I had the opportunity to interview Rob Baker, Smartronix's Director, Strategic Enterprise Initiatives. He's the first user of Kidaro's desktop virtualization technology I've had the good fortune to meet.
What was being done that required this technology?
Smartronix is a global, professional solutions provider supporting Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Agency, and commercial customer mission critical requirements. We have recognized continued and steady growth in our client base, which includes the U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force; the Department of Homeland Defense; FBI; Defense Security Service; Naval Research Laboratory; Office of Naval Research; Secret Service; Special Operations Command, DISA, and the U.S. Marine Corps.
The company has been recognized as one of the "Fastest 50" growing companies in the Greater Washington area and one of the top 500 nationally as ranked by the Washington Post and Inc. 500 media, respectively. Since being incorporated in 1995, Smartronix has grown to a company composed of more than 500 full-time employees that possess extensive engineering backgrounds, technical qualifications, industry certifications, and clearances to the TS/SCI/SBI level supporting client environments ranging from 100 to more than 500,000 end users. Our technical experience includes product development and manufacturing, product life cycle management, architecture design and implementation, IT solutions deployment, and operational support of a variety of multi-level security and high assurance systems and technologies.
Managerially, the company has supported programs that involved worldwide Information Assurance (IA) deployments, in many instances requiring the management and coordination of multiple contact teams traveling throughout multiple regions concurrently. As a prime DoD and Federal Government contractor, Smartronix issues competitive bids for all project-related material purchases. We maintain a supplier assessment database and other supplier quality management and oversight in accordance with Contactor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) procedures. We are an ISO 9001:2000 certified and CMMI Level 3 appraised global professional solutions provider specializing in networking and systems management, information systems security, application integration and development, software and hardware engineering, and business management services.
What was considered before this technology was selected?
Smartronix' customer base is looking for a secure, repeatable, enterprise class desktop and application management environment. The Kidaro solution set, combined with Smartronix background and experience in provisioning for specialized computing support, our in-depth understanding of DoD C4I initiatives and programs, and our ability to offer uniquely tailored information technology products and services to meet customer mission critical requirements, will meet the mission needs of our clients.
Smartronix evaluated several technologies such as terminal services based solutions and other virtual desktop solutions. We also considered using Citrix for managed application support however that solution required constant network connectivity. Kidaro provides the ability to work off line and remains unaffected by network latency.
Why was this technology selected?
We were intrigued by the possibilities of a completely managed environment that did not require expensive server purchases, and met our client's demanding requirements. Kidaro also has many features and capabilities that will appeal to our client base: for example, it allows for non-persistent connections, encrypts workspace data (which was a critical selection criterion), Kidaro also allows us to control outbound data flow via printers or removable devices. You can even lock down the ability to allow cut/paste. Kidaro's focus on security is impressive.
Because of this we are in the process of recommending it as an enterprise solution to several of our DoD customers.
In our corporate network, we wanted to be able to use existing corporate IT resources, such as laptops and wanted to be able to leverage users' home computers for telecommuting while still being able to protect corporate data and our network. The USB deployment option really helped in this regard and Kidaro's ability to centrally manage IT and corporate application resources really stood out.
What tangible benefits have come from the use of this technology?
Streamlined IT control, centralized corporate application configurations, and customized VPN configurations were quick wins for us. We have a fairly complex VPN environment that typically resulted in several support calls to get it configured correctly. This can be centrally managed via Kidaro. We also have several corporate applications for accounting, HR, and payroll that are pre-configured with the correct application settings.
What advice would you give others facing similar issues?
Evaluate your requirements and business needs against the technology and then select the right solution set based upon capability and value.
Kidaro solves many security issues that challenge businesses and IT departments.
Who is Kidaro?
Here's how Kidaro describes itself:
Kidaro provides desktop virtualization solutions for the enterprise without boundaries. Our solutions take up where existing virtualization platforms leave off, improving manageability, security and usability and enabling corporate-controlled mobility for remote users.
What products does Kidaro offer?
The Kidaro Managed Workspace™ is a prepackaged, corporate-managed work environment that seamlessly integrates into any existing end-user desktop, delivered over the network or via a USB flash drive without depending on server infrastructure.
Kidaro is in a heavily contested market for access virtualization technology. Some of its competitors present software-only approaches, including Citrix, Endeavors Technology, Invirtus, Microsoft and Thinstall. Others offer hardware-centric approaches to access virtualization including Clearcube, HP, Neoware, XDS Technology and a new market entry, Pano Technology (more about them in the near future). This means that regardless of how interesting the technology, the company is going to have to work very hard to get its messages out.
That being said, Kidaro's technology and its key benefits are easy to understand and that, all by itself, might be the deciding factor.