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VDI vs VPN: What’s the Difference and Which Should You Choose?

Data security has become a huge concern for businesses worldwide, given the rising cases of hacks and data breaches.

A single data breach could cost a company approximately $8.19 million or more, depending on the type of data acquired. That’s why businesses invest heavily in data security infrastructure and their IT personnel.

One way businesses can sidestep data hacks and breaches is by using VPNs or VDIs. Both are effective data security measures, but some would argue that one is better than the other. When it comes to VDI vs. VPN, businesses’ biggest dilemma is choosing which data security solution to invest in.

This post will look at what VPN and VDI are and their role in enhancing data security. We’ll also look at their differences to find out which is best suited for your company.


What Is a VPN?

VPN abbreviates virtual private network and is an application software that creates a private and secure network from a public internet connection. In doing so, the VPN protects your privacy and gives you anonymity. 

The VPN masks your IP address, so your internet activity can’t trace back to you. It also encrypts any data you transmit via the network to enhance data privacy. When you connect to a VPN, your device acts like it’s in the same location as the VPN, even if it’s miles away.

Any data you transmit passes through the secured VPN before reaching the destination. This gives the impression that the data comes from the VPN.

Pros and Cons of a VPN

Using VPNs can be a significant security boost for your company to keep your employees safe from online threats. Here are a few benefits of a VPN for both businesses and individuals.

Enhanced data security: VPNs are a low-cost data security measure for small businesses that can’t afford elaborate data security infrastructure. It protects small businesses from online attacks and cybercriminals through IP masking and data encryption.

Bypasses geo-restrictions: Some websites and web services restrict access to specific locations. Using a VPN is one way to sidestep these restrictions and access these websites.

Affordable: VPN for business is an affordable data security measure that costs about $50 to $100 on average. It’s an excellent option for businesses working on a tight budget.

These are just a few of the many benefits of a VPN.  Most SMEs use VPNs for their data security, especially if they have remote workers. However, VPNs aren’t foolproof. 

Here are a few downsides of using a VPN:

Doesn’t Guarantee 100% Data Security

Using a VPN doesn’t guarantee that you’re completely safe from cyberattacks. Although using a VPN gives some security level, sometimes you may be compelled to lower your security to allow multiple machines to connect with the server. This makes the devices susceptible to data threats.

Rely on User’s Connection Speed

Data transmission via a VPN is only as fast as your internet connection and your hardware. Connection via a VPN tends to run slower than your usual internet connection. If you have a slow internet connection, browsing using a VPN can be dreadfully slow.

Rely on User’s Hardware

Some devices are too old to run certain VPNs. In such instances, you’ll have to get newer devices that can support the VPN. This can be a problem for organizations with dozens of defunct machines.

These are the drawbacks of VPNs. However, in most cases, the benefits far outweigh the benefits. That’s why most businesses opt for VPNs.

What Is a VDI?

A VDI or virtual desk infrastructure is when you host desktop environments on a central server. It’s a type of virtualization technology in that a desktop’s OS runs in this central server or data center. The server delivers this desktop image to an endpoint device via a network, making it seem like it was running locally.

That way, users can use a virtual computer at a specific location, even though they’re miles away. It’s the perfect work-from-home solution for many companies across the country.

Pros and Cons of a VDI

A VDI enables remote workers to access virtual computers running in a server on its data center. Here are a few pros of using a VDI.

It’s Great for Security

VDIs are a bit more secure because the server has complete control over the IT infrastructure configuration. This ensures that all employees accessing their computers adhere to its security policy, hence making it more secure.

Convenient for Troubleshooting

Because VDI runs on a single data center, it’s easier for IT administrators to configure, patch, and update all the virtual desktops. This is much more convenient than having to troubleshoot each desktop individually.

Makes Software Management Much Easier

All updates and applications downloaded on a single virtual image get replicated across several virtual desktops.

This makes software management much easier and more centralized. In fact, IT administrators can test customized software on the server first before rolling them out to other computers.

Although VDI seems like the perfect solution for remote working, it has a couple of limitations. Some of these limitations include:

It’s Expensive

VDI systems are expensive, considering the hardware you have to purchase to get the system up and running. You’ll also require competent staff who understand the intricacies of the system to address any problem promptly. A little downtime may cripple your company’s activities until resolved.

Not Very Scalable

VDIs aren’t scalable because scaling up involves increasing your network and server infrastructure to meet the company demand. This can be very time-consuming and also cost a bundle. If you have more computers, you’ll have to increase the RAM and bandwidth to accommodate the extra computers.

Complicated To Implement

It takes quite a bit of technical skill to set up and run a VDI system. This is another reason why VDI systems are so costly. Apart from the cost, setting it up takes a long time, unlike VPNs, which take only minutes.

VDI vs. VPN: Which One Is Better for Online Activity?

What data security measure you adopt depends on your company’s specific needs. When it comes to VDI vs. VPN, only you can tell which is right for your company. Hopefully, the information above will help you make a more informed decision.

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