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Exploring Options to Reduce VDI Usage

By Isabella van den Ende

VDI Background

A virtual desktop provides remote access to desktop environments and applications hosted on a central server, enabling users to work from any internet-connected device. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) manages these virtual desktops centrally, customizing them for users while offering IT administrators control and security.

VDI operates by running desktop OS and apps within virtual machines on a server. Users access their virtual desktops through thin clients or web browsers, interacting with them as if they were local.

VDI Use Cases

Companies tend to dedicate VDI for remote access to private apps, sensitive data, and 3rd party access. We often see these use cases in industries with substantial amounts of sensitive data such as health care, insurance, and banking. VDI use cases break down into two main buckets: Security motivated use cases and logistics motivated use cases. In the security bucket, VDI can offer granular access to minimize overprivileged access to key business resources. While access restraints are useful, traffic visibility and VDI’s ability to reroute traffic through security appliances is also a great strength. Finally, VDI can ensure that sensitive data is not stored on the end-user device and remains in the corporate environment. In the logistics bucket, VDI can help create desktop experiences that allow connectivity from a variety of end user devices via a browser. VDI also eliminates the need to ship expensive, high-powered laptops to remote contractors where it may be difficult to get them back. While VDI has its advantages, it can be very costly to deploy, and not all users utilize or require VDI in the same manner, so targeted reductions or eliminations can be highly beneficial from a cost and management perspective. Given recent price increases seen in this product segment, many organizations are now in search of alternatives.

Exploring the Enterprise Browser as an Alternative

Enterprise Browsers (EB) are a modern solution for secure remote access that delivers a more simple and natural end-user experience. Enterprise Browsers can replace VDI for many use cases where a thick client is not required for legacy applications . With the EB, granular access controls, visibility into user activity and data loss prevention (DLP) can be assured through a simple and more cost-effective method. Enterprise Browsers provide advanced policies to control access to corporate resources without relying on network-based controls. Unlike VDI, EBs can grant deep end-user visibility with full session recording for SSH, RDP, and web traffic. Finally, the EB provides DLP capabilities that include PII detection and enforcement, dynamic data masking blocking personal cloud accounts and creating a trust circle of allowed enterprise applications. Aside from the technical offerings of enterprise browsers, the benefits for the end-user are a natural and authentic user experience that improves productivity.

Cost Reduction

Like Jeff Bezos says, “Your margin is my opportunity.” EB’s are generally 1/5 the cost of a VDI deployment. This is the key driving factor that has companies looking at alternatives to VDI. Additionally, centralized administration capabilities enable efficient deployment, configuration, and updates, reducing the operational costs significantly when using an EB. Compatibility with enterprise applications and systems ensures smooth operations, minimizing the time and resources spent on troubleshooting connectivity issues.

User Experience

User experience is a crucial factor for employee productivity. In a VDI environment, every action necessitates a network round trip, impacting latency and efficiency. Network issues and bandwidth constraints are common worries for remote employees. This is where the EB shines, functioning at a level that is indistinguishable from a native browser connection.

Onboarding time

Onboarding time is also an important consideration, with streamlined processes being paramount. Opting for an easier-to-use Employee Browser rather than intrusive VDI agent installations can speed onboarding dramatically. Furthermore, users can self-serve by downloading the browser from a public link and sign in with their corporate credentials, eliminating the need for IT assistance. This approach also negates the necessity of shipping laptops, facilitating a smoother and lower cost model.

Could the Mammoth Enterprise Browser be Right for You?

The Mammoth Cyber Enterprise Browser’s strong integration with enterprise infrastructure and low costs offer a compelling option for connecting users to internal applications, web sites and SaaS applications. The Enterprise Browser ensures that users have seamless access to existing company systems while reducing costs, improving user experience, and accelerating onboarding times for new employees and contractors.