Desktop virtualization is a potentially exciting topic, but one which requires careful planning and resource allocation. For many healthcare companies, the flexibility and control provided by this technology frees up resources to innovate and focus on customers. In a traditional desktop virtualization environment, this is simply shifting IT resources to support this new paradigm. For many use cases, this support could be offloaded as the workloads are migrated to VMware’s Horizon Air.
Why Virtual Desktops?
From a security perspective, moving the data from the user’s laptop into the datacenter on a virtual desktop makes sense. Once we bring that data into a more secure perimeter and then simply enable the end user to manage that data from a remote location, much of the risk is eliminated.
From an ease of use perspective, a Virtual Desktop opens more opportunities. My primary desktop is a Windows 7 corporate image on VMware’s Horizon View. I might access that from my VMware issued laptop, my iPad, a shared computer in a partner office, or even my phone, depending on the circumstances. For me mobile is not just a concept, mobile is a way of life. For VMware’s IT department, a Virtual Desktop is more secure and efficient because most of the endpoint devices are not VMware assets.
What about HIPAA?
In healthcare we are always highly aware of regulations. Think about the last time you walked into your doctor’s office. They likely requested you sign a HIPAA notification that describes your right to notice of disclosures of your information. This is designed to protect you, the customer. What happens when medical providers give up control of protected data?
The HIPAA and HITECH Acts provided for a Business Associate Agreement, BAA, to protect healthcare providers when working with a Business Associate such as VMware. In 2013, new rules require that even if the Business Associate does not ever access the Protected Health Information, PHI, a BAA must be in place. These enable healthcare providers to move forward with moving workloads off premise without the concern of taking the liability themselves.
Why the VMware Cloud?
There are several use cases for moving workloads to VMware’s Horizon Air.
- Rural hospitals with limited IT capacity that would like the flexibility of anywhere access
- Health networks pooling resources to meet Meaningful Use goals
- Rapid desktop scaling to support Mergers & Acquisitions
- Business Continuity for clinical desktops to minimize downtime
Notice these are not all primary use cases, but rather complimentary. They enable internal IT teams to focus on what is in front of them. Horizon Air can also run primary workloads; these are simply a few of the potential examples. By using the VMware Horizon cloud, the end user can enjoy the seamless experience they are experienced with in Horizon View currently. The administrator can manage them similarly with less decisions required, and scale as needed for both capacity and performance.
As VMware continues to drive innovation in Healthcare environments, there is a greater focus on moving to a more hybrid environment. Understanding which workloads run best internally, and which run best in VMware Horizon Air, will allow IT teams to leverage the best technology for the task at hand.