the total cost of desktop computing considerably.

The good news is that in the wake of several years of high-profile cybersecurity breaches, many users are willing to cede more control over their desktop applications. After all, nobody really wants to be seen as the user who compromised cybersecurity if they can at all help it.

Michael Vizard

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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