There has been quite a bit of hype on whether virtual desktops provide more security than traditional desktops. All the marketing literature I have read says that it does improve overall security, but I believe this marketing literature makes several assumptions that are just not true in most organizations, and really do not account for the myriad ways data can be accessed, by limiting our scope to just virtual desktops instead of the full desktop experience we are thereby limiting our thoughts on security. Are virtual desktops more secure?
I am not sure how other people have learned their craft and mastered the technology they support, but for me, the learning started after the books ended. I have learned so much more from breaking something and having to find the fix than I ever did from reading a book. Back in the day around 2005, VMware released The VMTN Subscription. This was an amazing program that was something like the Microsoft MSDN subscription. These programs gave you the ability to run any of the core software packages for a year at a time for a subscription fee.
The October conference schedule is now complete and it was a tough one but very rewarding. The events that happened in October were numerous and overlapping in some cases. Travel was one week here and the next week there, yet we managed to get through it. Of the mass of conferences, I attended two, IPexpo as a guest and The ExecEvent and Hacker Halted as a speaker. I discovered something very strange, virtualization and cloud security are merely after thoughts. I felt this should have changed by now, but alas this is not the case. Is it that our scope is incorrect, or is it that there is no Return on Investment on security tools, procedures, etc?
The Virtualization Practice was recently offline for two days, we thank you for coming back to us after this failure. The reason, a simple fibre cut that would have taken the proper people no more than 15 minutes to fix, but we were way down on the list due to the nature of the storm that hit New England and took 3M people off the grid. Even our backup mechanisms were out of power. While our datacenter had power, the rest of the area in our immediate vicinity did not. So not only were we isolated from reaching any clouds, but we were isolated from being reached from outside our own datacenter. The solution to such isolation is usually remote sites and location of services in other regions of a county, this gets relatively expensive for small and medium business, can the Hybrid Cloud help here?
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Given the complexity of modern web sites, tools such as New Relic RPM are incredible assets and a valuable tool to determine what is happening within your environment. While your data does go into their SaaS offering, all SQL and other statements are scrubbed. The results of using this tool are incredible.
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There have been a large number of Announcements that have been made for VMworld Copenhagen with respect to virtualization and cloud security. This shows quite an interesting growth in the market, and that even 1 month apart there is still more to be announced within the virtual and cloud security spaces. There are three very interesting announcements that show further integration between vendors.
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This month (October 2011) there are a slew of conferences on virtualization and cloud technologies being held in Europe. The question becomes which to attend! If you are in the United States, this could be expensive considering the current Euro to Dollar exchange rate but if you are already in Europe one of these events is well worth attending, each has there own take and focus. But after the success of VMworld US, is there anything more to announce?
Whether you are building a new or adding to an existing virtual or cloud environment on a shoestring budget, whether for work or for home use, there is quite a bit to consider before you purchase anything and it all boils down to your requirements which will dictate the technology you need for your virtual environment. In addition, this is a perfect time to address any deficiencies in your environment to not only address capacity issues, requirements, and security. Along with those considerations, planning the environment for the next three to five years can help shape the overall design. In fact that design, will be based on the answers from a growing list of questions.
Whether or not to put data into the cloud has been a debate since clouds were first formed. At a recent conference I was asked:
with all the security issues you brought up, why should I go to the cloud, I do not know the administrators, nor can I gain cloud visibility, so why go to the cloud at all? and if so which cloud?
There are a myriad of reasons to go to the cloud, not the least of which is politics or being told to go to the cloud. When the real question is:
which cloud services is my organization already using and how can I gain control over the data being placed into the cloud.
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