Adopting a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) allows companies to create a data center for their internet technology assets, including the operating systems, applications, and software. A recent surge in VDI systems was prompted by the shift to remote work after the COVID-19 pandemic as companies sought to secure their systems.
For many, however, the question remains: Is VDI secure?
As we discussed in a previous post about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Security, VDI can be a major asset to helping organizations overcome many of their security challenges; however, it still has some of its own security needs which must be accounted for in a well-designed solution. This post reviews the main threats and best practices to mitigate them with a focus on access and identity management.
Main VDI Security Risks and Concerns
There are four key aspects of VDI that leave a business at risk of cybercrime, malicious attacks, and other security threats.
- Hypervisor - Because VDI is based on the hypervisor (software that segments and runs the virtual machines), if a hacker takes control of the hypervisor, all of the VMs are threatened.
- Employees - Even well-intentioned employees and teammates make mistakes. Unfortunately, whether the employee has malicious intentions or not, human error is a key security threat for VDI.
- VM Upkeep - VDI systems, both the infrastructure and desktops, themselves, require maintenance, and when neglected, an unpatched VM creates a major security threat.
VDI Security Best Practices
There are well known VDI security best practices, which are summarized by six key techniques:
- Get a holistic view of the environment: If you have an endpoint security plan, you can minimize VDI security vulnerabilities. Make sure that the appropriate access and permission protocols are in place.
- Employ end-to-end encryption: When you handle financial, medical, or personal data, encryption is crucial, both for data in-transit and data at-rest.
- Require Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): It’s standard to require employees to present multiple forms of identification to access company resources.
- Inquire about Desktop as a Service (DaaS): In the end, you need experts to handle your VDI solution. If you don’t have a dedicated team on-premises, consider a third-party Desktop as a Service.
The Role of Identity and Access Management in VDI
Three facets of security (MFA, SSO, and non-persistent VDI solutions) relate specifically to identity and access management. By addressing this area with a more comprehensive solution, your company can improve not only security, but also its productivity, efficiency, support, and corporate compliance.
In that case, an Identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) is beneficial. For instance, different access and identity management ideas can include everything from MFA to password syncing, Multi-domain support, reporting, mobile device management (MDM), and more.
Let’s look at some of the core components of a solid IDaaS:
- Integration: If your organization uses Microsoft Teams or other applications, an IDaaS that can seamlessly integrate with Microsoft 365 is the right choice. Users can install software on multiple devices to ensure they can access their files anywhere, anytime.
- Cloud-based: If you find a cloud-based IDaaS, this opens so many doors for your company. For example, this might allow you to custom brand your reports, and sync passwords, and has no appliances or servers.
- Mobile Device Management: An IDaaS with a strong MDM system offers multiple benefits, including remotely locking or wiping lost devices, enforcing security protocols, logging and tracking corporate device inventory, and deploying standardized configurations/custom application catalogs.
Can Strong Authentication Improve Virtual Desktop Security ?
While having the full range of options from an IDaaS is preferred, you can take smaller steps to improve your VDI security. Is strong authentication enough to make a difference in VDI security? The short answer is yes.
Even by focusing on MFA and single sign-on (SSO), VDI security VDI Security risks will improve, but there is a caveat – you still have to ensure the other aspects of your VDI security are at least up to par.
For instance, if your company puts all its resources into MFA but fails to employ end-to-end encryption, strong authentication doesn’t mean anything. If your sensitive financial, health, and personal information is hacked through an unencrypted email, you’ve lost all the security benefits you gained from the new MFA requirements.
Simplify Your VDI Management with Evolve IP
Without an IDaaS, you’ll need a large in-house team to handle all of these aspects of your VDI. But why make things more complicated than they have to be? If you’re looking for a complete, functional, streamlined VDI solution, you need Evolve IP. Recognized by Gartner as a Best-in-Class Managed Desktop as a Service, Evolve IP secures your workplace from any location with any device.
Contact us today to learn how our cloud desktop solutions streamline your business processes, improve security, and boost productivity.