Why the Desktop as a Service Market Is Growing

VDI concept: various devices linked to cloud
XaaS cloud solutions are infiltrating the tech world: infrastructure as a service, software as a service, platform as a service, desktop as a service (DaaS) and so on. Of these, DaaS probably spends less time in the spotlight than its counterparts, but it's nevertheless gaining in popularity. 

Last year, according to 451 Research, the market for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is the foundation for DaaS, grew 30 percent in the span of a year. It's expected to repeat that growth pattern through 2017.

So what is it about DaaS that adopters find appealing? Let's look at a few key benefits.

Ability to Manage More Users and Devices

Computerworld cited DaaS as a "BYOD assist." With employees using multiple devices — some personal and some company owned — it can be challenging to restrict access to corporate data and make sure devices are running up-to-date operating systems and software patches. Because DaaS consists of virtual desktops, users are able to access their same desktop configuration from any device, giving them the flexibility and mobility they're accustomed to. At the same time, IT gets to maintain control over data and applications.

Flexible Backup Options

In addition to better user management capabilities, DaaS provides enhanced backup capabilities. IT personnel can administer the desktop remotely, backing up data and critical applications as needed. Plus, as TechTarget points out, they have the option of recovering a whole image or just a file. (For more on why this ability is a huge plus for a backup solution, read this post on backing up your files versus backing up your environment.)

Greater Disaster Recovery Capabilities for SMBs

Enterprise backup and recovery solutions can be expensive, making it difficult for SMBs to implement adequate disaster recovery (DR) measures. DaaS puts greater DR capabilities within their reach. DaaS providers will typically host the solution and utilize a pay-as-you-go fee structure, allowing users to scale utilization during peak periods (e.g., a DR test or event) and avoid paying for services they don't use. Even enterprise organizations can benefit from DaaS by using it to extend their available workforce during a business interruption without in turn overextending their DR budgets.

With greater, more affordable control over devices and data, it's not hard to see why the DaaS market is growing. To learn more about data management in the cloud era, check out this infographic.

Three Noteworthy Regulatory Run-ins During 2014

Rules and regulations stamps next to stack of papers
Companies in regulated industries like healthcare or financial services are facing increased pressure to remain compliant — a challenge when organizations face volatile factors such as new security vulnerabilities, staff’s failure to follow company policy or a third party’s negligence. The result is an increasing number of regulatory run-ins. Here are a few noteworthy incidents that made headlines in 2014.

Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act

During the Heartbleed epidemic, Franklin, TN-based Community Health Systems had 4.5 million of its patients’ personal information stolen. Not only was this the largest Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) breach of 2014 but also the second largest HIPAA breach ever.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The CEO and former CFO of a computer equipment company, which went bankrupt in 2009, were charged with violating the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. The CFO hid the fact that the company didn’t have adequate inventory controls and manipulated accounting records in order to increase the amount of money the company could borrow.

National Credit Union Administration

During a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) examination of Palm Springs Federal Credit Union, an unencrypted flash drive containing credit union members’ personal data went missing. The NCUA later announced that the drive was lost due to the investigator himself failing to follow NCUA’s policies for protecting sensitive data.

To read more about how to cope with regulatory pressures, read our post “Compliance Concerns Are Rising — Here's What You Can Do About It.”

Wall of Shame: The Top Cause of Breaches Since Omnibus

Stethoscope on laptop keyboard
The year 2013 was a pivotal time for the healthcare industry. Bioengineering developments reached new heights with emerging technologies such as electronic aspirin and a transcatheter aortic heart valve that provides an alternative to open-heart surgery.

And then there was HIPAA's omnibus rule. The rule extended HIPAA requirements to healthcare organizations' service providers, strengthened requirements for data protection and privacy practices, gave individuals more rights for obtaining access to healthcare records and increased maximum penalties for noncompliance.

Data Breaches Since Omnibus

Since omnibus went into effect, the number of organizations that have made the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS’s) "wall of shame" — the moniker given to the public, legally required listing of breaches affecting 500 or more individuals — has skyrocketed.

According to data we exported from HHS, 1,186 organizations have found themselves in HIPAA's bad graces during the time span of January 2013 to December 2014. Of the top 10 largest breaches, 70 percent were due to the loss or theft of information stored on backup tapes, servers, drives, desktop computers, laptops and other media.

Staying Compliant

Omnibus doesn't always offer prescriptive recommendations for avoiding breaches. However, healthcare providers can learn from the mistakes of others and take precautions to remain compliant, avoid fines, and most importantly, protect their patients' information.

Below are a few examples of solutions we recommend for healthcare providers looking to combat common breach causes:

We also encourage healthcare organizations to make sure any business continuity and disaster recovery vendors they consider working with have completed a third-party audit that meets regulatory standards, such as the
Service Organization Controls 2 audit.

Ultimately, by taking proactive measures against security breaches, you can lessen your odds of landing a spot on the wall of shame.

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