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Protecting Virtual Desktops Is Critical for Remote Employees

Posted by Matthew Delman on November 24, 2020
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With more people working from home than ever before in history, virtual desktop infrastructures have arisen as a fast and cost-effective method to ensure that remote workers can access the applications they need from wherever they are. In fact, VDI use might soon increase, as Gartner recently found that 74 percent of CFOs intend to shift some positions to working from home permanently because of increased efficiencies. 

VDI use was on the rise prior to the current environment too. According to Spiceworks research, 32 percent of enterprises currently employ virtual desktops, with 12 percent expecting to implement VDI in the next two years. The adoption statistics become even more impressive among enterprises, with 50 percent already using virtual desktops compared to 24 percent of small and midsize businesses. 

This is huge for a technology that barely had roots in the enterprise 10 years ago. Virtual desktops of many varieties, such as cloud-delivered Desktop-as-a-Service as well as server farms running proprietary virtualizations, are used across the business world. For a variety of reasons as well, including:

  • Cost-savings and reduced operational TCO -- As the number of virtual instances increases, virtual desktop infrastructure provides a cost-effective way to quickly spin up new desktop access to applications. For companies that have a high numbers of users who require only a limited set of applications, such as in a call center, a virtual desktop infrastructure allows the IT team to quickly and efficiently allow multiple employees to access the tools they need. 
  • Improved employee mobility -- Virtual desktops enable workers to log into their specific instance wherever they physically are. What this means in practice is that employees no longer need to carry a bulky laptop or even a tablet with them to have access to information on the go. 
  • Increased data privacy controls -- Control over data access is crucial for regulated industries like healthcare (HIPAA) and financial services. A virtual desktop infrastructure centralizes data governance and controls, and is crucial for compliance with rules around handling of personally identifiable information (PII). 
  • Ability to recycle old technologies -- A thin client terminal used to access a virtualized desktop does not need to be kept as up to date as a traditional physical desktop. As a result of the VDI server being the host of the CPU, memory, and disk resources, old desktops and laptops can easily be repurposed to access virtual machines as needed. 
  • Tighter control over installed applications -- With a virtual desktop infrastructure, IT normally has tight administrative control to determine which applications are installed on the system. This avoids the issue of regular end-users installing potentially unwanted applications. 
  • Improved patch management processes -- One of the biggest security risks in the modern enterprise is unpatched vulnerabilities. With physical workstations, IT often has to depend on individual users to update their systems. In a virtualized environment, IT can update the golden image--especially valuable for non-persistent VDIs--at the end of the day and then be confident that everything is up to date when users login the next morning. 
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