Picture this: It’s Wednesday morning and you arrive at your workplace – a large corporate headquarters. As you enter your department you look around and decide to take a workstation near the west windows. You sit down at a clean, uncluttered desk furnished with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and nothing else. You log onto the system with your encryption key, your familiar desktop appears on the screen and you pick up right where you were when you logged off on Tuesday. Except that on Tuesday you took a seat in the east section. Everything you need, all of your applications and data, is at your fingertips. Other employees arrive and do the same. The workday begins.
This is the world of Thin Clients – secure cloud computing endpoint devices including all-in-one (AIO) devices with keyboard and mouse, ultra-lightweight laptops, and small desktop boxes. Thin Clients create a highly productive work environment that brings numerous benefits to large businesses.
What Are Thin Clients?
Thin Clients are used as PC replacements to give end users access to any virtual desktop or virtualized application and give businesses a cost-effective way to create a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). A Thin Client is a trimmed-down version of a PC, and part of a network. It acts as an interface for a company’s data center where the files, data, applications, controlled functions and real computing power reside. Thin Clients are compatible with multiple hypervisors such as Microsoft, VMware® and Citrix®, and give an IT department many different options for applications to be used.
Why You Need Thin Clients
Thin Clients make a great addition to any education, healthcare, government, corporate or financial services business. They are also ideal for environments with numerous employees and well-defined functions/highly structured tasks, such as call centers. A VDI with Thin Clients offers three key benefits over a traditional PC:
High Security – Thin Clients are protected from user installation of unauthorized applications, and data cannot be copied to 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 is lost or stolen.
Data, software and applications in the server are easily firewalled, monitored and protected and the IT department can 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.
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.
Besides having a lower total cost of ownership (including product, operation, licensing and administration) than PCs, 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.
The future looks very good for Thin Clients, and the businesses that use them. Today, more and more applications are moving to the cloud, and businesses are moving to a model where the data follows the user, rather than the user following the data. These are ideal conditions for Thin Client endpoints.