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Healthcare VDI installations offer protection to health IT

IT departments are weighing VDI implementations in healthcare facilities to decrease the security threats associated with user devices, among other reasons.

Healthcare IT executives are constantly re-evaluating many of their systems in the face of cyberattacks and ransomware...

threats. Specifically, they are checking that their organizations have the appropriate safeguards in place to avoid an infection or a breach. The most prepared organizations have IT departments that continuously patch systems, educate users and implement products that can help detect abnormal behavior within the network.

Despite some of those efforts, infections still happen. As a result, IT teams are considering other methods such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to help reduce the risks associated with infections that enter through end-users' devices. So how does a healthcare VDI installation increase the protection of a network?

The installation of VDI is usually motivated because it reduces management and support costs for organizations. By replacing traditional PCs or thick clients with inexpensive thin or zero clients, IT is able to lessen the burdens associated with individual machine backups and patching. VDI also provides a number of advantages in terms of security. The following are some examples of areas in which IT departments can gain from a healthcare VDI installation in a patient care environment.

Faster recovery time: VDI offers a quick and efficient way to recover after a machine is corrupted. This helps end users reduce their downtime because they don't have to wait for a PC replacement or for their machine to be rebuilt.

Image-level protection: In the VDI world, systems are backed up at the image level. This means that at any point in time -- if an end user experiences issues after a software upgrade, system updates or a virus infection -- they are able to revert back to a previous backup point when their machine was fully functional.

Contain critical resources: VDI can also be a powerful tool to help reduce the damage potentially caused by viruses and ransomware. By separating email; browsers; and the core hospital applications, such as EHRs, laboratory information systems, and picture archiving and communication systems, a healthcare VDI lowers the odds that an infection that hits one end user will spread to the core hospital systems.

Address BYOD risks: The popularity of bring your own device in today's marketplace has security teams concerned about potential hacks of mobile devices. This isn't as much of an issue with VDI because it runs all applications within a protected virtual desktop. So even if a mobile device or is compromised, it likely won't affect the corporate resources running inside the virtual machine.

The use of healthcare VDI is expanding. And with the increasing threats seen from PC infections that are in some cases bringing hospital operations to a halt, IT departments are looking for VDI as means to control and reduce infections coming from end users. Though healthcare VDI comes provides an organizations with numerous benefits, the costs of a VDI installation remain a concern for many IT executives.

Next Steps

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This was last published in May 2016

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