The explosion of mobile devices and technologies can be overwhelming to many organizations, especially federal agencies concerned with saving money through increased efficiency while maintaining network security.
A newly released desktop virtualization system focused on the government sector seeks to resolve these issues by providing a scalable, secure, end-to-end capability that can allow organizations to manage a variety of devices across networks.
Dell’s Desktop Virtualization Solutions for Government (DVS-Gov) represents the next step in a line of company-developed desktop technologies, said Jere Carroll, general manager of civilian and federal agencies at Dell Federal. DVS-Gov is the government-focused version of the company’s recently released desktop virtualization system. It builds on the realization that users access data from a variety of devices, most of them mobile, he said.
The software-based system is designed to address two main needs: enabling end users to get the information they want and to ensure the security of their organization’s networks.
To meet the federal government’s strict security requirements, DVS-Gov features mechanisms that allow administrators to provide users with a range of access options, tuned to that person’s role and the needs of the organization. For example, some users may be granted access to all of an agency’s sensitive data, but only while they are on site. Additionally, visitors and contractors can be provided with varying degrees of access to both the organization’s networks and the broader public Internet, Carroll said.
Security is Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) compliant and meets Federal Information Security Management Act requirements as well, Carroll said. He added that the system’s security requirements can be calibrated to meet individual agency needs. DVS-Gov also features an integrated common access (CAC) and smart card capability that allows agencies to quickly set up credentials and network access rules without having to build them from scratch.
The virtualization technology built into the software allows it to run on and manage a variety of devices, from desktop computers to smart phones and tablets, Carroll said. These end user devices serve as thin-clients in the sense that all of the user’s work data resides in the agency’s data center. While Dell can provide its own cloud services, he added that the bulk of federal organizations will probably use their own data centers.
The system is designed to be highly scalable, with the ability to support 50 users on a single server or as many as 50,000 users backed up by a large data center. DVS-Gov is hardware agnostic, allowing it to be quickly configured to meet government and individual agency standards, Carroll said.
DVS is a device management system capable of pushing software upgrades to registered devices. This capability can be very useful for federal agencies thinking about launching BYOD programs but are worried about security concerns, Carroll said. He added that many federal agencies often view desktop virtualization from only a cost savings perspective, but fail to make sure that their various organization and staff-provided devices can work in a virtual environment. Organizations need to assess what they have and what works in such an environment, Carroll said. While they can avoid complications with small pilot programs, once they consider scaling up, they must assess their networks, or contact a third party to do it for them, he said.