Common Devices – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.9

Today’s technologists are managing many different kinds of devices in the enterprise. In this video, you’ll learn about thin and thick clients, laptops, phones, and tablets.

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As an administrator, you’ll be asked to take care of many different kinds of systems. In this video, we’ll look at some of these common devices. If you work in an environment with thin clients, then you’re probably used to seeing these very small computers on people’s desks.

These devices are they are just to provide the minimum amount of work because most of the work is really happening across the network on a central server. That means on someone’s desk you’ll probably see a small device like this one. There will be a monitor and a mouse and a keyboard. It is really the minimum input and output that you possibly need to be able to use the system. All

Of the power and all of the work is really happening on the server side across the network. That means on this device you’re probably not installing a full-blown operating system. You aren’t installing any local applications. Instead, this device is providing that remote capability into the centralized server where all of the applications and all of the operating systems will reside.

Since you’re not installing a full-blown operating system, you’re not installing any applications on this local device, there’s very little maintenance that has to be done. These are usually devices that have no moving parts. There probably isn’t even a fan inside of this device. It’s so small that it probably can be passively cooled. That means these devices are very inexpensive to purchase and very inexpensive to maintain.

The opposite of a thin client is a thick client. This is the traditional computer that we often think about. This is the PC that is a fully loaded computer with its own CPU. It’s got storage. You’re installing applications on this device. And it requires a full-blown operating system so that it acts as an independent computer.

That also means that this device requires as much support and as much configurations as any other device that would have its own independent operating system. So as security patches are released, you’ll have to make sure that your thick client is updated. As operating system updates become available, you’ll have to make sure they’re installed onto this thick client. And as applications need to be installed or updated, those will also have to be modified on this thick client workstation.

Your user accounts also have to be maintained. These will be the accounts that the user logs into the local workstation or logs into the local network to provide access. Usually, you’re putting these user accounts into one central database. Often, this is a Microsoft Active Directory database. And you would add the user account to this large centralized directory.

On a thin client, users commonly don’t need a local login to that device. Instead, that device is connecting to a larger system that is across the network. And that will be the system that the users need access to.

If your user is sitting in front of a thick client with its own full-blown operating system and applications, then you’ll not only need to have an account for the user to log into. You will need to add that device to the Microsoft domain. When the user turns on their thick client, they’ll be presented with a login screen. And they’ll use these account credentials to gain access to the resources on the thick client and any other resources that might be on the local network.

Users that need additional mobility will probably have a laptop computer. You can think of this as a thick client that is able to move from place to place. But because this device is mobile, there are additional administrative concerns you have to think about when you’re setting up these systems.

One of these might be how the touchpad is configured. There’s different finger combinations and swiping that would occur that you don’t have on a desktop computer. Another important administrative concern is how the data on this mobile device is able to be backed up so that all of this information remains safe.

This may be a little bit more difficult to administer because these mobile devices may never come back to the central office. You have to find some way to back up this data while this device is in the field. These laptop devices also use the wireless networks, wherever they might be. So there are additional administrative and security concerns on how your users will access these wireless networks.

That’s why it’s common to configure virtual private networking tunnels so that this user can communicate securely back to the central office. You might also want to configure some type of local drive encryption so that all of the data on this device is completely encrypted. If somebody was to gain access to this mobile device, they wouldn’t be able to see any of the data that was contained on this system’s storage device.

And if your users have mobile phones or tablets that they use, then you’ll probably want to think about using a mobile device manager, or an MDM. This will provide centralized management. So you’ll be able to manage all of your mobile devices wherever they happen to be.

For example, the MDM can be configured to force all of your devices to have lock codes or biometric access to provide security to these mobile devices. You might also want to use your mobile device manager to install all of the important applications that are used in your organization. This way, no matter where this mobile device happens to be, they’ll have all of their applications and all of their data available to them.

As with laptops, these mobile devices also have to be backed up. And we have to make sure that all of the data is constantly synchronized. And for that reason, we might also want include virtual private networking and other network security components to make sure that these devices are as secure as possible when out in the field.