Frankenstein PC’s? Try Thin Clients Instead
Desktop PC’s were the only means for employees to get their work done. Along with the PC’s came excessive ports, old floppy drives, which eventually led into CD/DVD discs. PC’s. Overtime, USB’s standardized desktop PC’s and USB ports were becoming a norm along with the already established CD/DVD drives, but this also made it easier to insert various types of viruses into the PC. This is due to the fact that employees can use their USB’s that they’ve brought from home, which can potentially be infected with malware or some kind of virus, and ultimately seep through the network affecting other office PC’s as well.
The biggest issue with office PC’s is that the maintenance has to be performed more often than not. If there’s a lot of PC’s in the office, this would mean more hours that it would take to maintain them – this includes patching as well as replacement of hardware. Keeping spare parts on hand means purchasing inventory which is not always or possibly never in use. Documents can also be easily stolen, as sufficient clearance would allow them to simply transfer files with USB drives.
For these reasons already, thin clients seem to be the more favored use of device in the office environment. For those looking at IT budgeting, the costs for thin clients are substantially less than the typical desktop PC. The management for patching for individual PC’s in the office would also not be an issue, which includes being worry-free of hardware replacement. In thin clients, hard-drives do not exist, so they cannot crash and lose all sensitive data which currently resides within it. In terms of internal hardware, these devices hold very little (but also required) components, making haywires and malfunctions unheard of. As hard-drives are non-existent, software within the thin client become updated from the server. This also helps the IT team by no longer needing to schedule a maintenance appointment for every PC should there be any in the office space. A neat benefit is the ability to run multiple operating systems in a virtual network.
The biggest reason for switching over from office desktop PC’s to thin clients is the issue of security. Even though thin clients come with USB ports, the use of those ports are heavily limited via modifications from the administrator. This includes not allowing to boot, upload, or download. Since thin clients’ main purpose is to run using a virtual machine, they are “enclosed,” meaning they are unable to infect the entire office network. Using a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN), protection is further compiled if groups composed of include different sets of employees into the same network; accounting, marketing, engineering, etc. are groups that would be specific to only those employees within that group.
Securing virtual machines holds the same process as securing the physical machines since virtual attacks can come through both your regular and virtual network. To avoid such threats, it’s always a good idea to patch any and all security updates that is provided for your virtual machine software. Be sure to use separate network adaptors for physical devices to separate the virtual machines from the physical network, and to also use a firewall solution on both the virtual and physical networks for added security. It’s highly recommended to use virus protection software on the server that is holding the virtual machine network.
For all thin clients, a server is needed for it to be put to good use. Nowadays servers are much faster and hold higher capabilities, so they have the ability to handle multiple virtual machines at the same time. There are numerous vendors that make virtual machine software. Particular vendors require that each user must obtain a license. Other vendors provide software for free. It’s important to remember that thin clients are not the absolute final security of saving your network against a potential breach, but you’ll at the very least remove potential attacks that may seep into your network.