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It’s Wednesday morning and you arrive at your large corporate office workplace. As you enter your department, you decide to take a workstation near the west windows. You sit down at a clean, uncluttered desk furnished with nothing but a monitor, keyboard and mouse. You log into the system with your encryption key and your familiar desktop appears on the screen.
You pick up right where you left off the day before—however, on that day, you were seated at another workstation near the east windows. It’s no matter though, because everything you need—including all the applications and data necessary to perform your work—is at your fingertips. Other employees arrive and do the same, and your workday begins.
This is the world of secure cloud computing endpoint devices, also known as thin clients. They include all-in-one (AIO) devices with a keyboard and mouse, ultra-lightweight laptops and small desktop boxes. Thin clients foster a highly productive work environment that brings a multitude of benefits to large businesses.
What exactly are thin clients?
Used as PC replacements to give end users access to any virtual desktop or virtualized application, thin clients give businesses a cost-effective way to create a VDI, or virtual desktop infrastructure. A thin client is a trimmed-down version of a PC and is part of a network. It’s the interface for a company’s data center, where all files, data, applications, controlled functions and the real computing power reside. Thin clients are compatible with multiple hypervisors such as Microsoft, VMware and Citrix, giving an IT department many different options for how applications can be used.
Why you need thin clients
Thin clients make a great addition to any corporate, education, healthcare, government or financial services business. They’re also ideal for environments with numerous employees and well-defined functions or highly structured tasks, such as call centers. A VDI with thin clients offer three key benefits over a traditional PC:
Benefit #1: High Security
Thin clients are protected from user installation of unauthorized applications; data cannot be copied or saved to any location other than the server if IT has turned off the device’s USB ports. IT can also lock down a particular device if it’s lost or stolen. Data, software and supplication in the server are easily firewalled, monitored and protected. The IT department can also enable multi-factor authentication, data encryption, anti-spam/virus/malware protection, and intrusion protection and detection.
Thin clients also offer companies a great deal of control over application installations and configuration management, user administrative privileges, user access to specific content and websites, and which devices can send out sensitive information.
Benefit #2: Ease of Management
A VDI with thin clients greatly reduces the burden on IT departments. The IT department can easily manage and monitor every thin client device on the network from a central location, whether it’s a few hundred units in one building or thousands of units spread out across the globe. Security updates, software patching and application/OS updates can be applied, tested and activated for all users at once.
Benefit #3: Cost Savings
Besides having a lower total cost of ownership than PCs (including product, operation, licensing and administration), thin clients are very energy-efficient, using significantly less wattage on average compared to a 150-watt PC. If a company has hundreds or thousands of devices, the cost savings over time can contribute significantly to other business initiatives.
More and more businesses today are moving to a model where the data follows the user rather than where the user follows the data. This is the ideal condition for thin client endpoints, and as more applications move to the cloud, the future is looking good for thin clients and the businesses that use them.