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Dell Windows 10 thin clients boost virtual desktop security

Dell is banking on the success of Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system by incorporating it into two of its Wyse 5000 and 7000 series thin clients.

Dell's most advanced thin clients yet will no doubt give HP a run for its money, especially with Windows 10 added to the mix.

Dell is the first hardware vendor to offer thin client devices configured with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. That edition is a full version of the operating system (OS) meant specifically for enabling device lockdown on industry-specific endpoints such as ATMs, point-of-sale terminals and of course thin clients, making it possible to support verticals including retail, finance, healthcare and manufacturing.

Part of the Wyse 5000 and Wyse 7000 series, the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise thin clients provide workspaces for delivering high-performing virtual desktops that can take advantage of the security and management features built into Windows 10. Two models are configured with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise: the Wyse 5020 and Wyse 7020.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise brings enterprise-grade security and manageability.

Both Dell Windows 10 thin clients include quad-core AMD G-Series processors, 32 GB Flash storage and 4 GB RAM DDR 3. For graphics, they use AMD Radeon HD graphics cards. They also include built-in Kensington security slots, four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, and are enabled for 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet and Remote Desktop Protocol 10 as well as Citrix-certified. The 7020 is a beefier machine, but its power consumption comes in at under 10 watts, whereas the 5020 is closer to 15 watts. A five-watt difference might not seem like much, but adding that up across thousands of machines, the difference in energy usage can be considerable.

What Windows 10 IoT Enterprise provides

What sets the Dell Windows 10 thin clients apart from comparable devices is Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, which brings enterprise-grade security and manageability. The OS also supports Universal Windows Apps as well as interoperability between thin client devices. It comes with several built-in technologies to help protect thin clients:

  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM): Security technology implemented through a special chip installed on the thin client, providing a cryptoprocessor for carrying out cryptographic operations.
  • BitLocker: Drive encryption software that encrypts all data on the device hosting the Windows OS. BitLocker uses the TPM chip to help protect the data, especially if the device is lost, stolen or left unattended.
  • Secure Boot: Security feature that prevents unsigned programs and drivers from loading and accessing the device kernel, system files or other software for malicious purposes.
  • Windows Defender: Antimalware software that helps protect the OS and device against viruses, spyware and other possible threats.

Managing Dell Windows 10 thin clients

Dell provides several options for managing the Wyse thin clients. One is to use Wyse Device Manager (WDM), a secure, highly scalable software tool for managing and monitoring Wyse thin and zero clients. With WDM, IT can manage a few thousand devices to tens of thousands, all from a single management server. Wyse Device Manager lets admins deploy software, apply patches, perform updates, manage policies and perform other administrative tasks.

Another option is System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Microsoft's offering for managing desktops and servers across the enterprise. The SCCM platform lets IT control systems remotely, deploy OS images, distribute and inventory software and more. Plus, SCCM has the advantage of not being locked into the Dell product line. IT can use it to manage HP thin clients or other device types.

The Windows difference

It was inevitable we would start seeing Windows 10 on an assortment of devices, including the IoT Enterprise edition, but Windows 10 is still a young OS and has yet to fully prove itself.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise should certainly be enough to power virtual desktops on these Wyse thin clients. If done right, the client OS should be practically invisible, which puts the emphasis on how well the devices will perform. Both Dell Windows 10 thin clients are available for evaluation, so IT shops have no reason not to give them a spin.

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