It’s a definite hot-button issue these days – more and more companies are utilising remote desktops for their telecommuting workers. But, in this great rush to employ virtual desktop interfaces (VDI), are network administrators also conforming their virtual desktop security where remote access permissions are prevalent?
If you’re already curious and searching out articles like this one, chances are you could do well with having a more optimised VDI security strategy – something Invotec can help you with right away.
And, with cybersecurity exploits on the rise, you don’t want to wait too long for a security vulnerability assessment
What is VDI, and How Can You Maximise Virtual Desktop Security?
Also known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VDI is a virtualisation technique enabling access to a virtualised desktop, which is hosted on a remote server over the Internet. It refers to the software, hardware and other resources required for the virtualisation of a standard desktop system.
VDI is a shadow copy of the desktop including its OS, installed applications and documents, which are stored and executed entirely from the server hosting it. VDI provides users the ability to access their desktop remotely, often even from a handheld device because the entire process of executing the interface is done at the central server.
VDI operates by storing OS preferences, software applications, document and other customised data on a server in the cloud. In theory, or ideally, the user experience is the same as on a physical desktop.
Virtual desktop interfaces were primarily designed to provide global access to desktop systems. They are also used in designing disaster recovery and backup solutions. This is done by routinely updating the desktop’s data on a remote server and enabling the interface for users in case of a system disruption.
Establishing a Virtual Desktop Security Policy
Before you provide anyone with remote access to your network, you need to create a data security policy. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Think about what data can be accessed and who can access it. For example, some data may be off limits for everyone working remotely, or you may want to provide different people with access to different categories of your data. Also, consider the type of devices that your employees use while they are offsite, e.g. should they be allowed to use their own laptops?
A simple one-page document is all that you need but you should take steps to educate your team to make sure that the policy is communicated properly. Everyone using your network needs to understand the day-to-day risks of accessing data and the important role they play in managing this. Like many small businesses, you probably rely on trusting your employees and having an honesty based system, e.g. restricting remote access to certain devices. However, you can also use technology to protect your business, as outlined in the next point.
Are you duly convinced, and ready to go? Call one of our friendly Melbourne IT service providers now at 1300 468 683 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get started right away with virtual desktop security on remote access workstations that produces peak client satisfaction!
Closing the Security-Vulnerability Doorway
You may be leaving the front door to your business wide open to viruses or hackers without the right controls in place. Allowing remote access makes your data more vulnerable to attack. Imagine a row of homes where some have locked gates so you can’t even reach the front door, some have open gates but the front door is locked, while others have their gates and doors wide open.
Which homes are most at risk to unwanted or unauthorised entry?
By allowing direct remote access to your on-premise servers or PCs you are like the house with the unlocked front door – virtually anyone can come in.
With a gateway such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can control who comes in and what they have access to. Once someone’s ID has been verified and entry granted, a gateway can control where they can go within the network – for example, to their PC but not the CEO’s computer, and what functions they can perform. A VPN setup can also help you track who goes (or attempts to go) where.
The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend has the potential to cause a heap of problems for many small and mid-sised entities. Although you can control most aspects of your company’s computers, when staff wants to use their own devices you lose much of this control – even with a gateway in place.
For example, you can make people have the right antivirus program installed before granting access, but it’s more difficult to control what information is downloaded and where it is stored. This could include innocent looking files which could wreak havoc on your network.
According to a joint white paper authored by Citrix and TechTarget, “Some say that traditional mobile device management (MDM) is the answer. However, for organisations that have implemented MDM, the real world has shown that it’s not a complete solution. In fact, users do not accept the notion that IT must manage and control their mobile devices in order for them to use those devices to conduct business. As a result, mobile control is slipping away quickly. A new approach is needed. All organisations – from large enterprises to smaller nonprofits – must rethink where they’re headed with mobility.”
Restricting Public WiFi
The smartphones and laptops of today are often set up to scan for and automatically connect to public WiFi networks which are unencrypted (a clear and present threat to virtual desktop security) and can leave your information open to interception. You’ll want to ensure your team knows the risks and that your policy states that these shouldn’t be used at all unless with a Gateway. Mobile phone data connections are a much better option.
Although we’re focusing here on remote desktops, it’s important to take into account other areas which can reduce virtual desktop security risks, for example, the importance of good password management. Educate your team on password good practice techniques including the risks of social engineering – the use of deception to access sensitive information such as passwords.
Helping You Manage the Risks of Remote Access
There are many benefits to allowing your workers to work remotely such as happier and more productive employees, however, you do need to consider the risks to your business. Once you map out your remote access/telecommuting policy, you’ll probably find that the actions to take will flow from there.
However, if you need help making this happen to speak to an Invotec rep ASAP – we’ve had a lot of experience working with small- to mid-sized business clients on these aspects of their businesses.
Get Reliable Virtual Desktop Security as a Service for Your Business Now
You need more reliable IT services now than you’ve been used to in years past – and you need no-nonsense, qualified experts in technology management. With us, you’ll find out how greatly improved IT system performance and security often equals greater profitability.
Invotec is a leader among IT security service providers in Melbourne working for smaller business enterprises who want to optimise their virtual desktop security for safer remote access, so call us at 1300 468 683 or email us at email@example.com for more info or to get started right away!