Thin Clients completely eliminate these concerns because all application software is stored on central servers that can be easily maintained in a secured environment. Limited access assures only authorized administrators will be making system modifications, and keeps the systems free from unwanted programs and data.
Security of Business Operation
In spite of any company´s best efforts, there will still be incidents that result in the loss of the operator interface station. This may not be because of intentional wrongdoing or sabotage – it may be a result of an accident or other unavoidable event. The most important thing to do when this does happen is to get the operator interface back up and running as quickly as possible.
Finding a replacement PC and reinstalling and reconfiguring software and drivers is a complex task that requires specially trained personnel and, usually, a great deal of time. A Thin Client, however, can be replaced by plugging in a new one. Not only is the software and configuration ready to go immediately, but in most cases the application will still be running and displaying the same screen.
Reduction of theft risk
A true Thin Client is not a PC. Thin Clients have no local storage, and, if it is Thin Client that boots over the network, does not even have a local operating system and will not boot without a Windows Terminal Server. There are many locations where Thin Clients have replaced laptop computers because a Thin Client is not an item that will be of any use away from the Thin Client network. Installing an interface that is non-functional outside of your plant will discourage people from taking it, even for use at other locations within your company.
Resistance to viruses
PCs that are used to display the operator interface for manufacturing processes are frequently the object of hackers. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most common is that operators have idle time alone with the computer, often very late at night and often far away from other people.
Most hacking attempts and addition of virus programs are made via the floppy drive, either by rebooting the computer or by breaking out to a DOS shell. Although companies usually try to keep their computers secure, the truth is that you could walk out on the plant floor right now and probably easily get to the DOS prompt and the “A:” drive on a number of computers.
Thin Clients have no floppy drive, or any local drive at all for that matter. This greatly reduces the number of entry points for user break-in attempts and the addition of unwanted software. IT can now focus on the much easier task of keeping the company´s servers secure, which is something that they are doing an excellent job of anyway.
The addition of a virus is often unintentional; unwanted and malicious programs can attach themselves to games installed by operators, or to a floppy disk itself. Even programs that are working as they are supposed to may have an unanticipated impact on the operation of the PC.
Each day it seems that security concerns are becoming more at issue, but a Thin Client and Terminal Services system will go a long way toward providing solutions for the long term without adding an undue burden.