The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Security

Virtualization Security focuses upon end-to-end security, integrity, auditability, and regulatory compliance for virtualization and clouds. Virtualization Security starts where the cloud and virtual environments begin: the end user computing device. ...
We follow the user through the virtual and cloud stacks until they reach the application the user wishes to use to retrieve the data that is important to them. Virtualization and cloud security is implemented where there is an intersection between user, data, and application while maintain strict control of management interfaces. As such virtualization security looks into all aspects of security devices, tools, controls, and guides that impact or can be used to secure virtual and cloud environments.

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One year after announcing that he and XenSource co-founder Ian Pratt were leaving Citrix to launch Bromium with former Pheonix Technologies CTO Gaurav Banga; Simon Crosby was back at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco today to unveil Bromium’s micro-virtualization technology together with its plans to transform enterprise endpoint security.

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The 6/14 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke about firewall placement within the virtual environment as well as storage based defense in depth. While we covered Encryption on the 5/31 podcast, in the 6/14 podcast we covered other measures when dealing with storage (which will be part of a followup post). This conversation was slightly different than all other firewall discussions, as it was about migrating from a physical environment to a virtual environment, and keeping the same firewall placements. Spurred by a customer, we sought to come to a set of guidelines to follow for defense in depth within the virtual as well as physical and hybrid cloud environments.

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The 5/31 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke to High Cloud Security about encryption as a defense in depth, and where to place encryption within the virtual environment. This lead to an intriguing discussion about what is actually missing from current virtual environments when it comes to encryption. We can encrypt within each VM and we can encrypt within the networking fabric, as well as within the drives themselves, but currently that leaves several vulnerabilities and unencrypted locations that can be used as attack points. While we concentrated on vSphere, what we are discussing applies equally to all hypervisors.

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One of the decisions faced by anyone that wishes to have a cloud presence is what will be moved to the cloud, why, and whether or not there is a service that can be used instead of using virtual machines. Give The Virtualization Practice’s case, we plan on moving our customer facing VMs to the cloud, but what are those machines? The most important are a Web Server with a split LAMP stack, a Mail Server, and DNS.

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The 5/17 Virtualization Security Podcast was an open forum on the Cloud Security Alliance initiatives, specifically the Security, Trust, & Assurance Registry (STAR). Which is “a free, publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings.” The CSA has grown from a grass roots organization to a major player and producer or guidance for security and compliance for clouds.

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The 5/3 Virtualization Security Podcast had a very special guest, a teenager. This surprise guest told us about how she and her friends use their smartphones and cloud services such as FaceBook, Twitter, SMS, etc. For the panelist, it gave us a new look at our existing problems; expanding our viewpoint for end-user computing security, cloud security, and expectations of privacy.

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Some of us have multiple cloud endpoints in the form of mobile devices all trying to access our personal and corporate data to do our daily jobs. These incredibly useful devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) are now a part of our organizations life. So how do we protect our data from them. IBM recently took a draconian measure of banning Siri from their employees iPhones. Yet, how can they enforce such a measure?

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Symantec and others are providing more products that fill the gaps in current End-to-End Hybrid Cloud Security. These solutions range to improved log analysis through multi-layer security for critical systems. If these solutions are rolled out would we finally have secure environments? Would we be approaching the dream of secure multi-tenancy? But first what are the products that have come to light?

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There seems to be a myriad of definitions of who is a tenant when it comes to secure multi-tenancy. This debate has occurred not only within The Virtualization Practice as well as at recent Interop and Symantec Vision conferences I attended. So who really is the tenant within a multi-tenant environment? It appears multiple definitions exist and if we cannot define Tenant, then how do you build secure applications that claim to be multi-tenant?