Organizations have been adopting virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as a virtualization option for superior mobility and flexibility. The implementation of VDI has resulted in a rise in productivity and employee satisfaction.
Organizations have found various advantages of using cloud-based solutions. It offers convenience and ease in use as employees can have access from anywhere.
The adoption of cloud-based VDI is increasing and the market is booming. According to the research firm Allied Market Research, the global cloud-based VDI market is expected to reach $10.15 billion by 2023.
As there are advantages of VDI that delivers a desktop to users rapidly and effectively, there is a primary concern. The adoption of the VDI has been slowed down due to the lack of effective security.
The data breaches can prove costly if the security measures are not taken properly. There are some of the measures that can be taken for ensuring the VDI environments are secure:
Local USBs should be disabled:
There are significant security risks involved with a local USB drive. Employees gain access to sensitive business data and it can be misused or leaked if there is access to local USB ports.
The data from the virtual desktop can be copied through a local USB. The device management software enables local devices to have encrypted data. So, even if the access is given, and the employee loses the USB drive containing sensitive data, the encryption will not reveal the data.
However, this encryption may not prevent the employees from leaking the data. So, disabling the local USB access will prevent unauthorized data theft. Moreover, IT administrators must disable copy and paste functions to eliminate the possibility of copying data from one virtual desktop to another desktop or USB.
This will reduce the productivity of a user, but in terms of security, this is the best way to prevent data leakage and theft.
Restrict access and keep separate networks:
The IT management infrastructure should be kept separate from VDI for lowering down the risks that can be caused to the server infrastructure.
Necessary firewall security protocols should be kept in place along with virtual LANs to secure the VDI environment.
IT administrators should disable the access of protocol if the user does not require it. Various policies and groups can be placed for restricting the desktops that do not need access to data or resources.
The resources that virtual desktops can access should be restricted. If a user can connect with some other email provider than the company’s email, there should be restrictions on what users can share.
Data migration and theft should be prevented with proper policies. Moreover, external sites that can lead to sharing data should be blocked. The whitelist approach should be used for giving access to external sites.
It may consume time to build such a list. But it is useful in the long run for securing the data and avoiding data breaches.
Whenever users are using cloud-based VDI, the restriction to access to various websites and resources would prevent them from misusing the data along with availing the benefits such as flexibility and connectivity.
The master image needs to be comprehensive:
The master image should be made after consideration of all the necessary measures. This is essential for the creation of secure VDI environment. The non-required services should be turned off.
However, individual needs vary. But there are many services that are not required to users. These services waste memory and if the status of those services is enabled, there may be a security risk. If there is a large deployment of VDI, IT administrators should disable the non-required services to regain a significant amount of RAM.
All the applications should not be held together into a single base image. There should be a base image and profiles and groups should be used through applications.
The nonpersistent virtual desktops can be utilized wherever possible. Profiles and profile disks can be used for offering persistent experience. The user will not be able to determine the difference if it is executed correctly. IT administrators should ensure that the master image is updated. Moreover, there need to be patched to persistent virtual desktops.
There are various security platforms built for ensuring the security of VDIs. There are advanced controls that are offered for the network- and system-based through a single virtual platform.
Deep Security is one of those platforms that offer anti-malware, integrity monitoring, URL filtering, virtual patching, and others.
These capabilities offer automated protection and enhance performance as soon as the virtual desktop is enabled. Deployment of this would determine the unknown threats and offer an automated counter to the threats.
Moreover, there are micro-segmentation capabilities that ensure new threats will not enter the data center. Ensuring the security of VDI is essential for better operation as well as securing the sensitive data.