In recent years, businesses have increasingly adopted Cloud technologies to streamline their operations and bolster their success, with secure virtual desktop implementation on the rise as a result.
By increasing flexibility and collaboration, and improving productivity and profitability, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is one of the most popular solutions on the market.
That being said, the modern working world is plagued by cyberattacks and malicious malware ready to strike at any given opportunity, meaning you need to protect your data and resources and put security at the forefront of your operations as a matter of high priority.
With threats evolving and advancing everyday,, knowing how to do this isn’t always straightforward, so, we’ve outlined five simple methods to help you get started in ensuring your virtual desktop environment is protected.
What is Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop?
AVD is a Cloud-enabled desktop and application virtualisation service operating in the Azure Cloud. Providing employees with continuous remote access to essential business resources from any compatible device, AVD is a crucial tool for the hybrid workforce.
As AVD holds all your business’ sensitive data and resources, you need to ensure your Virtual Desktop Environment (VDE) is secure. If left unprotected, your business infrastructure and data could be vulnerable to a whole host of threats and attackers; snowballing into a multitude of financial, legal and reputational consequences for your business. To mitigate this, your best bet is to partner with an MSP, such as BITS, who will ensure your VDE has the maximum level of security.
At BITS, we’ll not only setup your AVD, but we’ll also provide further after-care support and management – ensuring you receive the support you need, every step of the way.
Virtual Desktop Security Risks
While virtual desktops provide significant advantages in terms of flexibility and accessibility, organisations must be vigilant in addressing the associated security risks.
The most prominent security concern with virtual desktops is the potential vulnerability to unauthorised access. If not properly configured and secured, virtual desktops may become targets for cyberattacks, leading to data breaches and unauthorised information exposure. Moreover, the shared nature of virtual desktop environments increases the risk of lateral movement, where a compromised system can be used as a launching point to infiltrate other parts of the network.
Enforcing best practices is essential in mitigating virtual desktop security risks. Implementing strong authentication measures, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), adds an extra layer of defence against unauthorised access. Regularly updating and patching virtual desktop software is crucial to address vulnerabilities and protect against known exploits. Data encryption also helps to safeguard sensitive information from interception or unauthorised access.
Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP), like BITS, can further enhance security measures for virtual desktop environments. We specialise in monitoring and managing IT systems, offering expertise in implementing and maintaining robust security protocols. We can conduct regular security assessments, identify vulnerabilities, and proactively address potential threats. Additionally, we ensure that your secure virtual desktop infrastructure is configured according to industry best practices, reducing the risk of misconfigurations that could expose your business to security breaches.
Five Ways to Ensure a Secure Virtual Desktop
Deploying VDE security controls will significantly enhance your virtual desktop security posture. Below, we’ve outlined a series of methods to help:
- Secure your data
- Secure your network
- Secure users’ identities
- Narrow the surface area
- Monitor and audit
#1 Secure Your Data
The bottom line of any business requirement is securing data. If not, the consequences could be detrimental. With AVD, you can encrypt your remote workforce devices with managed disk encryption options. This will protect all stored data from unauthorised access and grant your employees the flexibility to work remotely with the knowledge all work and information are protected. Additionally, Backup Solutions guarantee a near-complete Windows 10 environment in case your regular systems are compromised.
#2 Secure Your Network
In addition to securing your data, maximum network isolation is also recommended. Microsoft AVD offers many ways to limit traffic travelling through your network, such as Azure Firewall, Network Virtual Appliances, or proxies. With AVD’s “reverse connect” protocol, inbound traffic is automatically blocked, and no inbound firewalls need to be opened.
#3 Secure Users’ Identity
With Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), you can strengthen the security of your entire deployment via additional layers of next-level, remote protection. As AVD is exposed to the public Internet, MFA protects user logins even if personal information has been leaked or stolen. When you partner with BITS, we’ll roll out MFA across your business as part of our IT Security management.
#4 Narrow the Surface Area
Narrowing the surface area of your VDE reduces the amount of Windows environment exposed to threats – a simple, yet highly efficient method to bolster your security. This can be achieved via lock screens on users’ idle sessions which saves costs and reduces risk.
#5 Monitor and Audit
To build up your VDE’s security, it is recommended you monitor and audit your AVD infrastructure. One way of carrying this out is via Azure Security Center. This is a security monitoring solution providing threat detection, patch management, security notifications and Advanced Threat Protection. Used to safeguard your subscriptions, virtual machines, key vaults and storage accounts, it will monitor, audit and managing your security by detecting any issues in Operations of the Infrastructure. At BITS, we offer Ransomware Audits to narrow down the potential avenues of attack.
How BITS Can Help with Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop
At BITS, we have over 50 years’ combined experience helping businesses like yours to discover transformative new ways of working and connect with their clients. We pride ourselves in the industry-leading specialist knowledge we give to our clients in the delivery of Microsoft Azure Solutions.
Reach out to our team of experts to gain personalised insights into securing your Azure Virtual Desktop environment. With a wealth of experience and a dedication to delivering transformative solutions, we are ready to guide you through the intricacies of Microsoft Azure.