Improve VDI Security: Solutions and Best Practices

Enterprises that embrace virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) expect various security benefits such as centralized management over installed applications and desktops and improved patch-management processes. However, even with these benefits, there are valid VDI security concerns that organizations must address.

An insecure endpoint, compromised desktop session, or stolen password can easily expose the organization to multiple threats such as malware, ransomware, or network sniffing. Learn more about how VDI can enhance security, and discover best practices for achieving VDI security.

Security Benefits of Using VDI

VDI allows IT administrators to distribute virtualized applications and desktops to different endpoints in an organization. This is advantageous to the organization when it comes to security due to:

Centralized Management of Baseline Images

IT administrators can control what type of baseline image gets assigned to each endpoint from a single console. For example, suppose a certain OS gets infected and a patch is unavailable. In that case, IT administrators simply need to delete that OS version and allocate a different version to each end device.

Sensitive Data Remains in the Data Center

With VDI, data never leaves the data center, which is much more protected. This lessens the need for endpoint protection. Centralizing security operations in the data center also streamlines audit reporting requirements in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.

Robust Security Infrastructure for Remote Access

Accessing corporate resources via VDI is far more secure than using other technologies like virtual private networks (VPNs). With VPN, if an endpoint becomes compromised via public Wi-Fi, the entire corporate local area network (LAN) gets exposed to whatever is executing on the endpoint. VDI, on the other hand, has a lower risk and attack surface because data is centralized in a data center.

Common Security Risks with VDI

There is no doubt that VDI enables a more adaptive and flexible approach to security than traditional PC infrastructures. However, VDI is not a panacea for all the enterprise security aspects because of various risks such as:

Best Practices for Securing VDI

To maximize the security of your VDI deployment, IT administrators must adhere to the following best practices:

Restrict or Disable Services

A secure VDI environment is one that allows users to access only the services they need. Allowing users to access unnecessary services can pose a significant security risk to the organization. A malicious employee could, for example, copy sensitive corporate files from the virtual desktop to a local USB. In this regard, IT administrators should disable access to unnecessary services such as USB drives or printer drivers.

Secure Devices with Endpoint Protection

While VDI deployments allow end users to connect to the data center via secured protocols, attackers can compromise the endpoint and access the organization’s sensitive data and applications. Organizations can deal with such breaches by leveraging endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools to detect and respond to a breach quickly.

Require Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA provides layered security by requiring users to prove their identities in various ways, including passwords, short messaging service (SMS) or fingerprint scanning. Always enable MFA to minimize the chances of hackers compromising credentials to gain unauthorized access to VDI platforms.

Deploy Extra Security Tools in the Data Center

IT administrators must implement fundamental security protocols, such as intrusion protection systems/intrusion detection systems (IPS/IDS) and firewalls. Additionally, they must also ensure they run endpoint protection software such as antivirus software, and application and content whitelisting applications on each VM.

Practical Tools for Securing VDI Deployments

Unlike traditional IT infrastructures, VDI deployments have unique security concerns. IT administrators can secure VDI deployments with an integrated management approach, real-time monitoring, vulnerability scanning, and data theft prevention.

Simplify VDI Management and Increase Security with Parallels RAS

For all its promises of end user flexibility and management efficiency, VDI will not make your digital environment more secure all by itself. In fact, without a well-grounded and proactive VDI solution, you can expose your organization to multiple security challenges. Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is an enterprise-class, secure VDI solution that delivers all the IT benefits of desktop virtualization.

Parallels RAS reinforces data security and meets compliance regulations with extra layers of protection, safeguarding assets with strict system hardening and a lockdown of data access.

With Parallels RAS, IT administrators can easily configure and maintain the entire VDI infrastructure from a single console, automating features such as publishing resources, managing connected endpoints, and defining security policies.

Parallels RAS also provides additional VDI benefits, with features such as:

Simplify your VDI management without compromising security by downloading the Parallels RAS trial today!