Use Virtual Desktop Infrastructure safely

The increasing popularity of mobile working and the associated use of hybrid cloud environments leads to a diversity of IT environments. This makes networks more difficult to manage, secure and keep running. VDI environments can be a solution.


With a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), users can work with applications that run on virtual machines (VMs). It makes no difference whether the respective applications are hosted on physical servers or in the cloud. A VDI solution therefore enables the employees of a company to carry out exactly the same actions when they are on the road or in their home office as with their PC in the office.


High security through VDI

In addition to high mobility, a VDI also offers many safety-related advantages. Probably the biggest advantage here is the centralization of the configuration management. In an emergency, admins can, for example, change configurations centrally and safely to reduce the risk for other virtual workloads.

Another key benefit of a virtual desktop infrastructure is that data never leaves the data center. The probability of data loss due to lost or stolen devices is therefore very low. In addition, since the virtualized data does not reside on the endpoints themselves, the organization can more easily meet data management and security requirements.

Whereas a Virtual Private Network (VPN) sends data to and from devices outside of its own network, a VDI provides a self-contained business environment accessible through a single browser window. In addition, a VDI does not place high demands on the end devices. Business applications and data can be securely accessed with virtually any device that has a browser and an Internet connection.


VDI vulnerabilities

Despite all the advantages, a VDI is not completely resistant to modern cyber attacks. For example, cybercriminals could exploit vulnerabilities in the remote desktop protocol.

The advantage of being able to log in on any device also comes with another security risk. Any user who has access to the username and password can log in on any device and access the company data. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is therefore essential.

Another security risk is the hypervisor of the VDI environment, which allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a host computer. Cyber criminals could install a fake hypervisor and take control. To avoid such attacks, which are difficult to detect, security protocols with time-dependent checks should be set up. For example, a device can be automatically shut down if it does not sync within a certain time interval. In addition, a monitoring tool for continuous network monitoring and a centrally managed endpoint solution are recommended.

Because VDI environments use physical resources, a security incident in one virtual network can also compromise the routers and links of other virtual networks. Any intruders should therefore be isolated as quickly as possible using micro-segmentation so that they cannot spread through the network.

In addition to the measures already mentioned, a comprehensive safety culture should be established in the company. All employees should be aware of the above risks and receive regular training.



So while VDI isn’t completely risk-free, it offers great opportunities to create mobile workplaces. On the one hand, the central management of network resources enables more secure access and effective remote working. On the other hand, the VDI makes it comparatively easy to solve compliance and data protection problems. If companies are aware of the security risks listed and actively address them, the VDI is an excellent home office solution. Learn more.