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.

In the article End-to-End Virtual Machine Backup I mentioned the new VMware Workstation 7.0 feature that creates an encrypted disk but in reality it is an encrypted virtual machine, which also implies encrypting the virtual disk. This one option to VMware Workstation is something that is needed within VMware vSphere as well as the other hypervisors. Encrypting virtual disk data can add to the overall security stance based on the encryption technology employed. So what do we need with virtual disk encryption?

I recently participated in the InformationWeek Dark Security Virtual Event as a panel member with Hoff, Craig Balding, Chris Wolf, Glenn Brunette, and Jon Oberheide. A very far ranging group of individuals from research, security organizations, analysts, and authors. What is interesting is that most of these same people have joined me on the Virtualization Security Podcast, and the others I hope to have as guests next year. There was one question that set me to thinking even more, do we need a new way of thinking about virtualization security?

The last Virtualization Security Podcast covered PCI, Kurt Roemer and Jeff Elliot who were guests represented PCI.  PCI as you hopefully know is working on compliance guidance for payment systems running within virtual machines and the cloud. This early discussion is a plea for people to get involved in reviewing the currently developing white-paper. While…

Over the past year or so I have been thinking pretty heavily about the direction networking is taking within virtualization. In some ways, it appears security has been forgotten or relegated to ‘encrypt’ and forget. However, it takes quite a bit of knowledge and time to properly set up the backbone of an ‘encrypt’ and forget approach to network security, so it does not happen. Instead, we have a proliferation of technologies being used to cut down on cable clutter and thereby consolidate the network. These are all very important concepts. Security practitioners like myself realize that this type of consolidation WILL happen. So what tools are required to either ‘encrypt and forget’ or to protect these consolidated networks?

There has been great debate of what comprises the cloud, how to bound the cloud so that its easier to understand, and how to secure the cloud. Christofer Hoff of the Rational Survivabilty blog has been spear-heading quite a bit of discussion on cloud taxonomy in his attempts to wrap some thoughts around how to properly secure the cloud and everything within it. The start of this journey is the act of defining exactly what the cloud is, and is not. NIST’s document adds some more to an existing definition by defining public and private clouds.