What is a Shared Workstation?
A shared workstation is a computer that is accessed by more than one user. Also known as a "kiosk computer", these computers can have two purposes:
- Computer is shared between employees as part of the company's workflow. Examples include shared computers in a hospital that doctors and nurses access or a manufacturing shop floor computer used by different shifts.
- Computer can be specifically assigned to a public area for customers to make transactions or look up information ('information kiosks').
In most cases, workstations in the workplace are shared because of a need to share a certain desktop application login, save cost on licensing per user accounts, or just to save time on logging in.
Problems with shared computers
- Less security with more people accessing one workstation.
- Clean audit trails are made impossible since no one can tell which end user logged in when.
- Problems with communicating new password updates.
- Compliance violation: many compliance regulations mandate that each user must be uniquely identifiable.
- Users may end up inputting data into the wrong Windows account.
- Login process can be slower. Switching users takes time.
Shared computers may be convenient, but they present plenty of new problems for IT managers trying to secure computers and passwords.
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