Friday, November 21, 2014

How Virtualization Improves Your Company’s Security

Virtualization can offer many solutions and benefits to companies, but the issue of system security has always been an ominous cloud hanging over the ultimate decision of whether or not it is right for your business. Since the initial success of using virtualization as a tool for companies, security professionals have doubted the risk-reward ratio for implementing virtualization strategies to businesses. However, the truth is that virtualization technology actually has inherent security advantages. Some of those built-in virtualization security benefits include isolation, segmentation, and service insertion and chaining.

By default, virtual networks are separated from the underlying physical infrastructure of a network as well as other virtual networks. This principle of isolation is the foundation of most network security and one of the core features of network virtualization. Virtualization provides isolation for the physical network, meaning that any attacks on the virtual network will not compromise the underlying physical infrastructure.

Isolation also means that virtual networks operating on the same hypervisor (or virtual machine manager) can have overlapping IP addresses, which allows for isolated development, testing and production of virtual networks. Even though the term “isolated” may be misleading, the isolation feature simply means that virtual networks can work simultaneously with less security risks.

The idea of segmentation is similar to isolation, except in the case of segmentation, the isolation takes place on a smaller scale where different tiers within a multitier virtual network are segmented from each other. Virtualization offers the big advantage of built-in segmentation. Traditional methods of achieving network segmentation is extremely time-consuming and highly prone to security breaches due to human error. Since network segmentation is a core capability of network virtualization, the need for segmentation configuration and maintenance of the physical firewall is eliminated.

Insertion, Chaining & Steering
All of the fancy terms like “insertion”, “chaining” and “steering” really just mean one thing: easier implementation of more advanced, third-party security services. The many inherent security advantages of virtualization are not always sufficient means of IT protection for certain businesses. In many cases, clients will choose to leverage a more advanced, third-party security service to protect their company.

Despite this, virtualization can make adding those third-party security services easier and more effective due to the inherent ability to distribute and enforce those services throughout the virtual network. In other words, virtualization technology enables security services, like next-generation firewalls, to be available locally on every hypervisor (VMM) in the network.

The security benefits of virtualization, discussed here, are not a fully exhaustive list, as there are even more ways that virtualization technology can reinforce your company’s system security. Virtualization can secure IT systems on the server, network and desktop level, making it a common software solution for many companies. VMware Certification Marketplace can provide you with all of the materials and information you need to become your company’s go-to virtualization expert — so get started at today!


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