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Why Zscaler's Zero Trust Exchange is an Alternative to VDI, Part 1


I think it is important to set the stage. I am an EUC (End User Computing) guy, I lived and breathed EUC for all of my career. I worked at a very large virtualization company who specialized in VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and MDM (Mobile Device Management). 

I saw a few drastic shifts during my 10+ years in EUC. I saw promises made about new innovations that never came to light and saw awesome features get released. Then we saw a paradigm shift within the last few years. Suddenly it was no longer “the year of VDI” as we proudly exclaimed every year, it was “the year of legacy”. VDI was now seen as commodity or legacy technology as applications moved to being SaaS and web based. Why would I give my end user a full VDI desktop if I could access my apps from any device now that they were web based?

We then started to see private equity companies come in and buy some of these EUC vendors, companies that historically bought legacy technology such as mainframes. 


Surely nothing bad could come out of this right? Well, I wish I could say you are correct. Instead we started getting reports of one of these EUC vendors calling hospitals who are already operating in negative margins to tell them to open the checkbook up. I heard from multiple customers that they got sticker shock as their renewal came with less than 30-days of notice of prices rising from 20-200% with a 3-year lock in. If I wanted a year as a customer they were tacking on an additional 20% for that 1-year price. How, as a hospital with change control in place, could I ever get off of these systems if I was being told with such short notice? VDI isn’t just serving up my office workers but serving up my clinical applications such as my EHR system. 

I’m sure that if I am paying all of this money for VDI though that it would be secure right? Right?! 



Even with all of that money they still were not making their product secure enough for hospitals. Multiple zero days and systems compromised just in 2023 so far. 

Even a major EHR vendor started sending emails to their customers telling them now was the time to switch! Telling them to get ahead of this change, telling them that they will support their latest release on physical desktop and that hospitals can’t afford this massive price hike.

What makes Zscaler different? We are the largest cloud cybersecurity company in the world. We are an industry leader and we believe security comes first. Instead of trying to be a hypervisor, VDI, Identity Provider, Load Balancer, and security company, we stick to what we are good at and partner with some of the best in the industry to provide services for what we don’t do. Partners like Splunk for SIEM, CrowdStrike for XDR, and Okta for identity. We invented the term Zero Trust. We know that getting your users connected to their apps, securing their access, and not disrupting workflow is imperative - all with keeping costs down. 

Join me for Part Two as we talk about the technical differences between Zscaler and VDI when it comes to delivering application access. 

In the meantime, watch our recent webinar: Secure & Efficient EHR Delivery Without Expensive VDI/DaaS Contracts.

You can also find more information on our healthcare page.

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