VDI Growth Brings Need for Endpoint Protection for Virtualization

Aiming to help IT administrators manage security for physical and virtual desktops from a single pane of glass, Symantec joins the ranks of enterprise security providers optimizing their endpoint security offerings for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Mon, December 03, 2012

CIO — With an eye toward the growing market for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Symantec this week released Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) 12.1, a free upgrade that's designed to optimize the enterprise security package for VMware vShield virtual environments and enables seamless, single-pane-of-glass management of physical and virtual desktops.

"Our existing customer base and every customer we talk to is doing some sort of virtualization," says Piero DePaoli, director of Product Marketing for Endpoint, Messaging & Web Security at Symantec. "They don't want to buy another security solution to do that. But a security solution that is not optimized for virtualization can end up backfiring because it can dramatically affect performance."

"As a Symantec technology partner, one of the trends that continues to persist among our customers is the growing adoption of virtualization technology," adds Feris Rifai, founder and CEO of Bay Dynamics, an information security and risk management firm with strong OEM ties to Symantec. "Virtual servers and desktops are becoming more than just a novelty, they are changing the way businesses function. With a vast amount of benefits—including cost-savings and greater efficiency—more and more businesses are increasing their investment in virtualization deployments."

VDI Market Growing?

It may be growing, but VDI remains an immature segment of the overall virtualization market, says Jon Olstik, senior principal analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). So what's behind the interest in supporting it? Symantec, after all, is actually a late-mover among its competitors: Trend Micro has OfficeScan with a plug-in along with Deep Security Agentless Protection; McAfee offers McAfee Management for Optimized Virtual Environments (MOVE); and Kapersky has Kapersky Security for Virtualization.

"It's important for a couple of reasons," Olstik says. "The competition is going that way and you don't want to be the one vendor that's asking to continue to put an agent on every virtual machine. And we do see people starting to require this technology. They want to maximize and tune the performance for their applications. It's a better architecture for virtualization."

"While [the desktop virtualization market] is not real mature, what is true is that large organizations are finding a niche where it makes a lot of sense," Olstik adds. "People who carry around laptops, power users, those people aren't virtualized and probably never will be. But for people who are tethered to a desktop, it makes sense. That has a lot of momentum."

Mixed Environments Create Security Headaches

Mixed environments—with large numbers of physical machines and some portion of virtualized desktops (or even point-of-sale and similar devices)—are making management of security in these organizations a serious headache.

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