It's more confusing than "the cloud," that other topic we cover quite a bit at ReadWriteWeb.
For the sake of those who don't know, virtualization is really pretty simple when you think about what it makes possible to do. Do you have a Mac? You can run Windows on it, too. How? Virtualization. How about all those smartphone apps with that data from work? Virtualized apps can be isolated in case you leave that smartphone on the bus.
We need to get over the confusion that comes with virtualization. I'll give you three reasons why. These are all related to security.
This is Not Your Grandmother's Desktop: The desktop is no longer just the PC. You need to keep it secure, be it your laptop or your tablet. Hosted, virtual desktops allow for more control over apps and data in case your mobile device gets stolen.
Identity: How many online identities do you have? A virtualized desktop can separate that identity maze by isolating apps that are mission critical. Those isolated apps can be administered by IT and have their own separate identity protocol.
Data Management: A virtualized data environment can be a safeguard in case of attacks. As The Register points out:
Virtualization also brings with it an additional degree of resilience. Virtual environments can be configured to incorporate fail-safe mechanisms, so if a virtual machine goes down, it can be started up elsewhere (or indeed, two machines can be running in parallel with replicated state). VMs can also deliver what is known in security parlance as 'separation of concerns' - specific applications can be run in their own virtual machines, meaning that if one is compromised or goes down, it is less likely to bring others down with it.
Virtualization need not be confusing. If you think of its outcomes, it becomes a far more simple concept to understand.