Desktop virtualization is a technology that is well suited to healthcare organizations. However, there are several key factors that should be considered before an organization jumps into a desktop virtualization implementation.
Whether or not users will "own"
Remote access is another issue that must be carefully considered. Specifically, a determination must be made about whether or not virtual desktops will be accessible from beyond the network perimeter.
In a healthcare environment it is usually advisable to make some groups of virtual desktops externally accessible while limiting the access of others that have privileges for sensitive information to within the network perimeter. This approach greatly reduces the chances of electronic protected health data being exposed.
Desktop manageability is a third factor that must be considered. Groups of virtual desktops are typically generated from a golden image. Although the use of a image can make the deployment process easier, some administrators have found that they are constantly having to create new golden images as a way of keeping up with changes.
One way to reduce the management burden is to combine desktop virtualization with an application virtualization solution. By doing so, you will be able to easily make new applications (or new versions of applications) available to end users without having to directly modify the virtual desktops themselves.
About the author:
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals, and once was in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.
This was first published in April 2013