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GCN : June and July 2016
GCN JUNE/JULY 2016 • GCN.COM 39 the whole thing or a workspace of An- droid apps,” Laing said. Some apps “are really made for mo- bile devices, whereas some other apps are meant for the desktop and then they try to optimize them for mobile,” he added. To reconcile the differences, develop- ers are turning to mobile virtualization. Additionally, the Android operating system can be problematic because it is not always homogeneous across ver- sions and sets of apps. When new ver- sions are introduced, carriers tend to support them for only a limited amount of time. In mobile virtualization, Android apps sit on a centralized server, and an iOS or Windows device runs the virtualized apps behind a firewall. WAAS FOR POLICY ENFORCEMENT Browser virtualization has allowed firms to take different approaches to WaaS in the past few years. Authentic8, a com- pany created by founders of email secu- rity firm Postini, jumped into the WaaS market in 2010 seeking to concentrate on browser-based innovation. In developing Silo, its virtual brows- er, the firm added features to provide options for managing complex work- spaces. Instead of virtualizing the desktop by running virtual desktop in- frastructure, “which would have just doubled the management overhead,” CEO Scott Petry said the firm embedded more sophisticated management con- trols directly in the browser. Yet “as important as virtualization is, the management capability and ability to define policies around who can access what from which devices [are] more im- portant,” he added. The modifications endow the Silo browser with enhanced uses and fea- tures, Petry said, including improve- ments in the ability to conduct data research, participate in collaborations across teams and pursue projects that require blending work and personal activity. For instance, to support people doing data research on the Internet, a browser can be configured to appear as though it’s coming from a variety of destinations in order to digest content from those ar- eas. Those functions can also help law enforcement investigators explore sus- pect sites without disclosing their digital identities. “I could literally tell the browser to look like it’s coming out of Singapore, pretending to be a Windows device with the local time zone set and with the Asian character keyboard being present- ed,” Petry said. Once fetched, the content could be translated from Chinese or Korean to English — inside the browser. The Silo browser can also be used to support groups participating in sensitive negotiations, such as mergers and ac- quisitions, Petry said. Compliance, legal and finance employees might access a deal room configured as an inherently secure environment. “It feels like they are using their lo- cal browser,” he said, “but they use our browser, so any malicious content, any desire to go to Facebook in another tab while they’re in that browser — all of that capability can be managed so you have a single-function browser for that team of people using web services for that deal room.” Petry said the federal government is one of Authentic8’s top three markets, especially agencies that have national security requirements and use virtual browsers to securely access websites and prevent data leakage or loss. “What we’re seeing now is that gov- ernment is just like any other large em- ployer where there’s tension between what IT allows people to do and how users expect to balance their work life,” Petry said. “In that case, we can let them browse the web through a one-time-use virtual environment that can be thrown away when the session is over.” Last year, the company reached out to victims of the breach at the Office of Per- sonnel Management and offered the use of its browser for free. “The idea here is to say our product is so easy to use and we make it available to so many people [that] we should also make it available to the people who are most vulnerable and those who lost data in the breach,” Petry said. • Employees log in and see a virtual desktop workspace that looks and operates like their traditional desktop. 0716gcn_036-039.indd 39 6/1/16 3:45 PM
August and September 2016