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.

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?

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?

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.

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.