When the user is done with a desktop session, that image of the desktop, which might include a virus or worm that the user has inadvertently picked up, is flushed from the system and the next boot goes back to a clean LivePC image stored on the user's disk drive or other memory device. Because of MokaFive's ability to compress the desktop, it can be fitted on a USB device and quickly loaded onto a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer.
The MokaFive user first has to download a MokaFive Player in which a Live PC virtual machine will run. Player is the equivalent of the Adobe Reader installed on user desktops for reading documents in the Adobe's PDF file format, said Whaley. MokaFive Creator generates virtual desktops on a central server, MokaFive Player runs them on the user's desktop, and MokaFive Service Management Console allows for their remote supervision and updating. Even though the user may be disconnected, his VM will be updated with the latest security patches and operating system changes as he logs back into headquarters, where the Rejuvenation feature of the management console brings his VM back into conformance with the latest version.
Given the light "updating" workload of the central server, "You don't need an expensive server hardware infrastructure. That's the biggest difference," said Whaley.
One early user of the approach is a health care plan that equips doctors in a hospital with a USB device that contains their desktop, which can be activated on any laptop or PC in the hospital as they make their rounds. If the USB device is lost, no patient data is exposed because it's been encrypted.
In addition, if someone finding the device plugs it into a PC and attempts to use the virtual machine, the Rejuvenation feature detects the device and downloads a "poison pill" that kills the VM and erases its data.
Road warriors or work-at-home employees represent "a nightmare to IT administrators" trying to guarantee the security of the data they work with. With MokaFive virtual desktops, some of the worry goes away, Whaley said.
MokaFive Virtual Desktop Solution is available immediately for free download in its express version and offers cost-savings even in its paid version, said Whaley. A professional version is available for a $79 to $99 annual subscription.