Are cloud desktops secure? That’s a crucial question to ask before you migrate from physical PCs to cloud-based virtual machines.
It’s also a question with a complicated answer. The security of cloud desktops depends on which controls your provider puts in place to protect against the multiple types of attacks that could lead to data theft or malware installation on your cloud desktop environments. Some cloud desktops are more secure than others, and some solutions push the burden of securing desktop infrastructure onto customers more than others.
With that reality in mind, let’s take a look at how DesktopReady provides built-in security and minimizes the need for customers to worry about cyberattacks against their cloud desktops.
Cloud Desktop Security Overview
In some ways, cloud desktops offer inherent security advantages over physical PCs. In other ways, however, they create additional risks.
The chief security advantage of cloud desktops is that they eliminate the threat of security incidents that arise from insecure physical hardware. When you move your desktops to the cloud, you no longer need to worry that a malicious user could install malware on a PC when no one is looking, or that an employee will misplace a laptop that contains sensitive data.
On the other hand, cloud desktops by their nature face a higher degree of network-borne threats. Cloud desktops must be constantly connected to the Internet, which means that attackers have a broader set of potential opportunities for breaches. Not only can they use the Internet as a pathway to gain unauthorized access to your desktop environments, but they could also potentially “sniff” network traffic as it flows to and from your desktops.
Data Protection and Security
If the traffic is not encrypted, attackers will be able to read sensitive information passed over the network. They may also be able to gain direct access to cloud desktops via “brute force” password attacks, which involve cycling through long lists of passwords until the attackers happen upon the right one.
At the same time, because cloud desktops rely on a complex stack of infrastructure, there are multiple potential attack points that malicious actors could exploit. They could breach the cloud platform that hosts your desktops, the virtual machine software that powers them or the individual virtual machines that host each one.
The main focus of cloud desktop security solutions, then, is to protect against the threats that exist within the network architecture and cloud infrastructure on which cloud desktops run.
DesktopReady’s Security Features
DesktopReady addresses these threats through a multi-layered security model that hardens all of the soft spots of network and cloud infrastructure.
At the network level, DesktopReady uses SSL connections to provide end-to-end encryption for all traffic that passes between cloud desktop environments and end-users. This protects against the risk of attackers sniffing the traffic while it is in transit.
WithDesktopReady, only authorized users have access to the decryption keys necessary to view network data.
In addition, DesktopReady blocks direct access to cloud desktops from the Internet. The only way to connect is via a secureRDP session that binds to a private IP address. This architectural model minimizes the exposure of cloud desktops to the Internet, which provides another crucial layer of protection against threats that could arise from the network.
What’s more, even if intruders are able to locate DesktopReady cloud desktops on the network, the desktops remain protected by DesktopReady’s authentication requirements, which include support for two-factor authentication. That means that gaining access to passwords alone via a brute force attack is not enough for attackers to breach DesktopReady’s defenses. They would also need to circumvent the secondary authentication control, which can’t effectively be brute-forced.
DesktopReady & Microsoft Azure
At the cloud level, too, DesktopReady takes full advantage of the security features offered by the cloud platform in which it runs, which is Microsoft Azure. The cloud control plane is continuously monitored by Microsoft for security threats, and DesktopReady’s virtual environments are locked down with cloud access controls and isolation from other parts of the Azure platform.
On top of this, DesktopReady cloud desktops are pre configured with Windows Antivirus Defender, which offers yet another layer of protection. If, despite the other defenses that DesktopReady puts inplace, attackers manage to gain access to a desktop and attempt to install malware on it, Antivirus Defender is primed to detect and mitigate the threat.This feature also means that users do not need to install their own antivirus tools in their cloud desktops.
Isolated Cloud Desktops
For users who need even tighter security controls, DesktopReady offers the option of totally isolated cloud desktops.Under this option, which is available as part of the DesktopReady BusinessPlan, each cloud desktop runs in a dedicated virtual machine.
Isolation between virtual machines eliminates the risk that a security problem that originates within one cloud desktop session will “spill over” into another session. Although this level of protection is not necessary for every use case, it is an advantageous feature for businesses that require an extra level of security, or that need to isolate workloads for compliance reasons.
Cloud Desktop Security with DesktopReady
Cloud desktops are subject to a variety of security threats. There is no simple way to defend against all of them.
Instead, businesses need a multi-pronged cloud desktop security solution, like the kind that is built into DesktopReady by default. At no extra cost to customers, DesktopReady secures the network, the cloud environment and even the operating system environment for each cloud desktop it delivers, enabling a hands-off and worry-free security experience for users.
Request a Free Trial today to see if DesktopReady is right for your business.