Virtual Computer and Sophos partner to secure client hypervisors

The two companies have inked a deal for a two-phase approach to protecting desktop virtualization environments

In a similar move to the Citrix-McAfee alliance earlier this year, Virtual Computer and global IT security firm Sophos have announced a global alliance to proactively safeguard virtual environments from suspicious activity, viruses, and other malware threats.

The virtual desktop market is still in its infancy, and one of the challenges holding VDI back from its anticipated breakout is security. Virtualization giants like Citrix, Trend Micro, and VMware are going about security in new and interesting ways, but startups like Virtual Computer have managed to beat them to the punch.

[ InfoWorld's Paul Venezia explains how to make the leap to virtual desktop infrastructure. | Also on InfoWorld: Citrix XenClient extends desktop virtualization to mobile. | Get the full scoop on implementing VDI in the InfoWorld "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Deep Dive" PDF special report. | And keep up to date on virtualization with InfoWorld's Virtualization channel. ]

While Citrix and VMware were talking about creating a Type-1 bare-metal client hypervisor, Virtual Computer was already delivering on that promise. NxTop, Virtual Computer's flagship solution, provides desktop IT administrators the ability to create flexible, dependable, and secure endpoints for various combinations of laptops, desktops, VDI, or cloud computing. And the company wants to make them as secure as possible.

Now with their new partnership, Virtual Computer and Sophos have broken the safeguarding of virtual environments into a two-phase integration process. In the first phase, the companies are providing what they call secure, self-cleaning desktops.

By combining NxTop and Sophos AV, it is possible to create a shared virtual desktop that can be managed centrally on NxTop Center on a one-to-many basis. And unlike traditional virtual images that require signatures and updates to be reprocessed every time a virtual image is booted, NxTop preserves all Sophos updates each time a session is turned on and off. All updates to the master image are applied to local VMs on each PC, per NxTop's standard management model.

Profile personalization on each machine, such as OS settings, application settings, documents, and so on, is preserved across reboots and updates, but changes to the core OS (such as the installation of malware) is shed on each reboot. This, according to Virtual Computer, effectively creates a self-cleaning desktop that can still be personalized by the user.

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