Thin Client vs. Thick Client vs. Zero Client

By | January 17, 2020

Finding the best client for security, performance, virtualization, mobility and the cloud.

How thin can you go? New clients continue to be introduced, like HP’s unveiling of the t310 G2 All-in-One Zero Client in January. With client types on the market ranging from traditional thick desktop computers to PC over IP zero clients and everything in between, IT decision-makers are left with tough questions as they try to parse out the differences and best uses of various client types.

By considering the particular strengths of thick clients vs. thin clients vs. zero clients around several key attributes, IT teams can implement the right solutions to meet the need of their businesses.

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What Is a Zero Client: The Security Benefits and Beyond

One of the signature strengths of zero clients is security. Because a zero client has no local operating system, the avenues of attack are radically reduced.

But, says David Johnson, a principal analyst at Forrester, even a zero client carries some degree of vulnerability.

“Zero clients have at least some firmware,” says Johnson. “Firmware is vulnerable to attack, or can be. But in general, it should be easier to secure a zero client. With an entire PC there are a lot of attack surfaces.”