In the last year, organizations worldwide have been tasked with quickly and efficiently empowering workers with the tools and technologies they need for remote work and connectivity. As businesses sent employees home, one of the first challenges was providing remote workers with a secure way to connect to business-critical resources, without introducing security breaches in the corporate IT infrastructure.

Praim’s ThinOX4PC provides the ability to quickly offer remote workers with a secure platform for remote connectivity. ThinOX4PC delivers the flexibility and options to allow businesses to decide how they want to provide the remote ThinOX system, either installing or preserving the original system booting from USB. Let’s take a closer look at ThinOX4PC and its options for IT administrators who need to manage workforce in mobility.

What is Praim ThinOX4PC?

To begin, let’s briefly consider an overview of Praim ThinOX4PC and its capabilities. How is ThinOX4PC used? ThinOX4PC turns PCs, notebooks, and other third-party thin clients into managed Praim Thin Clients. It provides many advantages, including securing remote connectivity and providing seamless management across the remote estate. It can also help extend the life of old client hardware. How does ThinOX4PC do this?

ThinOX4PC is a specialized, thin Linux distribution that can either be used from a USB drive (untouching the device disk) or installed locally on the hard drive. Once ThinOX4PC is booted, it provides a secure Linux GUI that allows end-users to access their virtual work environments, including Citrix, VMware Horizon, Microsoft RDS, and cloud ones. The device configuration and the virtual resources to be accessed can be directly and dinamically manageded from a centralized console (the Praim ThinMansoftware). In this way, the IT admin can distribute to the remote workforce all the reference to securely reach their resources.

Centralized management

With Praim ThinOX4PC, thin client devices are provisioned as Praim thin clients, manageable from the Praim ThinMan server, which provides administrators the ability to manage thin clients centrally, including firmware updates, configuration, policies, and other capabilities. Administrators can also perform day-to-day operations such as switching on endpoints, logging in remotely, and even assist users in mobility with remote support.

Boot from USB

Praim ThinOX4PC can be used in two different ways, on a USB drive from which to directly boot the system, or via a local installation on the device (PC, laptop or thin client). How does the boot from USB method work? End-users plug in the USB device to their PC and restart the computer, choosing to boot from the “Live” USB drive. This method leaves the locally installed operating system intact on the PC. The computer hardware essentially runs from the USB drive for the duration of the remote session. It provides many benefits, including speed and immediacy of use. This also preserve the local disk from any change so that the local system can be used at chance (are you considering e.g. to replace old Windows 7 systems?). Booting from the USB disk provides a self-contained remote work environment, with little to no configuration and the possibility to be automatically configured as soon as reaching the remote console ThinMan.

Below, a PC booted from the Praim ThinOX4PC Live USB disk configured with a connection to connect to a VMware Horizon environment. Again, this can be accomplished in parallel with data loaded locally on the hard disk. Once done on a device, the configuration can be replicated and distributed to all the other ThinOX device from ThinMan. ThinMan can also directly configure the device from remote, e.g. to add a new virtual enviroment resource, and apply the changes.

VMware Horizon resorce added to ThinOX4PC

Local installation on the PC

With the local installation of Praim ThinOX4PC, administrators can choose to replace the locally installed operating system on the device. This approach installs ThinOX4PC locally and provides the means to provide a persistent ThinOX4PC environment moving forward on the thin client device. With this approach, the local hard drive is formatted, and ThinOX4PC is installed as the primary operating system for the end-user.

When you boot your device from the Live USB drive, you will see the icon on the desktop to install ThinOX4PC locally on the hard disk.

Option to install ThinOX4PC locally on the hard drive

You will receive the message that the local hard drive will be overwritten with the Praim ThinOX4PC installation.

Security benefits

Let’s consider the security benefits of the solution. With Praim ThinOX4PC operating system installed on your devices, you get a total block writing: such a feature turns the thin client to an endpoint completely immune to viruses and various types of tampering from malicious sources.

This capability means that only system administrators can install updates to the platform, change configurations, and establish remote connectivity to corporate resources. It provides the means for organizations to allow end-users to use BYOD hardware instead of corporate-issued devices through the USB solution.

With USB boot, the end-user is no longer using the data, software, and potential security threats on the local BYOD. Instead, a clean, pristine, secure, and manageable solution is established, just exploting the computational capabilities of the device.

If you want to use it from USB, you have 2 possibilities:

  • USB can be prepared and distributed from the system administrators, e.g. to already include the desired configuration.
  • Otherwise, Praim offers also the native ThinOX4PC USB product, on high performance and robust USB drive, that can be directly shipped to the remote workes to be used out-of-the-box. Such solution supports end users with an initial wizard assisting them during the auto-configuration of the product. In two simple steps the users can choose whether to connect to their local WiFi network and insert the URL of the corporate ThinMan Server so that to receive and be automatically configured with the corporate profile.

Creating your own ThinOX4PC Live USB

Praim makes the process of creating the ThinOX4PC Live USB boot disk a simple process. The downloaded .zip package contains everything you need to create the Live USB disk, including the Rufus utility.

Files for installing ThinOX4PC

You simply insert a new USB disk you want to use for the Praim ThinOX4PC Live installation and use Rufus to write the DD image to the disk.

Using Rufus to deploy the DD image to a USB disk

Easy reachability

With the release of Praim Web Socket Secure protocol, end-points can bilaterally communicate over a simple HTTPS SSL web connection without the need for using VPN, opening up obscure ports on home Internet connections and firewalls in between. Remote workers can easily start working by connect to the externally reachable ThinMan Server address. This allows the endpoint to be managed remotely and enables the end-user to have access to the internal corporate resources needed without overcoming networking challenges.

Concluding Thoughts

With Praim ThinOX4PC, organizations can easily provision secure remote thin client devices, even with personal BYOD hardware. The ThinOX4PC’s secure Linux distribution allows creating a locked write to disk environment where no data is allowed to be written to either the USB disk or the internal hard drive. In this way, the environment is a secure operating system that exists in parallel with the installed operating system on the internal hard drive.

As shown, the ThinOX4PC USB disk is extremely easy to provide and deploy in the field on any hardware. With Praim’s easy connect technology using Web Socket Secure, endpoints communicate with ThinMan Server via HTTPS SSL encrypted web connectivity. In this way, there are no network hurdles to overcome for remote users.

Check out Praim ThinOX4PC for a fully-featured trial version here.