The demand for desktop virtualization is being driven, at least in part, by the explosive growth in mobile work styles. That's a key takeaway from a new global market study commissioned by virtual solutions provider Citrix, whose virtualization, networking and cloud solutions are delivered to more than 100 million corporate desktops daily.

The survey found that 55 percent of responding companies will deploy new desktop virtualization for the first time by 2013. Of those surveyed, 86 percent said security was the biggest reason, and that desktop virtualization is a strategic choice for improving security in an age of multiple devices.

Security Joins Savings

The white paper describing the study noted that "familiar advantages of desktop virtualization include the ability to enable a more flexible workplace," provide support for mobile workers, and effectively manage the variety of devices typically found in an organization. It noted that security now joins savings as a reason in favor of desktop virtualization.

The kinds of security that are driving desktop virtualization include the need for secure access for mobile and user-owned devices, increased security requirements for apps and data, the desire to be able to accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce, and simplified risk management.

Citrix Chief Security Strategist Kurt Roemer said in a statement accompanying the survey that desktop virtualization offers centralized control and management of software devices, as well as "granular, policy-based access control and support for compliance requirements." With its infrastructure level of information governance, he said, it enhances risk management.

Provisioning, Isolation, Wiping

Other benefits found useful by IT managers in the study include the ability for immediate provisioning of security updates, apps and access, which was identified as a key benefit by 60 percent of respondents. Some 54 percent believed that the instant isolation of a compromised application was a key benefit of desktop virtualization, while 32 percent identified the ability to remotely wipe data from devices.

The survey also found that virtually all respondents -- 95 percent of those surveyed -- believed that virtualization was effective in protecting information, while still allowing employees the ability to get the information they needed to do their jobs.

For device-related issues, nearly three-quarters of the surveyed IT decision makers see desktop virtualization as a way to immediately update an entire fleet of computers and devices, and 66 percent felt that the ability to deploy applications securely was a critical component in their decision to implement the technology.

The survey was conducted by independent market research firm Vanson Bourne, under a commission from Citrix. The survey covered 1,100 senior IT managers in October in 11 countries, including the U.S., U.K., The Netherlands, Germany and Canada. Three-quarters of those surveyed worked at enterprises of more than 1,000 employees, while the rest were in companies of 500 to 999 employees.