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New VMware EUC lead: Shadow IT is the biggest cybersecurity threat

IT pros work to defend against breaches and hacks, but it's their own users that continue to be a threat. This issue could drive workspace adoption in 2017.

When users don't like their business' apps or security protocols, they find unsecure workarounds.

That scenario -- known as shadow IT -- is a huge cybersecurity threat for which IT departments need to find a resolution, said Sumit Dhawan, general manager of end-user computing (EUC) at VMware.

Dhawan took charge of VMware EUC in November, following Sanjay Poonen's move to COO after more than three years in the role. Prior to his new position, Dhawan oversaw the development of Workspace One, which combines Horizon Air, AirWatch and Identity Manager to let IT deliver and manage users' devices, virtual desktops and applications.

Here, Dhawan discusses the transition, the challenges IT shops face, what VMware will focus on in the coming year and more.

What is the biggest challenge IT faces today around EUC?

Sumit DhawanSumit Dhawan

Sumit Dhawan: It's shadow IT. Let's say you are working and you need a note-taking application. You wouldn't go to IT. You'd use your personal device on your personal [Apple] iCloud account or whatever, [then] download an application from a public store and start using it. And, eventually, some of your company data is out of control.

Is there anything you want VMware to do differently under your watch?

Dhawan: When Sanjay came on the spot, we were in a very different position than we are today. We had one business only, which was distant second to the incumbent in the space, and that was Citrix. We had no presence in mobile at all. If we tried to do a Workspace One-like solution back then, it wouldn't work.

On my clock, you will see us drive more and more creation of this new market of digital workspace. There is a massive opportunity out there for digital workspaces that tackles this big broad problem of shadow IT.

Are workspace suites too big, complex and expensive for SMBs?

Dhawan: Enterprise customers clearly have a larger need. A Workspace One solution becomes a lot more valuable to them. Midsize businesses ... have a problem with the cost and complexity, and not necessarily shadow IT alone. We need to make it even simpler for that market.

What role will enterprise mobility management play in the future? 

There is a massive opportunity out there for digital workspaces that tackles this big broad problem of shadow IT.
Sumit DhawanGeneral manager of end-user computing at VMware

Dhawan: Most people would think of AirWatch as managing mobile devices, but it's a lot more than that. Today, we have already expanded the use of that technology. We use it now for not just configuring mobile devices, but also we introduced [management of] Windows 10, Macs, and you will see us do more and more platforms shortly. You will see some exciting news about additional platforms beyond those two. This is expansion where customers can get one way to manage all their devices through unified endpoint management.

Now that we're almost two years into the acquisition, was AirWatch worth $1.2 billion?

Dhawan: People would love to have that asset now for a lot more than what VMware paid for it. So, the answer is yes.

Could virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) become more affordable as the technology advances this year?

Dhawan: The story of VDI in the past has been, 'We love the value proposition, but it's too expensive.' Cost and complexity for our VDI solution has been our biggest area of focus. Cost is now about one-third ... of what it was a little over three years ago. The next challenge I believe the industry and VMware has to tackle is around simplicity.

Will the Horizon VDI platform continue to support Teradici's PCoIP display protocol, or move exclusively to VMware Blast?

Dhawan: We see Teradici's technology as great for delivering a desktop experience to their fully optimized endpoints and clients. We will continue to support it going forward. We believe that's a key technology for all of our existing customers who have already invested heavily on their endpoints, whether they are running their existing desktops or expanding their real estate of desktops. They can count on us to use PCoIP.

Next Steps

The risk of shadow IT for VDI shops

The time to invest in unified endpoint management is now

A look at shadow IT in the cloud

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