Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions have become a popular choice for higher education organizations. VDI replaces physical desktops with a virtual desktop environment, which provides students and staff with the same tools and information they could access from a physical desktop found in a university building. It allows for easier transitions from learning on-campus to learning at home and means that education is less fragmented when these changes occur.

The increased security provided by VDI solutions means that higher education organizations can rest assured that data is kept where it belongs. Unlike a physical desktop, no information is stored on individual devices.

The security benefits of a VDI solution

Using VDI as a remote working solution within a higher education organization provides a huge number of benefits but the enhanced security that these solutions can offer is one of the biggest benefits.

Protect data

Across a higher education organization, there is likely to be a huge amount of sensitive data stored in different ways and on different devices. VDI helps to erase this concern. Currently, physical desktops on campus must be kept secure whenever they are not in use. But how does this translate if your faculty and student body are working on their own devices at home, on-site, or anywhere else?

With VDI, all data is held in a data center. This data center is much more protected against security leaks than individual devices could ever be.

Keeping VDI secure

BYOD policies

If you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place, there can be a number of concerns around security surrounding them. With VDI, users will have secure, remote access from their own devices, so will help BYOD policies to be more secure.

The resources and information on offer from the organization are firmly separated from individual devices so, if they are lost or stolen, the information stored in the cloud remains unaffected.

All devices tend to have their own pitfalls and vulnerabilities. It can be difficult to protect against all viruses and malware, especially with a BYOD policy where the students and staff may not have the best protection available from these kinds of attacks. VDI protects users from malware, again providing increased security measures and keeping information undamaged.

Secure encrypted connection

With more students studying off-campus and on the go, top of the line encryption to keep data secure wherever they are. When you opt to introduce a VDI solution to a higher education setting, this comes with a secure encrypted connection, which is essential on campus but becomes even more vital when students and staff are working in their own homes.

VDI security vs other solutions

When looking to provide a more cloud-based learning experience for students and improving security, there are other options available.

Physical desktops

Physical desktops are the current standard. However, there are many issues associated with opting to stay with a purely physical desktop solution, especially when it comes to security. These machines are left on campus (which may not always be accessible to those who need to use them (and are therefore vulnerable to theft, misuse, and damage due to wear and tear).

If data is stored on the machine rather than centrally, it becomes much easier for security to be breached or for the machine to become unusable.

In contrast, the data stored within a VDI solution is not held on a physical machine, which means that even if the user’s device is stolen or damaged, all of the data they access from the VDI solution remains unchanged and can be accessed from a different machine or device.


A virtual private network (VPN) is another popular solution that allows users to connect with their university network remotely via an internet connection. It allows students to access shared folders, printers, and other similar network resources. While VPN has security systems set up, it is easier for data to be leaked and this can increase the chances of data breaches.


Remote desktop services (RDS) solutions are another remote working solution used by many higher education organizations. Users share an operating system, applications and hardware. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of these solutions is that the system is easily exposed to untrusted users, leaving it open to attack from the wider internet. There is also a weaker level of authentication, which could lead to hacking.

Compared to these two options, VDI offers a higher level of encryption, which is especially important for those using shared or public Wi-Fi connections, and can work with Windows or Apple devices to provide the best security. 

The importance of implementing a secure solution

Implementing a secure solution has never been so important. Considering how to keep university information and resources safe, while providing better continuity of education for students and allowing them to work on and off-campus is more important than ever before.

With BYOD becoming more prominent and students working across more different places, the security of university resources is a pressing concern. In addition, increased security also frees up IT teams by allowing for less time spent on dealing with security breaches.

It also makes it much easier to implement a BYOD solution that works for both the organization and users of the solution. By providing end-users with the most secure digital workspace, they can keep their work resources safe and access the materials they need more easily wherever they are without fear of data breaches. A VDI environment offers the best security available while promoting accessibility which is ideal for a modern educational setting.

To find out more about implementing a VDI solution or a BYOD solution, please contact our expert team at AppsAnywhere.

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