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VDI Is Table Stakes for Improving User Productivity, Security
When a federal training facility supporting multiple isolated networks with varying classifications wanted to find a way to give its trainees more space to work, it replaced multiple work- stations on each desk with thin cli- ents powered by VDI. Using that approach, trainees had the space they needed to learn more effec- tively, while the facility itself was able to reduce the cost of power and cooling, improve security and decrease management complexity.
That’s just one example of the ways federal agencies are using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), a technology that essential- ly gives each user its own virtual desktop with all of the computer, networking, and storage capacity needed. All virtual desktops are hosted on a centralized server
and deployed to users on request. Users can access their virtual desktops on a variety of devices, from traditional desktops/laptops,
tablets, and even smartphones. Agencies have been using VDI for
some time, and its use is growing throughout government. According to one recent report, 40 percent of government agencies deployed VDI in some capacity in 2019 alone — and that was before the pandemic.
There are many reasons for
that growth. Leveraging VDI can increase productivity, simplify and centralize management, reduce complexity, improve security, enable workforce mobility, and save money. For example, it’s a great way to get users set up quickly with resourc- es, outfit contact centers, optimize bandwidth to remote locations, and much more.
VDI also has been a major enabler of telework. Remote workers need reliable and secure access to agency resources, making them a perfect candidate for VDI. That’s even
more true today, with the pandemic forcing most agency employees to work remotely. As a result, agencies
are increasingly embracing VDI — something other sectors are doing as well. According to another report, VDI usage has grown by 11 percent since the beginning of 2020, largely due to the pandemic.
“An example of a typical remote worker solution would be a govern- ment-provided laptop with a VPN client,” says Herb Estrella, a senior virtualization delivery engineer at CDW•G. “While that is a perfect- ly acceptable solution, that model doesn’t scale very well as it pertains to performance and can negatively affect the end-user experience.
Many agencies have experienced those limitations and with increased realization that moving to a VDI solution will take better advantage of the bandwidth, provide better security, and drastically decrease management issues.
One critical benefit common in VDI use cases is security. Done right, VDI is much more secure than physical laptops specifically when it

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