VPN vs VDI – What Should You Choose? | Parallels Insights

VPN vs VDIAs work-from-home becomes inevitable, companies have to explore solutions for their remote workers. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions are some popular options available for remote access. A VPN extends a corporate network by encrypting communication across an insecure public network.

While VPNs provide secure, low-cost, and dynamic access to corporate networks, they may not be the best solution from a user experience point of view. On the other hand, VDI allows end-users to run desktop instances residing in Virtual Machines (VMs) hosted on hypervisors in a data center or over a cloud provider. VDI not only provides secure remote access, but they are also flexible, manageable, and facilitate workforce mobility. However, initial set up costs may be expensive for most businesses.

Limitation of VPN solutions 

VPNs can be quite handy when it comes to tunneling traffic between end-points and the company’s network. However, they aren’t entirely foolproof. Here are a few disadvantages of VPNs:

1. They rely on client hardware and connection speed

Unlike desktop virtualization technologies, VPN connections are bound to the hardware of the users. Users must install a VPN client on their end-points to access remote resources such as shared folders, UNC paths or virtual machines. This translates to a headache for the IT administration that needs to support multiple devices, which gets more complex in a BYOD environment. VDI technologies can leverage web interfaces that are device-agnostic without the need to install software on the user device.

2. They require suitable end-user hardware

Unlike RDS or VDI, VPNs shifts the processing work to the clients. If the employees’ PCs are too old to run the organization’s apps, then you have to purchase new ones for them. Getting a brand-new PC up and running with all the organization’s apps is a difficult undertaking. You must also figure out how the apps on the employees’ machines get installed and updated. Since your employees are remote, maintaining their off-site resources is tricky.

3. They are not foolproof

Most VPNs conduct security checks, like ensuring that the end-point is up-to-date with the latest patches and antivirus pattern files, among others. In some instances, you can have many end-points establishing a connection to the VPN server. Under these circumstances, you may be compelled to lower your security safeguards to allow many machines to connect to the server. Additionally, data that your employees work with may be copied locally to their devices. This can compromise the company’s data and put you more at risk. As such, IT admins must take extra steps to protect the organization’s data.

Using a VDI solution to provide work from home

VDI has many use cases. And none of them are more compelling than work-from-home organizations managing a remote workforce, especially when you compare VPN vs VDI. Here’s why VDI is a perfect solution to provide work-from-home:

1. IT departments spend less time troubleshooting problems

Because of the centralized nature of data in VDI, it’s straightforward to support end-users. Your IT admins can quickly patch, update, or configure all the virtual desktops in a system, optimizing performance for the end-users. Additionally, you can easily shadow a device to help figure out issues, unlike VPN scenarios.

2. It simplifies software management

Using a golden image allows IT admins to install new OS updates and applications based on a single base image that gets replicated across several virtual desktops in a pool. This ensures that all users run the exact version of the software. This way, IT teams can first test customized applications on the server before rolling them out to everyone. This contrasts with VPNs, where you have to set up machines individually.

3. It boosts security

When comparing VPN vs VDI, the latter is more secure. There are no guarantees that your work-from-home employees’ devices will adhere to your organization’s security policy with VPNs. While most VPNs enforce security health checks before allowing end-points into the corporate network, your IT admins may find it challenging to configure. The process may also not be entirely comprehensive. With VDI, your employees remotely connect to a centralized corporate IT infrastructure. By preconfiguring the IT infrastructure with an organization’s security requirements, device-level security becomes less important. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about what gets saved or lost on your employees’ local end-points. This is because all the organization’s data resides on the servers on-premises or in the cloud.

How can Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) help?   

While organizations may choose to implement VPN to provide remote access to business applications, along with lower costs and easier setup, Parallels RAS is a VDI solution that addresses all these issues, along with the other great benefits of VDI.   

As aaffordable all-in-one VDI solution, Parallels RAS allows users to securely access virtual workspaces from anywhere, on any device, anytime. Parallels RAS centralizes management of the IT infrastructure, streamlines multi-cloud deployments, enhances data security, and improves process automation.  

If you’ve been contemplating whether to use VPN vs VDI as a remote working solution, why don’t you give Parallels RAS a try by downloading our 30-day trial? Within minutes you can install a fully functional Parallels RAS deployment from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace and from the Amazon AWS Marketplace. That way, you can check out all the security, and other benefits, for yourself!  



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