Select Page

Workspace ONE UEM – Data Security, Data Privacy and Data Collection

A lot of businesses are getting more and more interested in a Unified Endpoint Management solution like Workspace ONE UEM. While EMM is pretty clear to everyone, UEM is far away from this status. During the meetings with customers about Workspace ONE we often hear concerns about “cloud” and the data which is being sent to the cloud.

Since this information about data privacy, data security or data collection regarding Workspace ONE is not easy to gather, I decided to make this information available here.

This topic is very important, because more businesses are open now to talk about cloud and hybrid solutions like Workspace ONE where the management backend is managed by VMware and only a few components need to be installed on-premises in your own data center:

Workspace ONE UEM SaaS Architecture

With the release of Workspace ONE UEM 1904 VMware started to publish “SaaS only releases“. Before this announcement an on-premises customer would get the on-prem installers three to four weeks after a new SaaS release has been made available. That’s why it’s clear that a lot more customers are having the same questions and requests when it comes to a cloud-based solution.

Of course, as we strive to bring you more cloud services at a faster pace, we will continue to add value with innovations in both our On-Premises and cloud offerings.

As a result, we are making a change to how we deliver Workspace ONE UEM beginning with Workspace ONE UEM Console 1904, which will be SaaS only release.

Which data are collected from users and devices? Who has access to this data?

  • By default, the solution only collects information necessary to manage the device, such as the device status, compliance information, OS, etc.; our solution may collect (if configured by administrator) or users may input data considered to be sensitive
  • The solution collects a limited personal data which includes user first and last name, username, email address, and phone number for user activation and management. These fields can be encrypted at rest in the solution database (AES 256). Customers may collect additional data points in the following matrix (as configured by the customer administrator): https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Workspace-ONE-UEM/1904/UEM_Managing_Devices/GUID-AWT-DATA-COLLECT-MATRIX.html
    • VMware automatically collects certain information when you use or access Online Properties (“VMware websites, online advertisements or marketing emails “) or mobile apps. This information does not necessarily reveal your identity directly but may include information about the specific device you are using, such as the hardware model, operating system version, web-browser software (such as Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer) and your Internet Protocol (IP) address/MAC address/device identifier. We also automatically collect and store certain information in server logs such as: statistics on your activities on the Online Properties or mobile apps; information about how you came to and used the Online Property or mobile app; your IP address; device type and unique device identification numbers, device event information (such as crashes, system activity and hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL), broad geographic location (e.g. country or city-level location) and other technical data collected through cookies, pixel tags and other similar technologies that uniquely identify your browser. Please refer to the VMware Privacy Notice for additional information.
  • VMware manages access to the SaaS environment while customers manage administrative and end-user access through the solution console
    • Access to the SaaS environment is technically enforced according to role, the principle of least privileges and separation of duties
    • Customers manage access entitlements for administrative and end users
  • VMware defines customer data related to the solution and/or hosted service in the VMware Data Processing Addendum

Is it possible to prevent data collection of specific information?

  • Customer administrators use granular controls to configure what data is collected from users and what collected data is viewable by admins within the Workspace ONE console. Use granular role-based access controls to restrict the depth of device management information and features available to each administrative console user.
  • For Workspace ONE UEM configure Collect and Display, Collect Do Not Display, and Do Not Collect settings for user data:
    • GPS Data
    • Carrier/Country Code
    • Roaming Status
    • Cellular Data Usage
    • Call Usage
    • SMS Usage
    • Device Phone Number
    • Personal Application
    • Unmanaged Profiles
    • Public IP Address
  • Customer administrators can choose whether to display or to do not display the following user information:
    https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Workspace-ONE-UEM/1904/UEM_Managing_Devices/GUID-AWT-CONFIGUREPRIVACYSETTINGS.html
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Phone Number
    • Email Accounts
    • Username

 Is the data in the cloud encrypted?

