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Top Real World Use Cases for VDI and Secure BYO-PC

The rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements has made it necessary for companies to support a remote workforce. Off-site workers need to be able to access corporate applications and data, and may work from a wide variety of devices under a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) or bring-your-own-PC (BYO-PC) program. 

Historically, a common way of addressing the logistical and security challenges of remote work is to use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). VDI provides workers with remote access to virtualized desktops that are hosted within the corporate data center or cloud infrastructure. With VDI, companies maintain control over their data — which never leaves the hosted desktops — and provide a consistent work environment that employees can access from a range of devices. It does come with challenges though, including things such as cost, complexity, and latency issues. Today, however, there are new alternatives that can replace VDI.

In this blog, we’ll explore the most common use cases for VDI and introduce a new Secure BYO-PC approach that opens the door for more choices to solving secure remote work.

Real World Use Cases for VDI and Secure BYO-PC

 
 

How Companies Use VDI

VDI provides an organization with the ability to support remote workers while managing potential risks to corporate security and employee productivity.

These are some of the top VDI use cases for modern businesses:

Secure Remote Work

The recent rise in remote and hybrid work arrangements has brought various benefits for companies and their employees. However, these benefits also come with risks. For example, supporting remote work security requires organizations to have remote access control for remote workers to their applications and systems. This can increase the potential risk and impact of account takeover attacks and reduce an organization’s ability to secure and control its sensitive data.

VDI provides a solution to this problem, enabling companies to keep all of their data and applications in-house and providing remote workers with access to hosted desktops. This approach keeps sensitive data and functionality inside the perimeter and centralizes the remote work infrastructure, making it easier for an organization to monitor.

Supporting BYOD

Remote work and BYOD laptop programs often go hand-in-hand. When allowing employees to work from home, companies often permit them to use personally-owned devices to do so, which is more convenient for employees and eliminates the need for employers to buy, manage and ship company-owned laptops.

However, BYOD programs come with certain risks and challenges for an organization. These devices may have inadequate security, potentially exposing sensitive corporate data or granting attackers access to corporate systems. Additionally, supporting a wide range of devices can be difficult for IT staff, increasing calls to the help desk and negatively impacting employee productivity.

VDI helps to solve this problem by providing IT personnel with a simpler, more consistent environment to manage and secure. The virtual desktops accessed by employees can all be largely identical — ensuring that corporate applications work properly on them — and are centrally located, making them easier to secure. Remote workers can then access these virtual desktops via the device of their choice without concerns about whether or not a corporate application will be supported by the device or that an insecure personal device may leak sensitive information.

External Contractors and Partners

In addition to remote employees, an organization may also have contractors or vendors who have remote access to its systems. These third parties may need to use certain data to perform their roles or could remotely manage certain systems or functions for the organization.

However, these remote contractors and partners also pose a significant risk to an organization’s security. If their organizations are compromised, an attacker may abuse their access to the company’s systems. Also, if external partners or contractors can download corporate data to their devices, an organization lacks visibility and control over how this data may be used.

As with remote workers, VDI can help to manage the security risks of these third parties. Providing them with remote access to a managed desktop enables the organization to more effectively manage and monitor their access to company data, applications, and systems. This helps the organization to protect itself against potential supply chain attacks and ensures that external users only have the access that they need to perform their roles.

Lost and Stolen Devices

With remote and hybrid work arrangements, companies have a greater risk of lost and stolen devices. Employees may be working from a public space (coffee shop, library, etc.) or lose a device while traveling.

If an employee’s device is lost or stolen, an attacker may gain access to the contents of the device. This could allow them to steal sensitive company data stored on the device and potentially access the employee’s accounts on the corporate network and various applications.

VDI helps to manage the risks posed by lost and stolen devices because corporate data and applications are not stored on the device, and an employee only has a single point of access to corporate systems. If needed, the company can block the lost device from accessing the virtualized desktop, removing any risk to corporate data and applications.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR)

The recent rise in remote and hybrid work was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain operations while quarantine orders were in effect, companies allowed employees to work from home instead of coming into the office.

VDI provides an organization with the ability to rapidly transition over to remote work during an emergency. By spinning up additional remote desktops and providing employees with access to them, an organization can quickly transition its operations off-site in response to any event that would make on-site operations infeasible.

The design of VDI infrastructure also provides organizations with the ability to rapidly recover from business-disrupting events. For example, if an employee’s virtual desktop is encrypted with ransomware, a new virtual desktop — either a fresh image or a backup — can be quickly spun up. This enables the employee and company to get back to work quickly with minimal disruption and impact on the business.

A New VDI Alternative: Venn Secure BYO-PC

VDI is a common solution for remote work, but it does have its downsides. One is that it requires remote workers to have an Internet connection to do their jobs, which may not always be possible. Another is that the hosted virtual desktops may be located at a single location, potentially bringing the entire organization down if they are inaccessible due to an Internet or power outage or similar event. Beyond that there can be issues with cost, implementing a back-end infrastructure, complexity, and latency issues that can frustrate users.

Venn Software is a VDI alternative solution that provides all of the benefits without these downsides. Instead of relying on a host of virtualized desktops, Venn creates a secure enclave on each remote worker’s device. Venn secures remote work on any unmanaged or BYOD computer (BYO-PC) with a radically simplified and less costly solution than virtual desktops or having to lock down every PC. Similar to an MDM solution but for laptops – work lives in a company-controlled Secure Enclave installed on the user’s PC or Mac, where business activity is isolated and protected from any personal use on the same computer.

Securing remote work for employees contractors, and partnerss are common challenges for today’s modern business. Learn how to enable secure, productive remote work with Venn today.

FAQ’s

Why do companies use VDI?

Companies use VDI to support remote work while ensuring that employees can work effectively from a range of devices and that the company’s sensitive data and applications are appropriately protected.

What are the disadvantages of VDI?

VDI relies on a remote worker having an Internet connection to a location hosting virtualized desktops. If these desktops are down or inaccessible, the remote worker is completely unable to do their job.

What problem does VDI solve?

VDI enables companies to support remote work while managing potential security risks. With VDI, corporate data and applications remain within the corporate network, where the comclasspany can manage and monitor them, while employees remotely access this hosted infrastructure.

When should VDI not be used?

VDI is dependent on good and constant Internet access. If a remote worker (such as a traveling technician or someone who does a lot of video conferencing for their role) frequently lacks access to reliable network connectivity, then a VDI solution is not a good fit.

What is Secure BYO-PC?

BYOPC programs, according to Gartner, permit personally purchased client devices to execute enterprise applications and access company data. BYOPC is a logical extension of a remote or hybrid work program; allowing employees to use their own devices when working from their home offices makes sense and can be a cost-effective option for the business.

What problem does Secure BYO-PC solve?

Secure BYO-PC enables companies to support remote work while keeping data and applications secure and managing potential security risks. Work applications run locally within the Secure Enclave – visually indicated by the Blue Border™ – where business activity is isolated and protected from any personal use on the same computer. Company data is now protected without having to control the entire device, and as a result, remote work is secured without the cost, complexity and performance issues of VDI.3

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