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VMblog Expert Interview: Marc Gaffan Explains Hysolate Isolated Workspace-as-a-Service (IWaaS) vs. VDI and DaaS

interview hysolate gaffan 

Recently, Hysolate announced the introduction of the first Isolated Workspace-as-a-Service (IWaaS) solution which enables greater worker productivity in today's remote-first business environment. To dig in deeper and better understand what the company has brought to market, VMblog spoke with Marc Gaffan, Hysolate's CEO.

VMblog:  Can we please start by having you give us an understanding of what Hysolate is all about?

Marc Gaffan:  Hysolate is all about helping companies' Security and IT teams enable workers to be their most productive while also ensuring corporate data and assets are protected. We do this through isolated workspaces. Hysolate bridges the gap between enterprise endpoint security and user productivity. We now offer the first solution that lets you easily create isolated workspaces on corporate and non-corporate endpoints, in minutes, and manage them from the cloud.

We've created a new product category that we call Isolated Workspace-as-a-Service, or IWaaS. Companies use IWaaS to protect their corporate endpoints with an isolated workspace for high-risk activities and to secure corporate access from unmanaged endpoints with a strong, VM-based, isolated workspace.

Our recent launch of Hysolate IWaaS was backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Team8 and Planven Capital.

VMblog:  What are the main use cases for this new product category?

Gaffan:  There are many, but we generally frame the conversation around the big three:
  • IWaaS for Corporate-Managed Devices
  • IWaaS for BYODs
  • IWaaS for Privileged Access

IWaaS embraces the notion that IT should be able to support worker productivity without compromising corporate security, regardless of whether the end user is working on a corporate-managed device or a non-corporate endpoint. End users should be free to access the company data needed to do their jobs while also being able to utilize the other resources -- third-party applications, websites and other tools -- that make workflows more efficient. And the user experience must be superb. This must be true for anyone, even those who utilize privileged access workspaces. IWaaS can accommodate all needs by enabling organizations to instantly create, deploy and manage multiple, local, isolated virtual environments on a single user endpoint.

VMblog:  What were the contributing factors that led to the development of IWaaS as a new product category?

Gaffan:  Over and over we were hearing about the same dynamic at play within our prospective customers' operations:
  • Employees are becoming increasingly frustrated due to IT security restrictions which are severely limiting their productivity.
  • Security teams need to cope with significant security risks to enable corporate access from BYODs, while traditional VPN-only, DaaS and remote desktop solutions aren't making the cut anymore.
  • IT is tasked with finding cost-effective technology solutions that spur worker productivity through a superior user experience without incurring steep back-end infrastructure costs.

There has always been a tension within companies that has pitted user productivity against endpoint security. Approaches to IT have generally been "either/or." The more stringent the security policies, the less freedom end users have to access the tools, applications and websites they need to do their jobs effectively. Conversely, the more relaxed the security policies are made to account for user experience, the more vulnerable the endpoints are to security threats.

We have data that bears this out: We recently conducted a survey of CISOs from Fortune 2000 companies. At nearly two of every three companies, employees are restricted from browsing the internet freely. More than three out of four restrict their employees from installing third party apps on their corporate devices. And more than eight in ten companies don't grant users admin rights despite the fact that they need these privileges to perform their jobs. Further, half of CISOs surveyed said they believe that the lack of flexibility resulting from security measures is diminishing employee performance.

This has become especially relevant in the new remote-first era brought about by COVID-19. With everyone flipping to a work-from-home reality overnight, the need to better equip end users to work remotely and securely on corporate-owned or personal endpoints was amplified exponentially. We knew it was possible to create a solution that established user experience and corporate security as complementary strengths rather than competing priorities.

VMblog:  So is it really possible to build a single platform that both IT and Security will perceive as having been developed specifically for them?

Gaffan:  Well, security is in our DNA, of course, but we really saw an opportunity with IWaaS to look at securing corporate assets through the lens of the IT organization and its end-users. Protecting critical data is essential, but what good is that if you lock down your endpoints to such an extent that your employees and contractors can't access the applications or websites they need to do their jobs on their corporate-managed devices or personal laptops? Or remote workers who are connecting through VPN and VDI or DaaS have such a poor user experience due to lag that they're sitting around idle or ready to give up altogether?

IWaaS brings IT, Security and the workforce to the table to give each an equal share of voice. We help IT and security teams make their workforce happy with both a secure and productive work experience.

VMblog:  What advantages does IWaaS offer that VDI and DaaS don't?

Gaffan:  To start with, it offers a superior user experience. Beyond that, it serves both IT and Security, who can work with one platform instead of multiple ones. It's super easy to use from an end-user perspective. And, to top it all off, it's cheaper than VDI or DaaS.

There are numerous benefits of IWaaS that make the solution a highly desirable alternative for companies that have grown accustomed to (or weary from!)  the resource-intensive and costly VDI and DaaS solutions on the market. Strong VM-based isolation is deployable on a mass scale in minutes through a lightweight installer, and endpoints can be fully managed from a multi-tenant, cloud-based management platform. IWaaS does not require installing an additional OS image, and it actually has no data center costs.

But what truly sets IWaaS apart from VDI or DaaS is the seamless user experience. IWaaS offers a simple and intuitive extension of the user's workstation, and, because the VM is running locally, leveraging dedicated hardware resources on the user's device, the user experience is dramatically better than VDI or DaaS solutions. End users won't experience the familiar frustration of laggy keystrokes or cursor movements that are a hallmark of legacy VDI and DaaS solutions.

VMblog:  In which industries do you anticipate IWaaS will gain traction quickly?

Gaffan:  We see a lot of interest from companies that are concerned with the threat of ransomware coming from a BYOD device and infecting their network. We also have gaming and financial companies asking for a separate zone to do the company tasks without seeing any performance impact. And in other verticals, like industrial and education, the workflows make isolated workspaces a natural and necessary approach to enabling end users with high-performant access while ensuring sensitive data is protected.

All companies have to protect their data and their customers' data. Hysolate IWaaS will be relevant in any industry where access to corporate assets needs to be tightly controlled and where workers and contractors will need the flexibility to operate both inside and outside of the corporate environment to get their work done efficiently.

VMblog:  How does the IWaaS solution align with what you see for the future of work in the next one, five or ten years?

Gaffan:  In conjunction with Team8, we recently conducted a survey of CISOs from Fortune 200 companies to look at trends and predictions for how COVID-19 is changing the way we work. A whopping 86 percent of respondents said that they believe work from home is here to stay. If they're right, the real question then becomes, "To what extent will companies adopt WFH policies?" If they're going to embrace some combination of in-office work and WFH, enterprises need the flexibility to adapt and the agility to do it quickly. They'll need to ensure their employees can be productive and efficient in any number of environments, and they'll need to know that the company's critical data is protected regardless of the setting and the endpoint from which a worker chooses to access that data.

More than half of CISOs surveyed -- 57 percent -- report having relaxed their security policies in order to boost worker productivity in this new WFH reality. Isolated workspaces are the best way to secure the data, and Hysolate IWaaS is the best way to ensure both worker productivity and endpoint security remain in balance.

We're committed to making sure that corporate-managed endpoints, non corporate-managed and personal devices, alike, are equally capable of providing workers with the on-ramp they need to tap into not only secure corporate data and sanctioned applications, but also the websites, third-party applications and other tools they need to do their jobs in a remote-first world.

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Published Tuesday, October 06, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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