  • Yes – Certificate private keys, client cookie data and tokens are encrypted in the solution database with a derived AES 256-bit symmetric encryption with an IV.
    • Customers can enable encryption at rest for user first name, last name, email and phone number
    • We do not store AD/LDAP passwords in our database
  • VMware Content Locker, VMware Boxer and VMware AirWatch App Wrapping solutions use AES 256-bit encryption to secure data on mobile devices
  • Data between the web console (management console and Self Service Portal) and device is encrypted using HTTPS and is not decrypted at any point along the path
    • VMware leverages a 2048-bit key in the SaaS environment
    • An application server controls communication between the web console and the database to limit the potential for malicious actions through SQL injection or invalid input: No direct calls are made to the database
  • All sensitive interactions between AirWatch nodes (AirWatch hosting servers and the VMware Enterprise Systems Connector), between VMware AirWatch Agent and the AirWatch solution are accomplished using message level encryption. For these message level interactions, the AirWatch Cloud uses 2048-bit RSA asymmetric key encryption using digital certificates.
  • We encrypt AD/LDAP credentials on the device via AES 256-bit and store them in the device keychain (internal memory)

I hope this short article helps everyone to get the information they require for a Workspace ONE UEM SaaS project. I shared the same information with several customers from different businesses and so far all legal departments accepted the statements and moved forward with their project with Workspace ONE UEM. 🙂

Horizon on VMC on AWS Basics

VMC on AWS

In Switzerland where we have a lot of smaller to medium sized companies the demand for a  cloud solution is increasing. The customers are not yet ready to put all their servers and data into to the cloud, so they go for a hybrid cloud strategy.

And now it makes even more sense and got easier since VMware’s offering VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) exists. This service, powered by VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), brings VMware’s SDDC stack to the AWS cloud and runs the compute, storage and network products (vSphere, vSAN, NSX) on dedicated bare-metal AWS hardware. 

VMC on AWS

If you would like to try this offering you have the option for a Single Host SDDC which is the time-bound starter configuration and comes with the limitation of 30 days. After 30 days your Single Host SDDC will be deleted and all data will be lost as well. If you plan to scale up into a 3-host SDDC you retain all your data and you SDDC is not time bound anymore.

Availability

This pretty new service is already available in 13 global regions and already had 200+ released features since its launch. VMC on AWS is available almost everywhere – in US and Asia Pacific for example – and in Europe we find the service hosted in Frankfurt, London, Paris and Ireland. 

Use Cases

It’s not hard to guess what the use cases are for a service like this. If you are building up a new IT infrastructure, don’t want to have your own data center and purchase any server, then you might want to consider VMC on AWS. Another project could be to expand your market into a new geography and extend your footprint into the cloud based on a VMware-consistent and enterprise-grade environment in the AWS cloud.

A few customers are also finding a new way to easily deliver business continuity with VMware Site Recovery and take advantage of VMC on AWS which delivers a robust Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) possibility.

Another reason could be that your on-premises data center is in danger because of bad weather and you want to migrate all your workloads to another region.

Or you just want to quickly build a dev/test environment or do a PoC of a specific solution or application (e.g. VMware Horizon).

Elastic DRS

In my opinion EDRS is one of best reasons to go for VMC on AWS. EDRS allows you to get the capacity you need in minutes to meet temporary or unplanned demand. You have the possibility to scale-out and scale-in depending on the generated recommendation.

A scale-out recommendation is generated when any of CPU, memory, or storage utilization remains consistently above thresholds. For example, if storage utilization goes above 75% but memory and CPU utilization remain below their respective thresholds, a scale-out recommendation is generated.

 

 A scale-in recommendation is generated when CPU, memory, and storage utilization all remain consistently below thresholds.

This is interesting if your dekstop pool is creating more instant clones and the defined value of RAM for example is above the threshold. But there is also a safety check included in the algorithm, which runs every 5 minutes, to provide time to the cluster to cool off with changes. 

If you check the EDRS settings you have the option for the “Best Performance” or “Lowest Cost” policy. More information can be found here.

Horizon on VMC on AWS

For customers who are already familiar with a Horizon 7 on-premises deployment, Horizon on VMC on AWS lets you leverage the same architecture and the familiar tools. The only difference now is the vSphere outsourcing.

Use Cases

Horizon can be deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS for different scenarios. You could have the same reasons like before – data center expansion or to have a disaster recovery site in the cloud. But the most reason why a customer goes for Horizon on VMC on AWS is flexibility combined with application locality.

Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS

We have customers who were operating an on-premises infrastructure for years and suddenly they are open to a cloud infrastructure. Because the SDDC stack in the cloud is the same like in the private cloud the migration can be done very easily. You can even use the same management tools like before.

Minimum SDDC Size

The minimum number of hosts required per SDDC on VMware Cloud on AWS for production use is 3 nodes (hosts). For testing purpose, a 1-node SDDC is also available. However, since a single node does not support HA, it’s not recommended for production use.

Cloud Pod Architecture for Hybrid Cloud

If you are familiar with the pod and block architecture you can start to create your architecture design. This hasn’t changed for the offering on VMC on AWS but there is a slight difference:

  • Each pod consists of a single SDDC
  • Each SDDC only has a single vCenter server
  • A Horizon pod consists of a single block Horizon7Pod on VMC on AWS

Each SDDC only has one compute gateway which limits the connections to ~2’000 VMs or user sessions. This means that the actual limit per pod on VMC on AWS is ~2’000 sessions as well. When the number of compute gateways per SDDC can be increased, Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS will definitely have a comparable scalability with the on-premises installation.

You can deploy a hybrid cloud environment when you use the Cloud Pod Architecture to interconnect your on-premises and Horizon pods on VMC on AWS. You can also stretch CPA across pods in two or more VMware Cloud on AWS data centers with the same flexibility to entitle your users to one or multiple pods as desired.

Supported Features

The deployment of Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS started with Horizon 7.5 but there was no feature parity at this time. With the release of Horizon 7.7 and App Volumes 2.15 we finally had the requested feature parity. This means since Horizon 7.7 we can use Instant Clones, App Volumes and UEM. At the time of writing the vGPU feature is not available yet but VMware is working with Amazon on it. With the release of Horizon 7.8 a pool with VMware Cloud on AWS is now capable of using multiple network segments, allowing you to use less pools and/or smaller scopes. Please consult this KB for the currently supported features. 

Use AWS Native Services

When you set up the Horizon 7 environment in VMware Cloud on AWS you have to install and configure the following components:

  • Active Directory
  • DNS 
  • Horizon Connection Servers
  • DHCP
  • etc.

If you are deploying Horizon 7 in a hybrid cloud environment by linking the on-premises pod with the
VMC on AWS pod, you must prepare the on-premises Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to access
the AD on VMware Cloud on AWS.

My recommendation: Use the AWS native services if possible 🙂

AWS Directory Services

AWS Managed Microsoft AD is built on actual Microsoft Active Directory and does not require you to synchronize or replicate data from your existing Active Directory to the cloud. You can use standard Active Directory administration tools and take advantage of built-in Active Directory features, such as Group Policy and single sign-on (SSO).

Amazon Relational Database Service

Amazon RDS is available on several database instance types – optimized for memory, performance or I/O – and provides you with six familiar database engines to choose from, including Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database, and SQL Server. You can use the AWS Database Migration Service to easily migrate or replicate your existing databases to Amazon RDS.

This service allows you to quickly setup a SQL Express (not recommended for production) or regular SQL Server which can be used for the Horizon Event DB or App Volumes. 

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system so you can easily move your Windows-based applications that require file storage to AWS. Built on Windows Server, Amazon FSx provides shared file storage with the compatibility and features that your Windows-based applications rely on, including full support for the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS, Active Directory (AD) integration, and Distributed File System (DFS).

At the time of writing I have to mention that the FSx service has not yet officially been tested and qualified for User Environment Manager (UEM), but that’s no problem. Technically it’s working totally fine.

Amazon Route 53

The connectivity to data centers in the cloud can be a challenge. You need to manage the external namespace to give users access to their desktop in the cloud (or on-prem). For a multi-site architecture the solution is always Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), but how is this done when you cannot install your physical appliance anymore (in your VMC on AWS SDDC)?

The answer is easy: Leverage Amazon Route 53!

Amazon Route 53 effectively connects user requests to infrastructure running in AWS – such as Amazon EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancing load balancers, or Amazon S3 buckets – and can also be used to route users to infrastructure outside of AWS. You can use Amazon Route 53 to configure DNS health checks to route traffic to healthy endpoints or to independently monitor the health of your application and its endpoints. 

Check Andrew Morgans blog article if you need more information about Route 53.

Horizon on VMC on AWS rocks! 🙂