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Zero clients: The future of mobile security for the channel?

As cyber attacks and security breaches continue to grow, IT managers are seeking new ways to secure their critical business data. While thin clients have been a good option in the past, they have limited benefits for remote working. That is where zero clients step in

The cyber security IT landscape grew exceptionally in 2019 and it’s, therefore, no surprise that businesses are doing everything they can to keep their devices secure.

With the popularity of mobile, cloud and internet of things (IoT) devices rising, there are more opportunities for cyber criminals to invade an organisation – no matter how big or small they are.

While these technologies generate many benefits, it’s now more important than ever for enterprises to introduce secure solutions to a workplace and shield employees from future attacks.

As such, IT decision-makers need to develop unique ways to ensure the channel can offer customers solutions to address one of many CIOs’ primary focuses: to secure highly sensitive company data.

One solution to consider is vendors creating their own basic input/output (BIOS) system – instead of using a third party’s – as this reduces the functionality of devices to avoid security risks.

Other technologies include those with maximum security, such as zero clients – a solution which helps to protect sensitive data while following all security solutions (we’ll come to the benefits of mobile zero clients later). Not only does this give partners the confidence to sell this clientless solution, but it also allows for recurring revenue opportunities and additional software licence sales.

The multi-device mobility challenge

According to Check Point’s 2020 cyber security report, 27% of all organisations globally were affected by cyber attacks that involved a mobile device. Further still, the research found that with a growing public cloud industry, the frequency and enormity of cloud attacks and security breaches continued to grow last year.

Efforts to tackle these challenges in the past have involved IT managers turning to thin client solutions, which make for an attractive proposition because they’re generally easy to install. They also offer a simple application process and improved security. However, when it comes to remote working, the limited nature of thin client solutions in terms of both portability and security is causing businesses to explore different alternatives.

The rise of zero clients

This shift has given rise to zero client solutions. While similar to thin clients in their reliance on a central, purpose-built server that hosts the operating system and applications, zero clients differ in the fact that the operating system can be extracted from the individual device.

For businesses, this eradicates the need to store information on the individual device’s hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state disk (SSD), instead bringing all functionality and data into the cloud through a secure virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

With no data stored on the device, company data is considerably less vulnerable, and any threat involved should a laptop be lost or stolen is eliminated.

The other key benefit of zero clients is the cost element, and the savings they provide, with minimal management required once integrated into the IT infrastructure and updates automatically rolling out via the server.

Equally, with no information held on the client, hardware is faster, more efficient and more durable – removing the costly and time-intensive need to regularly upgrade to new devices.

The future of mobile business

Bringing together the enhanced security that zero clients provide with the ability to work unhindered no matter where, Dynabook has pioneered a Mobile Zero Client solution – helping to overcome the desk-based nature of more traditional zero clients in this age of mobile working.

Such technology offers a blend of flexibility, mobility and security, working in tandem with the latest business-built mobile devices to offer the power and connectivity tools for workers to perform at full capacity whether in the office, on the train, or at home. And with all data still stored away from the device, businesses will have full peace of mind that the security threat, should a device be lost or stolen, is minimal.

In a world with increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals, vendors should look to provide their channel partners with the whole mobile device package. From ultra-light devices, like 2-in-1 laptops, and IoT technologies such as assisted reality smartglasses, to secure devices like Dynabook’s mobile zero client solution, these will provide partners with the confidence to sell the right mobile tools to customers.

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