Implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Steps You Might Consider

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is simply a different way users can access their desktop – remotely. By transforming tradition desktops into a cloud-like service it offers flexibility and scalability allowing employees to remote-in anywhere and on any device.

If you are thinking of implementing VDI at your workplace we have put together a few steps that you may want to consider.

  1. Choose the Right Virtualization Approach – A company can virtualize in different ways so, a decision needs to be made between whether to virtualize the entire desktop environment on a server. Or create remote access terminals where applications are hosted on a central server.
  2. Assess the Network before Development – Conduct an assessment of the network to check whether there will be adequate bandwidth to support the peak load of each virtual desktop user.
  3. Evaluate the Different Thin Clients – To implement VDI you will need to decide on a ‘Thin Client Terminal Management Software System’. It is advisable for businesses to look at how each department uses different applications in order to choose the most suitable option and to test which will provide the best interface and usability for the business needs.
  4. Develop a Desktop Virtualization Strategy – Servers are the heart of desktop virtualization so, check whether the current infrastructure has the sufficient capacity to deploy VDI. You will need to check whether the Critical CPU, memory, I/O resources are available to support the peak processing demands of users and make sure the datacentre SAN has enough storage to host all the virtual desktops you are planning to implement.
  5. Security – It is fundamental to have strong security measures controlled by IT administrators, they should implement access control and configure each user with the right access level and policies. When deploying VDI it is also important to have endpoint security in place to secure each endpoint.
  6. Choose a Data Backup solution – In order to backup your new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure a virtual or cloud backup solution will be required.  You can use products such as Veeam and Doubletake; each will offer great benefits but, you need to choose the one that is most suited to the business disaster recovery planning requirements.
  7. Plan, Communicate and Deploy – The length of time it takes to deploy VDI in a corporation depends on the size of the company. But, once a plan is in place it should be communicated to the employees stating the benefits of this change, the timescales and any expected downtime that may occur. This will help eliminate confusion, doubts and gain employees buy-in.
  8. Finally, Test your Backups – Always conduct backups regularly, consistently and check whether they were successful to ensure you will always have an up-to-date copy of your data in case of a disaster.

For more information on VDI and how you could benefit contact us today.

Mobile Device Management – Netshield New Service Announcement

On the 15th April 2013, Netshield highlights the importance of mobile data security and protection,by launching a new service – ‘Mobile Device Management’ (MDM).

This new addition to their comprehensive portfolio of Managed IT Services will help businesses lower potential data security risks involved with corporate mobile device usage and ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies in the workplace.

Richard Carty Commercial Director of Netshield commented ‘Due to the growing demand by our customers for ‘Workforce Mobility’ Netshield recognised the need for MDM; as on average employees carries 3 devices with them and working on them while on the move, which can increase IT security vulnerabilities.’

‘Mobile Device Management is essential to today’s businesses. Our new service will enable our customers to work anywhere in the world without worrying about potential data security breaches or business data falling into the wrong hands if the device is lost or stolen’.

For more information on the service visit our website or call us on 0845 603 5552

Corporate BYOD: The Benefits and Risks

One in four devices used for work are now either smartphones or tablets, and on average, an individual carries or has access to at least three devices. It is not surprising that the ability to work anywhere and anytime has led to the growth of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) – part of the broader consumerization of IT trend – where employees are using personally-owned devices for business purposes.

IT security - Netshield

‘1 in 4 devices used for work are now mobile devices’

BYOD can provide a number of benefits to organizations of any size: enabling a mobile workforce, improving productivity, reducing costs, etc. It offers employees flexibility, providing them the ability to have a work-life balance that is personalized. Although the BYOD trend brings benefits, it also has corporate security implications.

IT departments often perceive personal devices as a corporate risk, because it is a foreign object to the IT infrastructure, with an unknown history, unknown level of security measures and no control over the level of access.

Corporations can take the stance of prohibiting personal devices, but it would not solve the issue, as employees are often undeterred by security policies and access corporate data anyway, which means it will be unmonitored and even more of a security threat to the IT network.

It has been predicted that by 2018, 70% of professionals will conduct their work on personal devices. Companies need to embrace the trend by taking a structured approach to BYOD with detailed policies in place. A non-structured approach can potentially weaken a company’s data security barrier, cause compliance issues and increase vulnerability to cyber crimes.

Corporations also need to assess the benefits and tailor the policies to the company culture and regulatory requirements. For example, IBM adopted a BYOD policy, but they banned the use of Dropbox, a cloud storage provider, and Siri, Apple’s personal assistant service, due to security concerns.

BYOD policies need to be carefully considered and implemented. Employees must be educated about the importance of data security and incident reporting; procedures must be in place if a device containing business data is lost or stolen, as it can have huge data security implications. Data security needs to be built into the corporate culture.

Protection from data breaches need to be considered when implementing BYOD, like having a mobile management system in place that would allow an IT administrator to carry out tasks such as enforcing corporate security policies or wiping the device if it was lost or stolen. Ensuring devices have authentication processes and encryption is also advisable.

BYOD and the mobile workforce trends are set to grow, despite the security concerns. If BYOD deployment is executed with a structured approach, with sufficient policies and security measures in place and employees are educated on the importance of data security, corporations will benefit from BYOD in the long term.

If you require more information on BYOD implementation and security please contact us. This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of AmCham Connect.