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.

Christmas is over and New Years is on its way. A time to make resolutions and see the year complete. A time to review what is old and plan for the future. This is a perfect time to review your defense in depth and look to see if there are security additions needed in 2012. So what cloud and virtualization security New Years resolutions should I make for 2012?

While the legacy enterprise management vendors might like to think of themselves as the Borg (prepare to be assimilated – there is no escape), the new technical requirements and the new buying patterns in the virtualization market do not lend themselves to a repeat of history. Legacy management vendors are unlikely to be able to acquire themselves into this market because their core platforms and business models do not work with the customers who are running virtualized environments and buying management solutions. So to my good friend Andi Mann, I respectfully disagree.

There needs to be better Data Loss Prevention applied to Social Media than there exists today and how that will be applied globally is a huge issue. But it is a growing trend. I see on twitter from those I know many things that should not appear: from the discussion of internal only intellectual property to locations sent to 4 square. Add into this, the myriad forms of ‘U There’ requests. It is so easy to tell people anything on twitter, that it also becomes a problem with telling people too much even in 146 characters. Yet, I also see the same when using text messages, chat, and other technologies. So what is the solution?

VMware has had a great 2011. Product execution was excellent on all fronts except for VMware View where there are also larger strategy issues afoot. VMware is and likely will remain next year not only the most important, but the best system software vendor on the planet. We can only look forward to continued progress with vSphere, the management offerings, and the applications platform offerings.

2011 saw a shift in how virtualization security was viewed and it showed in the way companies teamed up to address those needs. Even so, the most basic of issues still exist: The thought that once you virtualize you are more secure, and the lack of general protection for the management constructs of a virtual or hybrid environment. These two concepts have hindered adoption of virtualization security in 2011. Even so, there has been a steady shift through out the year as more and more companies talk about virtualization security. VMware has definitely lead the pack with its vShield Product line and its unified view of virtualization security. Other hypervisor vendors are also discussing virtualization security through their ecosystem if not directly. 2011 saw many companies forging their own partnerships to augment and compete in this space. Will these partnerships continue into 2012? Will virtualization security continue to be a hot area?

Our very own Texiwill hosts a weekly Virtualization Security Round Table podcast. This round table provides an open forum to discuss all things related to Virtualization, Virtual Environment and cloud computing security. We’ve questioned before the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure with respect to security. Is VDI secure? Is VDI inherently more secure than “traditional desktops”? The article Virtual Desktop Security? Are They Secure? considered the VDI vendor claims that there are several big virtual desktop security

On 10/6 was held the Virtualization Security Podcast featuring Davi Ottenheimer in his role as a QSA. Davi holds down many roles working with companies such as VMware, yet he maintains his QSA credentials and applies his knowledge of PCI Compliance. In this podcast we ask the question, is a virtual environment always mixed-mode and what to do if your QSA does not have the knowledge required to do the job?

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?

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?