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Is Your Corporation Suffering From 'Data Spraw'?

By Francois Wolf, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Pivot3

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Francois Wolf, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Pivot3

Information today moves at a breakneck speed and the amount of data produced worldwide every day is staggering. With each new device and system added to a network, a company’s collective “data sprawl” becomes even more extensive. If you’ve ever wondered whether data sprawl might affect your business, consider this: Within a single corporation, end users can expect there to be twice as much data in 14 months as there is today. For organizations that are beginning to experience data sprawl, it’s time to secure all of your various endpoints—even those that belong to your employees. By rolling out a desktop virtualization environment, corporations can help protect against data breaches that can occur as a result of employee negligence, fraud and theft, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) security gaps. A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) leverages a unique set of IT security protocols to ensure information is protected, no matter what the device may be, while maintaining user privacy. In this article, we'll explore the challenges of data sprawl, as well as ways in which VDI helps mitigate risk, provide cost savings, and increased performance that organizations can benefit from.

“virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) leverages a unique set of IT security protocols to ensure information is protected, no matter what the device may be, while maintaining  user privacy”

The Dangers of Data Sprawl

Every year, organizations must contend with even more information than the year before. Data sprawl is a universal problem; from large corporations and not-for-profit groups to healthcare facilities, universities and even small business, data is growing at an exponential rate. Left unsecured, this data can lead to enormous problems for any organization, as well as its employees and customers. In today’s fast-paced, increasingly mobile world, corporations must carefully consider how to best manage each and every endpoint, and the precious information it holds, including employee and customer addresses, account information or even social security numbers. First, let’s take a look at some of the factors that lead to data sprawl. Consider these statistics: • The average mobile employee carries 3.5 mobile devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. • BYOD policies are increasingly popular, with 30 percent more BYOD smartphones added every year in the United States, according to Computer World. • Across an organization, many different operating systems are used. Here’s the breakdown, according to a report from Forrester Research: o 63 percent use Windows OS o 12 percent use Apple OS o 7 percent use Google Android o 5 percent use RIM o 13 percent didn’t know • A whopping 57 percent of the global workforce works from multiple locations in a given week, according to Forrester Research. • To complicate things further, nearly 80 percent of organizations offer no formal training on BYOD privacy risks.  On top of those figures, consider how information is managed in your own work and personal life. Often, a single file is replicated tens or even hundreds of times as it is shared between a group of people. This creates even greater data sprawl and leaves files more susceptible than ever.

Safeguarding Data

For organizations that are beginning to experience data sprawl, it’s time to explore options to manage it and protect corporate and sensitive information.Desktop virtualization environments are an effective option for corporations looking to protect against data breaches that can occur as a result of employee negligence, fraud and theft, and BYOD security gaps. Since VDI end-points are stateless, there is no data stored in them, which significantly reduces exposure to data loss. By thoroughly addressing desktop and data security, as well as management of remote physical items and multiple on-site devices (including phones, tablets, and PCs), a VDI environment can also help ensure compliance with regulations, such as HIPAA in healthcare.

Additional Benefits of VDI

In addition to increased security for growing data sprawl and the growth of BYOD policies, VDI provides several benefits that attract organizations for a wide range of industries—especially when the virtual environment is built with hyper-converged infrastructure appliances. Using converged appliances that leverage erasure coding to maximize storage availability and system efficiency makes it more cost effective to store large volumes of data, while keeping VDI roll-out and management as simple as possible. In this scenario, organizations benefit from a lower cost per virtual desktop over traditional desktops, which can lead to significant cost savings over time, especially in large corporations with hundreds or even thousands of users. In addition, the time it takes to set up each desktop is minimized, which means the entire system is up and running in less time than was traditionally possible. Finally, establishing a VDI deployment with converged appliances increases the number of functions that can be supported per appliance, which improves the flexibility and effectiveness of your workforce.

Limit the Risk Created by Device Proliferation

As the amount of information being captured and the number of data sources rapidly grows, so do the security threats facing these organizations. VDI environments are worth considering if your organization is looking to better manage user identities, enhance data security, and control hardware investment costs. Building a VDI environment with hyper-converged infrastructure appliances allows organizations to seamlessly safeguard their employees’ laptops, smartphones, and tablets—no matter where in the world they are working and regardless of how much data they juggle every day.

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