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What should IT consider when choosing VDI antivirus software?

Virtual desktops are just as susceptible to cyberattacks as any physical desktop. Here's what IT administrators need to know about choosing the right VDI antivirus software.

It's essential to safeguard against software viruses, even in VDI deployments.

Virtual desktops are susceptible to a wide range of risks and vulnerabilities. IT admins need a VDI antivirus platform that protects desktop images and user profile data alongside the servers that host them. At the same time, admins must take into account performance and maintenance considerations when implementing antivirus software.

One of the biggest considerations is whether the VDI antivirus platform runs agent software on each virtual machine or takes an agentless approach. An agentless antivirus tends to reduce IOPS and delivers better performance while minimizing maintenance. An agentless VDI antivirus platform might still run lightweight software on the virtual machine, which has little effect on performance. IT should watch out for other factors that can affect performance, however, such as scanning operations.

IT should ensure that the VDI antivirus software can handle all the organization's supported environments. IT must take into account the underlying server platform and the hypervisors running on VDI servers, whether it is VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or another system. IT should check that the VDI antivirus platform works with all guest operating systems running in all virtual machines. Some organizations may use Windows 7 in some virtual machines to support legacy applications, so IT must ensure that all virtual machines are protected.

Another consideration when evaluating VDI antivirus software is whether it can fully integrate into the environment. The antivirus software should also work alongside defense platforms such as intrusion detection systems or intrusion prevention systems without any negative effects. Additionally, the software should provide seamless management capabilities that can operate in conjunction with other technologies, such as policy-based security.

In many cases, the VDI antivirus software will be a part of a larger platform that provides integrated, multilayered security protections across physical and virtual infrastructure. It will incorporate such technologies as intrusion prevention, rules-based firewalls, reputation analysis or other features.

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