Virtualization promises a lot of benefits to organizations that embrace it, from cost saving capabilities to network segmentation. In fact, most companies that are embracing virtualization of their data centers have virtualized at least 75% of them on average, according to the Information Week website. However, just like any other disruptive technology, virtualization doesn’t lack a few security risks that it exposes organizations to.
While some businesses will tend to shy away from this technology in fear of facing such security challenges, most will invest in it only to face these issues afterward. Instead of shying away from it in the name of security, a bold company should face these challenges head-on as they are quite easy to eliminate.
Here are a few security challenges that virtualization tags along and the best ways to remedy them:
The Risk Of Vulnerabilities In Virtualization Layers
Virtualization layers tend to form one of the most vital aspects of IT infrastructure, and just like any coded software, they can still contain vulnerabilities. If hackers find a way to gain control of these layers, they can easily cripple your organization. As a result, the onus is on IT leaders to discover vulnerabilities quickly and patch them as soon as they can.
Tools such as log management software can easily help in the identification of such loopholes in good time. On the other hand, using server monitoring software to monitor the health of the server can also help to identify symptoms of vulnerabilities. Above all, your organization shouldn’t rely on only host-based server security policies and controls to detect compromises or deal with vulnerabilities below the virtualization layers.
Failure To Consider Workload Trust Level
As you continue to implement virtualization, you will eventually shift sensitive workloads to virtualized environments. While this is not a problem, the problem comes in where you might store various workloads from unique trust zones in a single server without exercising enough separation. At the very least, workloads of different trust levels will need the same type of infrastructure separation that is commonly used in physical business networks today.
Workloads hosted in virtual desktops should be seen as untrusted, and should be separated from the other physical data centers. As such, you should invest in solutions that can help tell different workloads apart to prevent the potential mixup of different trust level workloads in the same network server.
Loss Of Duty Separation
Once physical servers in a single IT infrastructure are collapsed into a single host, they increase the risk that both users and administrators will gain access to information that is beyond their privilege level. Additionally, it might be tough to identify who among the two parties is responsible for configuration of the internal virtual server switch.
To dissipate this confusion, the same team that caters to network topology configuration in physical environments should be in charge of the virtual environments. Additionally, you should prefer using virtualization platform architectures that will give you the luxury to use replaceable switch codes. This way, the same policies, and consoles will span the virtual and physical configurations.
Virtualization Infrastructure Is Complex
In the case of small businesses, the infrastructure of virtual environments may be confusing to understand. This will often make it tough to identify system anomalies affecting virtual networks and machines in good time. The trick is to have as much control and threat intelligence as possible to counter this.
For you to eliminate this challenge, you should develop a system and invest in tools that will help in the constant auditing of your virtual machines. Using tools to automate this will further make the task easier as you will only need to assess the contextual alerts to determine the underlying problems.
You shouldn’t hesitate when it comes to implementing virtualization in your organization as this will only deny you the many perks that it has in store. Instead, you should assess the risks it will introduce to your organization and look to face them head-on. As long as you can make the perks outweigh the risks, you will get to enjoy the benefits that virtualization brings to the table.