The Age of VDI Clients
The first Thin Clients were designed to address the cost, complexity and management challenges of standard IT setups. Today, their use cases go beyond these as companies are always looking for new ways to harness their potential.
So, what is a Thin Client device and what makes it so appealing to the masses?
To begin with, these systems quicken setup and you can put them into operation in minutes without a dedicated IT team. They boost productivity as compared to fat clients which have long repair times that lead to delays and downtime. Now, a major reason behind rising Thin Client adoption is it enables access to desktops and applications from virtually anywhere. Today, these endpoints remain the most cost-effective, flexible and reliable options and they are known for their low power consumption. What’s more, they are the driving force behind Virtual Desktop Infrastructure VDI.
What About VDI?
This technology involves hosting desktop operating systems like Linux and Microsoft Windows on remote servers in data centers. Client data and desktop images are managed within Virtual Machines (VMs). These are operating system installations or application environments which function as an actual computer. Next, virtualization software allows you to access your desktop OS as if it is on your PC. You can also use the same to access information and present it to workstations across LAN or WAN.
The question is: why go the VDI route? Firstly, users often complain about the difficulties they face in traditional desktop computing. Common examples include high availability needs and on-demand storage and performance expectations which the standard computing model cannot meet.
Secondly, businesses are looking for ways to fulfill growing security demands and manage data centrally in the easiest possible manner. This is understandable, considering that information security is a major concern as cyber threats continue to rise. Moreover, the evolving workplace has geographically dispersed teams increasingly working on multiple devices. This gives a compelling reason to facilitate enterprise-level security by shifting to VDI. It delivers a centralized backend infrastructure backed by reliable software and hardware solutions that provide access to specialized applications and resources. At the same time, this platform remains 100% contained within your protected network, hence dynamically mitigating security risks. By placing VMs within such networks, you create a controlled and managed workforce. This is always the case, whether they work in the same place or are spread out remotely.
It comes as no surprise that end users and network endpoints represent two significant security vulnerabilities in conventional client/server computing. There may be attempts to delete files, install unauthorized software or copy sensitive data to removable storage devices. What’s more, unsuspecting users may become targets of malicious websites. So, how can you deal with such situations?
Thin Clients to the Rescue
The main benefit of these VDI devices is that they prevent direct access to the endpoint OS. When it comes to a Thin Client, no information resides on the device itself. End users can access and manage information which remains safe in the data center. This improves data integrity because the information itself stays in one place even when accessed remotely by several users. In turn, this mitigates common problems like version control where multiple users in different places access files. Also, working from home becomes easier as staff can use a Thin Client to access data and perform tasks. At the same time, their families could use PCs for personal undertakings. This eliminates the risk of obtaining malware or viruses from a shared network because VDI setups stay isolated from other activities.
Next, the centralized management software tools that come with Thin Clients play a key role in determining how secure these devices are. To begin with, the software should not only be feature-rich, easy to understand and use. It must include:
. A secure login system.
. A centralized configuration and endpoint management platform. It has to be comprehensive enough to quickly change all settings when needed.
. Cloud capability.
. Efficient web-based management technology.
. Real-time reporting on Thin Client computer status from a single comprehensive page.
These capabilities add to IT infrastructure security by reducing tech support and making Thin Clients generally resistant to tampering. So, the odds of these endpoints becoming malware-infected or hacked are very slim.
Primarily, the data center security that comes with using one of these devices is a bonus point. This client makes a powerful risk management tool because it is simply an access endpoint which displays virtual desktops and applications. Also, consider its other features such as:
. Limited moving parts.
. Write-protected hard disk drive.
. No local data storage.
. Strict admission control which prevents unauthorized personnel from accessing IT systems.
. Data backups that ensure easy restoration of accidentally deleted data.
With such features, the client ensures that user data, corporate information, and intellectual property remain safe at all times. Evaluate this approach against PCs where the presence of local data storage paves the way to security breaches. Chalk up another reason for switching to a VDI setup powered by Thin Clients.
Points to Note
Thin Clients provide far fewer opportunities for cybercriminals to carry out suspicious activities. Even then, it would be wrong to say that they are completely immune to potential security threats and attacks. Malware and viruses can penetrate a network through a USB stick, locally accessed web browser or locally connected peripheral devices. Take another example where a user visits a malicious website. Although system infection is possible, it will affect the desktop OS instead of the Thin Client itself. This is because the device remains immune by not making any form of direct contact with such websites.
In any situation, steps should be taken to prevent security attacks. Devices, especially those with common operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X), must integrate security solutions offering advanced threat protection features. For example, ClearCube CD8851 model incorporates Cloud Desktop OS, a minimal footprint OS option for our Thin Clients. You can locally install the OS or initiate network booting for Zero Client-like security. It helps centrally manage virus-proof Thin Clients which can connect to:
. Hosted desktops.
. Cloud-hosted desktops.
. Centrally-hosted applications out-of-the-box.
With CD8851, you can also boost hardware and data security by removing local disks to reduce the chances of theft and misuse. Browser-based desktop management with real-time monitoring, job scheduling, and asset management further deliver transparency to your system.
Preventing cyber crimes has never been so important in this digital era. This is on account of the evolution of mobile teams and mobile applications and the IoT being incorporated into business. Adopting software-driven Thin Clients helps because they provide greater access controls over mobile device usage and your overall IT environment.
For more information on how you can up the cybersecurity ante through Thin and Zero Clients, please visit our website. Also, feel free to avail a Free Demo unit for a deeper understanding of how our devices support VDI deployments.