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Methods to Better Secure Your Environment

It seems like every day brings a new possible data threat. The news is filled with reports of breaches, new vulnerabilities, and the organizations making reparations to those affected.

In today’s threat-filled landscape, how can you protect your organization? Fortunately, there ARE steps you can take. To illustrate this point, I’ve outlined three methods we have used to better secure our customer’s environments.

End Point Security: Virtualization, thin clients, and policy implementation

The end point is arguably the most vulnerable area for a breach; laptops get lost, end users copy and pass data outside your environment, and PCs are left unattended for long periods of time. A combination of virtualization and the implementation of thin clients can greatly reduce the risk. Virtualization allows you to move your critical data from the insecure end point, back to the safety and security of the data center.

Whether you utilize your own private cloud implementation, are looking for a hosted public cloud environment, or something in between, Centrinet can provide the tailor-made solution that you’re looking for. We’re also able to help you find the perfect thin clients, which will allow your users to securely access your organization’s resources. Once in place, we ensure the continued success and security of your environment by helping implement the correct policies for your business.

Security Updates: Staying current is imperative

The most often overlooked (and simplest) way to reduce the risk of a data breach, is to ensure that all of your systems are up-to-date with their software and security patches. Far too often we see environments that have not been updated for years simply because “we haven’t had a problem”.

With each new threat that is announced, software vendors are producing patches to secure their systems. Many organizations have processes in place to handle updates for Microsoft products, but then neglect the hardware, Linux, and UNIX system updates. More and more attacks are being developed to take advantage of vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft systems.

It’s imperative to stay current on all updates – not just the Microsoft updates!

I should also mention that this is not just a PC and server issue. Every piece of infrastructure in your environment must be updated when patches are released. These days networking equipment, hardened appliances, and virtualization hypervisors are just as vulnerable to attack as your PCs and servers.

Assessments: Last, but definitely not least

Finally, one of the best ways to ensure the security of your environment is to get a third party assessment of your systems. You live and breathe your systems all day every day, and sometimes you need a second pair of eyes.

A comprehensive assessment allows you to take a step back and look objectively at your systems. This is a vital step towards ensuring the safety of your critical data. And who knows, you may even uncover some efficiency improvements for your end users!

 

Here at Centrinet we offer a full suite of services to ensure your security. Let us share our experience and knowledge to ensure your environment is up-to-date and running at optimal efficiency. For more information, please contact us today!

 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Your IT Budget

Desktops and their management typically occupy a significant portion of an IT budget. The three areas that occupy the largest piece of the pie are hardware costs, software costs, and the costs related to the physical environment.

  1. Hardware Costs: Most organizations tend towards a 3-4 year replacement cycle on their PCs. This means that IT needs to budget for 25-33% of their desktops to be replaced annually. They must also maintain a PC and helpdesk department to handle the troubleshooting and management of all hardware.
  1. Software Costs: Minimally, each PC needs the OS locally installed – if not all of the applications as well. Every upgrade and patch to the OS and applications that are deployed on the desktops can become very costly (and complex) projects.
  1. Physical Environment Costs: There are other fixed and variable costs that generally go unnoticed, but are associated to the desktop equipment. The power costs for the PCs, the cooling costs for the heat they produce, and the actual space needed for a typical PC footprint are all examples of the physical environment costs.

Imagine only needing to replace your end device every 7-10 years. Imagine the management of your PC environment can be done from anywhere. Imagine you are able to handle all major OS and application upgrades – throughout your entire business – in just a few minutes.

Hardware Costs

You can now accomplish all of the above with a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment. Today’s PCs are built to last approximately three years. During this time a PC might have fan failures, bad hard drives, and blown power supplies.  All of these contribute to the total cost of ownership, as well as the maintenance and management costs. With a virtual desktop, companies can replace PCs with thin clients. Thin clients are built to last approximately seven years. Most thin clients have solid-state components and operate without a fan. And, most thin clients are priced less than the PCs they replace.

Software Costs

Virtual desktop deployment is usually done from a centralized data center or a public cloud.  In either case, the management of the environment can easily be accomplished from anywhere. All one needs is an internet and/or network connection. Virtual desktops are built to be mobile.  No longer will your IT support staff be stretched across your environment, running from desktop to desktop.  Everything needed to troubleshoot and manage the VDI is centralized and available from anywhere.

A great example of this is the ease with which you can upgrade your company’s OS.

  1. Create a virtual desktop with the new OS and applications.
  2. Test everything to ensure it all works as expected.
  3. Deploy the images to the production virtual machines.
  4. Reboot the system.

Once rebooted, everyone will be up and running on the new OS.  If you find any issues with the new image, you can revert by simply rebooting the virtual desktops back to the old image. No more worries about remote deployments, installing the new OS on each PC individually, or hardware drivers in your OS image. And, this same process can be used for patching application upgrades. Ultimately, your costs and concerns will be significantly reduced.

Physical Environment Costs

Thin clients produce significantly less heat and save on power. Additionally, virtual desktops are far more flexible than a PC environment – allowing your staff to connect to a virtual desktop from almost any device in any location. You can have your full desktop on your tablet or phone. Work from anywhere

The potential cost reduction from your user’s increased access to your proprietary data is huge. And, with all of the data residing in a secured data center, the risk of losing proprietary or government-regulated data is extremely low.

If you are searching for a way to reduce your overall IT budget – and lengthen the desktop life cycle – then it’s time to look at deploying virtual desktops.  Give us a call to setup a consultation.