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The quick spread of COVID-19 has propelled the tech community into a pilot run for the remote workplace subject matter experts have predicted was inevitable for years. Only 12% of IT organizations were prepared for a mass pandemic.

Even before the fast transition to working from home, the remote workforce has tripled over the last fifteen years. We are still learning how the current healthcare crisis will impact the way we work in the future, but we’ve already seen the security gaps organizations are facing in going remote.

New cyber security threats have appeared during this hard shift to a virtual working environment with hackers looking to capitalize on the users and their vulnerabilities on personal networks and devices. Bad actors are also looking to exploit employee desire for connection in social isolation.

Here are 3 strategies to arm your organization against new COVID-19 security threats.

One change that’s coming soon? Organizations are realizing the value of a remote security strategy. According to the Wallstreet Journal, CIOs only spend 5-8% of their technology budget on security on average—even in the face of mounting spear phishing and other ransomware attacks.

In fact, phishing emails have a 5-6x higher engagement rate than legitimate business marketing emails—that number may be increasing with more team members isolated from colleagues, friends and families.

In this blog we’re exploring VDI and VPN and their differences so you can see which option is the right fit for your organizational needs.

What is VPN and why you might use it?

According to Techopedia, a virtual private network (VPN) lets users remotely access a network by authenticating via a VPN server. The server assigns an IP address to the machine attempting to remote into the network—enabling user access to network resources and a company intranet using a tunnel. The tunnel links an external machine to the network.

Why use it?

While both VPNs and VDIs support savings, VPN is primed to support your bottom line with scalability. VPNs give companies virtually unlimited capacity without the burden of a lot of infrastructure—accessing that infrastructure via an ISP.

And if one VPN client is disrupted—unlike VDI—that doesn’t mean more VPN connections will go down as a result. This decentralized remote access strategy provides users with increased security. Now organizations can use an “always on” VPN setup with Azure fueling the connection between domain machines remotely, or even off domain machines.

 What are VPN challenges?

VPNs only bridge the gap allowing native apps to continue connecting to resources. For complete availability, VPNs assign an IP address within a LAN or WAN—requiring users to install all of their applications directly to their remote machines.  And while connection security is higher with VPN, more open tunnels also mean more paths open to access the work environment. That means more points of access for bad actors.

What is VDI and why you might use it?

According to Techopedia, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a type of virtualization enabling a virtual desktop to run on top of a data center. VDI uses a server computing model to serve out virtual desktops using a hypervisor.

With VDI, applications can be stored on a central server versus on a client’s physical machine. That means you can access the same virtual desktop from any physical machine, and the installed applications will populate the image regardless of local storage.

Why use it?

VDI alleviates downtime associated with setting up individual work stations for new employees. And the centralized approach to desktop images goes beyond applications with the ability to update the security on an environment.

IT can push out an update on one image instead of through a System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or group policy.

What are VDI challenges?

Because VDI uses a centralized image approach, if you have an issue with one image, it usually impacts multiple users instead of an individual user. And, if you have one user that needs an application others don’t then you can’t enjoy the regular VDI time savings.

Virtualization is surging.

Virtualization was on the rise even before the rapid expansion of the remote workplace. According to the 2020 State of Virtualization Technology, virtualization adoption is expanding beyond servers. By 2021, virtualization in desktops, applications, network, storage and data virtualization is predicted to reach double-digit growth. That’s a powerful boost while more organizations respond to new security threats and changing best practices by continuing to move away from dated and unnecessary hardware towards virtualization and the cloud.

Need help deciding?

Talk to an expert.

Our security experts care. We can guide you to a safer remote workplace—navigating which approaches align with your business goals and workforce needs. Demand is high, don’t wait for the situation to escalate, contact us now.

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