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Mitigating the Risks of Cyberattacks

The unfortunate reality today is that cyberattacks have become common. Not a week goes by without dramatic headlines describing the chaos caused by cyberattacks disrupting business and government operations.

We all remember the WannaCry cyberattack on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) that caused nearly 6,900 appointments—including operations—to be cancelled as a result of ransomware. Then there was the Petya cyberattack that disrupted businesses operations in Europe and the United States when computers across numerous organizations were locked and the data held for ransom.

It’s not hard to imagine a day when millions of global citizens are affected if infrastructure is targeted or businesses suffer devastating outages. In our increasingly interconnected world, one unpatched system, one poorly architected network or even one rogue employee can cause a ripple effect across our global economy.

But while cyberattacks seem to occur frequently, companies across the world appear to be completely unprepared. According to The Global State of Information Security Survey 2018 from PwC, 44% of the 9,500 execs surveyed across 122 countries said they do not have an information security strategy. About 48% did not have an employee awareness program, and 54% did not have an incident response process.

With rogue nation states and cyber-criminals working overtime to inflict as much economic damage as possible, businesses must put in place plans to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. Today, having an information security strategy is a must have, and it should not just be a concern for CIOs, but the entire C-suite.


One often overlooked way to reduce the damage that can be caused by ransomware is by utilizing desktop and app virtualization. Desktop and application virtualization can help organizations in the following ways:

Securing Data

The VMware Horizon desktop and application virtualization solution leverages the Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP). With JMP, users at login can get virtual desktops that include their necessary apps and settings, and then at logout, virtual desktops can be destroyed. If a user’s virtual desktop is compromised, the desktop can be destroyed or isolated for forensic purposes.

Simplifying Management

We know that it’s difficult to maintain, patch and update desktops and applications. It’s time-consuming and often relies on either end users or under-staffed IT personnel. Half the battle in organizations is making sure systems are up to date and patches are applied to fix vulnerabilities.

With JMP, IT can use one base image for hundreds or even thousands of endpoints. Not only does this save organizations time and resources, but also it makes securing the enterprise a lot more feasible.

Controlling Access to Content

Organizations have petabytes of data, and that data is often accessed by thousands of employees at large organizations. Having the right access controls to an organization’s crown jewels prevents both unintentional and intentional attacks by insiders.

With Smart Policies, organizations can say that certain features can only be accessed from inside their private network, and not when a user logs into a virtual desktop from an IP address outside the secure network.

For additional details on how desktop and application virtualization can help secure your organization, visit the Horizon and VMware Horizon Cloud webpages, and of course, stay tuned for upcoming blogs in our security blog series.