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The Zero Client v Thin Client Difference

thin client vs zero client
August 10, 2018 / Evolve IP

Zero Clients and Thin Clients have several similarities, but there are important distinguishing characteristics too. Here’s help understanding the difference.

When it comes to considering the differences between Zero Clients and Thin Clients, the “you say to-mah-toe, I say to-mae-toh” song emphasizing small differences might come to mind. After all, the two clients also have many similarities. Yet, there remain several important distinguishing characteristics. This blog compares and contrasts the essentials.

 

We’re Not So Different After All

The demand for workforce mobility and the ability to collaborate remotely has prompted a massive migration to the cloud. Yet organizations still want to offer quality user experiences while ensuring the security of data, network, and systems. This led to the move to Thin and Zero Clients, lightweight computers replacing desktop hardware.

So, let’s start on a conciliatory note, focusing on the ways the Zero Client and Thin Client are alike. Main similarities include:

  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and computing power residing on networked servers
  • Consistent, standardized computing experience on any desktop, laptop, tablet or other mobile device as long as the user has network access
  • Enhanced security with vulnerability to virus/malware lessened
  • Reduced power usage.

 

Then Again, Maybe We Are

The Thin Client is built as a remote computer terminal. They have no hard drive and fewer moving parts than traditional PCs or re-purposed PCs. Yet the Zero Client has no local operating systems, no hard drive, and no moving parts. Instead, dedicated hardware decodes and digitally processes for PCoIP, HDX or RemoteFX VDI protocols. This leads to greater efficiencies than at Thin Clients. Zero Clients boot up more quickly, which can increase end-user productivity.

Thin and Zero Clients also have different connection types. Whereas the Thin Client will contain multiple VDI connection types, managed with a central utility, the Zero Client runs with one or two connection types (VMware or Citrix typically) which can be centrally managed (although this isn’t necessary). So, this can mean greater flexibility on the Thin Client side, but Zero Clients can enjoy a more robust graphics and video experience with a specific protocol.

While Thin Clients can boast small and less frequent software updates than clients with memory, storage, and computer power run on desktop personal computers, they still require updates more often and on a larger scale than Zero Clients. Configuration is short and relatively simple for the Zero Client, and software updates and maintenance requirements are minimal.

Designing the Thin Client to meet the individual end-user’s needs only requires the IT manager or host to install the proper applications. Thus, the Thin Client offers a well-rounded desktop experience with browsers, email clients, office/PDF viewers and connectivity to legacy client-server applications. On the other hand, the Zero Clients only have access to applications available to them from the data center server.

Zero Client devices are more secure. After all, there is no operating system to infect, and there is no data stored on the individual client. Also, the end users can’t pose the same threat with a Zero client as they are unable to install unauthorized or potentially infected software, can’t accidentally delete system files, or copy sensitive data to flash drives. By dramatically reducing the risk of virus or malware attack, the Zero Client can also decrease overall downtime.

 

Finding the Best Solution

Choosing between Thin and Zero Clients doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact an Evolve IP expert to discuss your business needs. We can assess your business goals and recommend the best devices to fit your organization’s objectives.

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The Evolve IP Compliance CloudTM

Compliance is a way to do business … not an afterthought when clients need it.

At Evolve IP we have a dedicated compliance and security practice and work with two of the world’s top 3rd-party compliance auditors, Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young, to enable customers to extend their compliance to our fully audited cloud. This focus allows us to deliver the documentation and assurances that other’s simply cannot including HIPAA / HITRUST, PCI-DSS (all 12 sections), SOC 2/3 and more. The Compliance CloudTM includes true client isolation, encryption in transit and at rest, private VLANs, firewalls and dozens of other security measures.

 
 

Compliance may vary by region

What Our Clients Say
  • “High-level technology, better compliance, cybersecurity, and communication capabilities are expected of all providers of financial services, regardless of size. With the rate of change and costs involved, it is difficult for any size credit union to keep pace. So when we were looking for a cloud technology partner, we emphasized the need to provide to our members with technology solutions that help them compete with larger banks and financial institutions, at a cost they can afford. Evolve IP offers all that, plus broad financial services industry experience and a pedigree of providing first-rate service to support growth and continually enhance the entire member experience.”

    David Frankil, Chairman of the NJCUL Services Corporation and President/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League

  • "The people that Evolve IP are more personable; you don't feel like there's necessarily a script when you're talking with them, they’re easy to understand, quick to get a hold of, and they follow through on what they say they're going to do."

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  • "I was a bit of skeptical because I've been told that by sales guys before...but you've all came through on every one of their promises and not only that, but even throughout our subsequent years of working with us as partners, you’ve stepped up to the plate whenever we needed something and provided a helping hand"

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  • "…we were assigned a project manager for our implementation they weren't just force-feeding one process down. they listened, they work with us, they adjusted schedules and they held our hand every step of the way…"

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What the Experts Think

Our analyst-acclaimed solutions are built on a world-class, compliant architecture that leverages the blue-chip technologies organizations already know and trust.

