When introducing Remote Desktop Services (RDS)/Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to your organization, there are some great reasons to invest in excellent security. Having RDS security in place will help to protect your system from outside attacks.

Here, we explore how remote desktop service licensing works, why security is important for your server, and the security risks you may encounter. We also investigate how you can improve your security, and see how AppsAnywhere can help.

How does remote desktop service licensing work?

RDS has become more and more common over the last eighteen months, as higher education has largely been carried out online. RDS is software that can be run on a single server, which allows users to connect to a virtual machine/operating system. This means that users are able to share applications – improving the student experience, as many users can use the same environment while allowing for customizations.

RDS has many benefits, beginning with the relatively low cost when compared to other solutions. This extends to the cost of licensing. Not only that, but RDS is easy for IT departments to both put in place and keep maintained, with flexible solutions depending on your needs. As your needs grow, so does this highly scalable solution.

It is different from a Multipoint services role, which does not require full RDS deployment but is also less flexible and scalable.

Read more about the benefits of remote desktop services here.

Why is it important to ensure secure remote desktop services?

Having the correct RDP security is essential. Securing your remote desktop services can improve student satisfaction as they will feel that their data is more secure and they can use the system without concern. This will also translate into staff who are happier to take on the new challenges of adapting from traditionally classroom-based in-person education to the world of RDS.

Having excellent security also prevents potential viruses from damaging your systems and potentially disrupting the flow of the education students are receiving. Perhaps most importantly, important information is as protected as possible. Best of all, you will be saving both time and money in the long run by preventing outside attacks before they occur, rather than having to take care of them after the fact, which can be time-consuming and expensive, as well as damaging to the reputation of your establishment.

Security risks of remote desktop services

There are so many benefits to remote desktop services, from the speed of implementation to the ease of group work for students. RDS can help to recreate the classroom setting in a fairly realistic way while allowing students with a range of different devices to use the same systems. RDS has no device compatibility problems, which means that the variety of devices that you can use with it is quite open. This makes it more accessible to students who may have less modern devices. This encourages and enables the use of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) protocol, meaning that your organization will need to supply fewer devices for students and staff overall.

There are, however, security risks associated with RDS when there are flaws in your security or if you have misconfigurations. These include exposing RDS to the internet, which can allow untrusted users to try and connect to your system. This can cause outside attacks and serious data breaches.

Because of the lack of identity verification, this can also leave RDS open to security breaches and attacks, as well as such issues as denial of service and encryption attacks.

Improving security for your remote desktop services

It is understandably concerning to consider all the ways in which your remote desktop services and Windows server could become the victim of an attack. However, there are ways in which you can reduce the chances of falling victim to these security risks.

You should ensure that you have strong antivirus protection. This protects from viruses that may be encountered online and keeps your systems working normally. Viruses can slow down, corrupt, and even stop your systems from working, so antivirus protection is vital for those with RDS.

You should also restrict RDS to internal IP address ranges only. While this may not always be possible, it is a great way to ensure that external parties cannot easily access your systems.

Instilling network-level authentication can help with security issues. This prevents the user from accessing the full range of remote desktop services before they have been authenticated, which means that external parties are less likely to be able to access your RDS easily.

Utilizing high-level encryption helps to protect your data and reduce the risks of sensitive information being leaked. As standard, RDS uses medium-level encryption, but using a higher level means more security for your data and organization.

Configuring your systems to use transport-layer security authentication can increase the level of security between two or more devices, reducing the odds of data leaks when files are being shared.

Read our full guide to what to consider when implementing remote desktop software here.

What Software 2 can offer

If you think that remote desktop services could be a good option for your organization, then AppsAnywhere has plenty of options for your higher education setting. You can create virtual campus PC labs to replicate the lab experience in a remote, virtual setting, and improve the experience of your students by making their education accessible to them from anywhere, at any time. With our solutions, you can support those who need to use distance learning, and encourage BYOD. Whatever the size of your organization, we will have a solution suitable for you.

There is a whole new world of RDS out there for you to uncover and employ to allow your organization to educate in a more flexible way. Are you ready to ensure that your remote desktop protocol has the best security and the highest level of usability? Get in touch with us and let us see how we can help your higher education organization move forward into the future.

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