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Citrix appliance guards virtual desktops

IT administrators concerned about virtual desktop security can now set user access policies for XenDesktop using a security appliance.

Citrix Systems Inc. just released its virtual desktop software last month, but the company has already started working on ways to secure the new application.

The company said this week it is extending the capabilities of its Access Gateway security appliance to its XenDesktop virtual desktop technology. The appliance lets IT managers set access policies based on user privileges, the type of machine trying to access the virtual desktop and from where the user is attempting to access the applications.

There are a lot of questions from IT managers regarding how to secure virtual desktops, but Citrix executives claim that virtual desktops are not only safer than traditional desktops because

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information isn't being housed on the physical PC, but also because application access can be further restricted and centralized.

The gateway can be set up to give a user working in the office full access to applications sitting on a computer running XenDesktop, for example, or restrict a user trying to access an application from a computer in a hotel lobby from downloading or printing a file. Traveling users can also be blocked by the appliance if their anti-malware or antispam software isn't up to snuff.

There are no extra licensing charges for Access Gateway when you buy XenDesktop, but the appliance itself starts at $3,500 with higher-end versions with high availability capabilities costing up to $40,000.

Access Gateway already works with XenApps, the Citrix application virtualization platform built on Microsoft's Terminal Services.

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