Have you ever….
I was travelling on vacation and wanted to pull up my work email. I was in a hotel and hadn't brought my laptop because I didn’t really want to spend a lot of time with it, and lugging it through customs wasn't going to be fun. So, I logged on at my hotel's workstation and checked my Gmail and my work email through Microsoft Outlook's Web Access.
I closed the browser and made sure that my session ended and I went on with my vacation.
I was at a restaurant and decided to save some data and logged onto the free Wi-Fi they offered. I logged in on my laptop and checked my email and logged into a few websites for work. It made my lunch really productive.
It is happening all too often, but these free wi-fi spots are not safe. In a USA Today article from back in 2013, Larry Higgs writes "How hard is it to access your private information? Ryan McVeety, a senior in Red Bank Regional High School's information technology academy, set up a demonstration to show how easy it is to read a user name and password on an unsecured network. Seconds after a "victim" typed in a user name and password, McVeety, of Little Silver, who studied cybersecurity at Red Bank Regional, was able to capture them on another computer and read the information back."
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI is a great way to safeguard from these free Wi-Fi locations. Employees have a tendency to do what's easy and convenient, not always realizing how much risk they are exposing the company to.
Let's start with our first example, the vacationer using a shared device in a high traffic area. Without VDI, the information and cookies still exist on the machine. Depending on what the user did, the information could be grabbed by nefarious individuals.
With VDI, there isn't any data on the shared device. Accessing through a web browser, one of the ways you can use VDI, doesn't install any software or place any data on the users' actual device, and the data from the session is not on the shared computer, protecting you and your data.
What about the second situation?
It is very similar, but the user probably feels even safer. That's the scary piece of it. They think that since the information was on their device, it's safe. But as you could see from the USA Today article referenced above, anyone can "hack" your information or even transfer a virus.
However, with VDI you can deploy data center level governance at the desktop level. It allows you to deploy a freshly scanned desktop each time the user logs in. So, if there is a virus out there, it could make it onto the device, but not the virtual desktop.
Now, you may have thought using VPN technology is a good fit here in place of VDI, and it is a step up from having the information on the actual device. But, if the end point or device becomes infected, such as via home web surfing on a shared computer or over a public Wi-Fi, you are exposing the corporate LAN to whatever is executing on the client device. This does not happen with VDI.
Considering a VDI implementation? Reach out to the experts at UltraLevel. We have handled numerous implementations for small companies and multi-billion dollar organizations, alike. Utilize our expertise to assist and understand if VDI is the right solution for your organization. Contact us at VDIExpert@UltraLevel.com