Last year, 91% of companies faced security incidents, and 13% suffered financially. Virtual workplaces are not a panacea for all ills, but a step towards protecting corporate data. Experts understand in detail what VDI is, what disadvantages are possible during implementation, to whom, and what exactly will be useful.
What is VDI and How Does It Work
VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, is a virtual desktop infrastructure. Before the advent of personal computers, an employee of the organization sat at a table with papers, reports, paper clips, folders. With the spread of PCs, data was gradually transferred to them. The same folders and “papers” appeared on the employee’s monitor, to which programs were added. All this was stored locally — on the computer’s hard drive.
VDI, or workplace virtualization— is a concept in which data from an employee’s PC is stored centrally, and each employee has a virtual PC. This is convenient for business because there is no sensitive data on the employee’s hard drive anymore. The server administrator creates a virtual workplace with a separate set of applications, programs, documents, and accesses that are stored on the server – in the data center. The connection and all the work of the employee go through the “layer” – the “thin client”.
A “thin client” is a specialized mini-PC with characteristics sufficient to support the operation of data transfer protocols (RDP, ICA, PCoIP). The client does not store anything, does not perform calculations, does not draw graphics, but broadcasts an image from the server to the monitor. That is why it is called “thin” (it is not a physical characteristic).
Modern “thin clients” work with all operating systems, for example, Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, support local networks, remote access, audio and video conferencing. Additionally, they allow you to work with flash drives, smart cards, Etoken, scanners, and printers.
Sometimes a regular PC is used instead of a “thin client”.
Advantages, disadvantages, and features of VDI
For an employee with VDI, nothing changes — the same desktop, the same OS, and programs are on the screen. But such a system is more convenient for the IT department due to several advantages:
- centralized management,
Leaks happen both in small coffee shops and corporations. That is why credit card data of large banks or records of call centers of telecom operators appear on the black market.
Usually, the weak link in security is a person. An employee can take work home, become a victim of corporate espionage, or accidentally upload a malicious file. In addition, the hard drive fails due to natural wear, strong vibration, or accidental impact, and some of the data may be accidentally deleted.]
VDI facilitates workplace management. Usually, system administrators and heads of IT departments work with a “zoo” of applications, licenses, and office equipment from different vendors of varying degrees of “fatigue”. Maintenance takes a long time, and chaos makes it difficult to use uniform solutions and standards.
This is a consequence of the previous paragraphs – centralized management reduces costs. For example, buying a PC workstation for dozens of employees, installing an OS, configuring, and so on is a big expense of money and time. VDI requires much less infrastructure: you will need a server, a monitor, and a “thin client”. At the same time, the “thin client” is easier and faster to configure.