Gartner

We deploy best-of-breed solutions including: Disaster Recovery, Contact Center, Unified Communications, DaaS, IaaS. Our services are analyst-acclaimed, vendor-validated, client recommended and award-winning.

HITRUST

Evolve IP is proud to have achieved the honor of being HITRUST CSF certified! Certification to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) affirms that all of Evolve IP’s cloud computing and cloud communications services adhere to the strictest security standards for electronic protected health information (PHI). The HITRUST security standard was developed by and for the healthcare industry as a means of going above and beyond the compliance requirements of HIPAA.

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing healthcare organizations. The HITRUST CSF was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to provide an efficient and prescriptive framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA. HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. An important part of the “What is HITRUST” answer is understanding that the CSF is risk-based and compliance-based so that organizations can tailor the security control baselines and vendor management programs that they follow based on their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.

HIPPA

The Privacy regulations of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require health care providers, organizations, and their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI — paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Those who fail to adhere to HIPAA can suffer from huge fines climbing into the millions of dollars for major violations.

The Compliance Cloud™ fully enables covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA regulations to leverage a secure environment to process, maintain, and store protected health Information (PHI) featuring among other controls.

SSAW 16 Service Organization Control II (SOC 2)

Evolve IP has received an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II report on our internal controls relating to how we assess and address the potential risks associated with the security, availability, and confidentiality of not only the cloud-based services that we provide, but also our physical and logical infrastructure. Evolve IP utilizes the Certified Public Accounting firm of Grant Thornton to perform its annual audit and attestation in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 and the associated Trust Services Principles, as published by the AICPA, to evaluate the effectiveness of Evolve IP’s service organizations controls.

Forbes

While Forbes regularly features coverage and recognition about Evolve IP, they've most recently recognized Evolve IP as being the "Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2017".  They've ranked Evolve IP in the Top 3 just behind Google and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure classification.  (Feb 2017). Forbes  also recently recognizes Evolve IP for bringing Singer Equipment Corporation, a mainstream business based in PA, into the cloud by means of unified communication. (Sept  2017). Last year, Forbes recognized Evolve IP's survey of 1,080 executives citing that the number one reason to go to the cloud is the same reason that it is avoided. (Mar 2016).

Unified Communications Product of the Year

TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine have named Evolve IP’s unified communications platform as a 2017 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award winner. This marks the 6th time Evolve IP has been honored with this prestigious award and follows a series of product innovations that have allowed the company to rapidly expand its international coverage.

Evolve IP’s business collaboration tools and IP phone system dramatically improve employee productivity in the office and on the road with a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform that fully integrates voice, video, instant messaging & presence (IM&P), desktop sharing, audio/web conferencing and more. The company also provides a sophisticated Web-based management portal, OSSmosis®, that allows administrators to easily configure system functions and quickly modify users without the need to reach out to a third party for changes.

Inc.

Inc. magazine has recognized Evolve IP in the 34th annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive listing of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc.

The story of this year's Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top," says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. "You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don't achieve that kind of success by accident.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Evolve IP has achieved Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance covering all 12 sections of the PCI DSS. The PCI data security standard is a comprehensive set of standards that require merchants and service providers that store, process, or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to strict information security controls and processes. It was created by the founding brands of the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes American Express, Discover Financial, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc.

CSA STAR

Evolve IP is also a registered and participating member of the CSA Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR). The CSA was formed to encourage transparency of security practices within cloud providers. It is a free, publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings, thereby helping users assess the security of cloud providers they currently use or are considering contracting with. CSA STAR is open to all cloud providers, and allows them to submit assessment reports that document compliance to CSA published best practices. The searchable registry will allow potential cloud customers to review the security practices of providers, accelerating their due diligence and leading to higher quality procurement experiences. CSA STAR represents a major leap forward in industry transparency, encouraging providers to make security capabilities a market differentiator.

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM

Evolve IP has been ranked for the second consecutive year on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America – both public and private. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of technology that has included tech companies like Google, VMware and Facebook.

Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, life sciences, and energy the companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the period from 2012 – 2016.

Red Herring

Red Herring has named Evolve IP as one of the Top 100 Companies in North America.  Red Herring’s Top 100 recognizes the leading and most promising private companies from around the world. Among the over 20 criteria used to analyze companies for the award, Evolve IP was noted for its financial performance, technological innovation, customer footprint, the DNA of its founders and addressable market.

Red Herring selects the award winners for North America from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these organizations and its editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.

Entrepreneur

Evolve IP has been recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” in Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index, a study involving a comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. Based on this study forged by Entrepreneur, Evolve IP is recognized as a company that exemplifies growth, not just in top and bottom line, but in sustainability and the ability to achieve lasting success.

According to Entrepreneur, after evaluating approximately 10,000 U.S. based firms, the team of editors and researchers behind the E360 Performance Index collected more than 250 pieces of data from the finalists, focusing on growth drivers and challenges, goal setting, resource allocations, and reward systems. The analysis uncovered a class of leading companies, including Evolve IP, whose continued success is largely based on superior value creation for their customers, building an adaptive learning culture, and aggressive geographic expansion—placing them amongst the most dynamic firms in America today.

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