Enterprising Developments

Is It Time to Move Desktops to the Cloud?

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, May 21, 2013

In my previous post, I described Aetna's efforts to provide all the capabilities and tools its developers need through virtual desktops. This is a service that can benefit all of the organization beyond IT departments as well.

Gartner, for one, just released results of its own analysis of hosted virtual desktops, concluding they can make the IT manager's job a lot easier, as well as keep end-users happy and productive.

For some carriers, this may be old news. For example, I spoke with Michael Anselmo, CIO of Narragansett Bay Insurance Co., back in 2010 about his work in this area, which extended all the way back to 2005 with a previous company. As Anselmo said at the time, the two greatest benefits of virtualizing end-users' desktops included both “expense reduction and hardware server collapsing.” This not only made IT's job easier, but also helped lock down security much more effectively.

Gartner agrees, suggesting that properly implemented, hosted virtual desktops can increase security as well as help organizations and infrastructure leaders meet compliance requirements.

As many insurers weigh the advantages of cloud computing, desktop virtualization may be a great way to start — especially at a time when end users are using a growing proliferation of devices. As Gartner's Neil MacDonald puts it: "Having the organization's data spread across hundreds or thousands of devices, many of which leave the physical security of office locations, presents a significant risk of data loss. Hosted virtual desktops can help improve the security standing of the client computing environment by centralizing sensitive information and applications in the data center, giving IT system and security stakeholders the opportunity not only to improve support efficiency, but also security."

Gartner cautions, however, that the shift to virtualized desktops also requires careful planning. Plus, the issues that come with PCs won't go away entirely. “Many traditional PC security considerations remain with the HVD architecture, including desktop OS antivirus protection, but the complex nature of the HVD architecture also introduces new areas where security must be considered,” the consultancy says in its report.

There's no question many non-core elements of insurance applications and operations can be moved to private, public and hybrid clouds, thus freeing up IT departments from machine-to-machine maintenance grunt work and enabling them to focus on delivering analytics and new products. Desktop and client device maintenance is definitely one such area to consider.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Putting Your Investments Where Your Transformation Is: Part 2: Optimizing Your IT Investments Portfolio

Sam Medina continues a 3-part series on Transforming the IT Investment Budget in order to fund new programs and initiatives without the necessity of additional capital expense.

Boosting Performance with Integrated Underwriting Tools

A unified, comprehensive platform can help underwriters perform their jobs more efficiently — and profitably.

Opinion: Halbig Decision Creates New Level of Uncertainty for Obamacare

Time will tell if the Halbig decision remains viable. But in the meantime, a new level of uncertainty has been injected into the process.

Apply Mindfulness to Leadership

Managers can benefit from applying this theory both to their career aspirations as well as to interactions and expectations of staff.

Apple's Way: Succeeding in the Enterprise Without Even Trying - Part 3

Today's data centers are doing far more with much smaller footprints.

CIOs: "We Don't Have Enough People to Run Our Mainframes"

Insurers will be competing with other industries for both legacy and “new IT" talent.