KVM — for keyboard, video, mouse — switches have become almost as common in offices as computer monitors. The devices allow a user to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, video monitor and mouse. You almost never see anyone with multiple monitors on their desk when a single display and set of input devices can be attached to many different systems. Because a human can’t really work on more than one system at the same time, having a KVM switch makes loads of sense.
This wasn’t always the case. When we first started reviewing KVM switches, the attitude of many people seemed to be, “You can take my multiple monitors only out of my cold, dead hands.” But once people got used to them, the benefits far outweighed any nostalgia for a “Matrix”-like office with curtains of monitors. KVM switches free up an incredible amount of space and conserve energy because you have fewer displays sitting around sucking in power and pumping out heat.
But it’s not all cake and ice cream in the world of KVMs. In certain environments they can be a bit of a negative, or even a risk. If you have multiple computers with different security classifications, networking them together by any means is generally frowned upon. Also, they offer a tempting target for hackers as they are generally not secured and sometimes overlooked in the context of an overall security plan.