Last year, I made a series of predictions about what virtualization in 2020 would look like. Like everyone else reviewing their ‘2020 forecast’, I do have the ‘excuse’ that none of us could have seen COVID-19 coming. But like in so many industries, when it comes to the world of virtual desktops, the pandemic just accelerated pre existing trends.
2020 Prediction 1: Growth of OS level sandboxing. Grade: A
Because of the growth in 2019 in attacks focused on the OS, I thought we’d see a general shift from application and browser isolation to OS isolation. It certainly appears that this has been the case. Microsoft has extended its WVD offering, Microsoft Defender Application Guard now supports Office apps and there’s a strong industry-wide move to Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions.
2020 Prediction 2: The growth of software defined endpoints. Grade: B
After we’ve virtualized compute, storage, and networking, really the only thing left was endpoints. While we still don’t have OS virtualization on every endpoint yet, we definitely see its expansion: Google Chromebooks are now supporting Linux VMs and Windows VMs; Microsoft extending its virtualization-based security approach, and more OS vendors are adopting virtualization on endpoints.
2020 Prediction 3: More virtual desktop use cases. Grade: B
This is the one that COVID really played a part in. While I predicted more virtual desktop use cases, I had assumed the main driver would be access to legacy apps – not WFH/BYOD. I obviously didn’t expect the explosion in remote workers, which has pushed virtual desktop solutions center-stage for IT and security departments.
So what’s next in the world of virtual desktops?
Here are my 3 major predictions for 2021.
- BYOD continues to grow. Just because we might be going back to the office (at least, for some of the time) – remote work is here to stay. Employees are used to working from home and there will be much more flexibility in working hours and locations. Some employees will need to use their personal devices some of the time – so expect BYOD security and productivity challenges to dominate the 2021 discourse.
- VDI/DaaS hit their scalability limits. Scaling VDI across a large enterprise is enormously complicated (and can get quite pricey). There’s also latency issues that we’ll see as more and more people work from home. Finally. it simply doesn’t make sense to route everything through VDI for things like Zoom and Microsoft Teams – and so organizations will look for a new approach.
- Attackers start focusing on home devices. Keeping with the theme of remote work – attackers don’t need to spend their time figuring out how to get through a corporate firewall. They just need to get to the end user in their home offices. It’s a truism of the security world that attackers are going to look for the easiest way in. We’re going to see that be the home network in 2021.
Here’s hoping that 2021 will be a little bit more normal, predictable, secure and productive than 2020!