Virtual Desktop Infrastructure has been making waves since it hit the market way back in 2006. That’s when VMware coined the term VDI. The idea was to run a desktop operating system in a virtual machine located in a remote data center. End-users would connect to desktop images via thin clients or fat desktops. Applications and data would remain in the data center.
Many of the top VDI benefits originally touted remain key reasons IT departments rely on VDI, whether it’s on-premise or, more likely these days, hosted in the cloud.
Here are the top 5 VDI benefits:
1. Simplify IT Management
Perhaps the biggest benefit of VDI is that everything is managed in one central location. When new versions of applications come out, they can be added to a central desktop image instead of being installed — and then maintained and troubleshooted — on hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of end-user devices. Because end-users don’t have to give up their devices when operating systems are updated or applications are installed, their work isn’t likely to be interrupted.
Getting new employees set up is easy. IT administrators simply deploy the base image of what their machine should look like and then credential them into that image. And if an end-user device fails, not only won’t data be lost since it’s not on the device’s hard drive, IT can spin up a new virtual machine in minutes. This saves valuable desktop management time and gets the user back to productivity fast.
2. Gain Control
New users can be added or removed with a click of the mouse through Microsoft Active Directory, for instance. IT departments can control who is using what applications. They can also better control application versions, particularly if end-users aren’t given permission to install software on their own device.
3. Enhance Flexibility
VDI can make businesses more agile. They can quickly spin up new VMs for dev/test purposes, seasonal workers and contractors/consultants.
It also gives people more flexibility in how they work. They can use their device of preference to access VDI, as long as they have internet access. With 67% of employees using personal devices at work, this is advantageous for companies that support BYOD – otherwise known as Bring Your Own Device. Whether they use a smartphone, laptop, Apple, Windows or thin-client device, the user experience is the same.
4. Drive Cost Savings
Some companies that originally looked to VDI for cost savings found that the added storage required in on-premise data centers offset some of the efficiencies gained by not having as many fat clients. But with so many opting for desktop virtualization in the cloud these days, and many using smartphones and other devices to access it, virtual desktop infrastructure has become much more cost-effective. Companies that go the cloud route only pay for what they use and don’t have to maintain the VDI infrastructure. Plus, since they don’t need as much memory or storage on end-user devices, businesses can extend the life of corporate-owned devices and save on hardware purchases.
5. Support Remote Workers
The number of remote workers has grown 140% since 2005. That’s 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce. VDI helps the 66% of companies that offer this to their employees do so in a relatively simple fashion.
What about security?
Did you notice that security, which is often touted as a top VDI benefit, isn’t on the list? Actually, one of the top misperceptions about VDI is that it’s a security solution. Unfortunately for companies who operate on this belief, it couldn’t be further from the truth. And since they often put their sensitive information in VDI thinking it’ll be more secure, many of them experience serious problems.
The reality is that VDI is only a minor hurdle to determined cybercriminals. The reason for this is simple: VDI doesn’t isolate the remote sensitive resources from the devices used to access them. And because those devices are exposed to a variety of attack vectors, including email, web, external media, user-installed applications, and many others, it’s not hard for a cybercriminal to infiltrate.
Just thinking about all those companies using BYOD for VDI is scary. BYOD machines are even less likely to have even basic security measures on them.
Once hackers control the end-user’s device, it’s game over. They can easily access and control the VDI operating system and resources.
How Hysolate Keeps Sensitive Information Secure
The Hysolate Platform makes it easy for users to securely access and run sensitive information in a locked-down virtual machine on their laptops – not on remote servers. The sensitive VM runs alongside a VM that’s open to internet access and day-to-day work — and both virtual environments are fully and completely isolated from each other. Any malware that reaches the open VM is completely contained within it. It can’t see, and doesn’t know, that any other VM exists.
With Hysolate, you can opt to put VDI access in a lock-down VM that’s solely used for VDI. Or you can eliminate VDI altogether. That way, you get the security benefits VDI is inherently unable to provide, and users don’t have to be connected to the Internet access to do their work.