In some industries, thin client technology has revolutionized the workplace.
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The days of equipping every workstation with fully functional and often pricey computer solutions are over, replaced by thin client terminals that deliver improved security and efficiency to the company's IT environment.
Now thin client technology is also making inroads in the area of mobile computing. Instead of arming field workers with high-powered laptops, some companies are equipping them with mobile thin client devices that lack the capacity to function independently. Users simply log into the corporate server and the thin client device gives them access to company files and applications.
Mobile thin client devices have limitations that may make them inappropriate for some companies. However, if you're looking for a way to improve security, streamline your OS and reduce costs, it's worth your time to consider the pros and cons of mobile thin client computers.
Advantages of Mobile Thin Client Computing
- Security management. One of the primary advantages of mobile thin client technology is that it virtually eliminates the risk of security breaches. If an employee loses a thin client device, your only exposure is the cost of the device itself -- not data that would normally be stored on a traditional device's hard drive.
- Cost. Mobile thin client devices run approximately $700. When you compare that to the average $1,200+ price tag of a traditional laptop, it's easy to see how mobile thin client technology can reduce the cost of outfitting field personnel.
- Administration. Field staff gain immediate access to the same upgrades, software versions and data as employees who are located on-site. IT personnel rarely need to service or maintain these devices because they are sturdier and more stable than traditional laptops.
- Performance. Battery life goes through the roof with mobile thin client devices. Low energy requirements mean that your field personnel can enjoy wireless functionality for hours at a time.
Disadvantages of Mobile Thin Client Computing
- Connectivity restrictions. Mobile thin client devices cannot function without a network connection. Wireless interference or the lack of a plug-in network connection could translate into significant periods of downtime for remote workers.
- Use limitations. Workers with traditional laptops can often continue to work in environments where wireless connections are restricted (e.g. air travel). Staff members who have been equipped with thin client devices may be frustrated by their inability to perform essential, off-line tasks.