Oct 11, 2011

Is it safer to run Windows XP in a Citrix-style virtual desktop environment than just to run it normally on a PC?

There are many benefits to running Windows XP in a virtual desktop environment. For one, it makes deploying new images much easier and faster than having to update every desktop. Also it helps to control license usage. But does it provide any security benefits, since there's fewer images that need to be protected by antivirus, antimalware, and group policy permissions? I'm trying to build a business case for virtualizing our desktops and every bit of ammunition I get could prove helpful.

Hi becker,

Here's an article that considers that very question.

Does using a virtual machine keep me safer?

A brief snippet:

"I've just installed Ubuntu 10.4 under Sun Virtual Box. As I was playing and surfing the web with it, I started thinking that this could be a much safer way to surf, as what is happens on the virtual box stays on the virtual box, to paraphrase Tom Hanks. Question: is this really as safe as I think?

Probably not.

Don't get me wrong, using a virtual machine (or "VM") can add a very significant layer of security and safety, and can be an extremely useful approach to increasing both.

But it's not a perfect solution, and if its limitations aren't considered it can be quite dangerous simply by giving you a false sense of security in areas that it doesn't really help."
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