I and others look at Virtualization Security constructs with an eye towards Cloud Security, but they are not necessarily the same. Granted for some clouds, virtualization security can lead to cloud security but this really depends on how the cloud’s architecture. Even so, what we know from Virtualization Security WILL apply to Cloud Security and will be the basis for best practices. But you say, my cloud does not use Virtualizaiton? Ah ha, I say, but it is still a cloud? And that implies there are similar security concerns. This was the discussion on the 1/26 Virtualization Security Podcast.
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One of the basic tenants of virtualization security is to protect the management components of your virtualization hosts by placing these all important components on a separate network. These components often include management servers such as SCOM, vCenter, XenCenter, VirtManager, etc. as well as the management appliances of your virtualization hosts. In essence, the use of a properly configured, firewalled, and monitored virtualization management network would be the simplest and most effective security measure that can be made to day within any virtual environment. A message shared by Citrix, VMware, myself, and many others.
The problem is that not everything is as black and white as security folks desire. If we implement performance and other management tools, we often need to expose part of our all important virtualization management network to others. But how do we do this safely, securely, with minimal impact to usability? Why do we need to this is also another question. You just have to take one look at the Virtualization ASsessment TOolkit (Vasto) to realize the importance of this security requirement. But the question still exists, how do you implement other necessary tools within your virtual environment without impacting usability? Which we discussed on the May 5th Virtualization Security Podcast.
In the End-to-End Virtualization Security Whitepaper we review various aspects of server security with an eye to determining how the products would work together to create a secure virtual environment. While some of these tools are cross-platform, the vast majority of them are geared specifically to VMware vSphere.
In this post we will look at Server Security, and we will follow-up with another post about Desktop Security? Are these very different? I believe so, desktops have daily, second by second user interactions. For desktops, one of the most important aspects is look and feel such as response time for actions. So things need to be as fast as possible. With Servers however, user interactions are limited and therefore have slightly different performance and security requirements. What may be acceptable for a server may not be acceptable for a desktop. So what do the tools provide for servers?
There are now more players in the virtualization security product space. While at RSA Conference 2010 I walked the show floor in search of these vendors to discover what they were doing. While some vendors do not address virtualization security, the vast majority are either looking to do so or actually have a virtualization security product.
The products fall into three categories:
The known virtualization security vendors Reflex Systems, Catbird Security, Altor Networks, HyTrust, Symantec, Trend Microsystems, Tripwire, and VMware all showed their wares at VMworld. Even Checkpoint was showing off their firewall integration within the virtualized environment. Are these really competing products or products that have unique uses within the virtual environment with just a bit of overlap?
With the advent of existing VMsafe products from Altor Networks, Reflex Systems, and ones on the horizon from Trend Micro and others in the security space, all administrators should have a clear understanding of how they work under the covers. Where does VMsafe appear within the stack? Is VMsafe on the incoming physical NICs, within the vSwitch, portgroups, or before or after the vNIC? Can we expect the other aspects of VMsafe to be the same? While I was discussing VMsafe with the vendors, VMware was also going around and talking to all the VMsafe vendors for VMware TV shots.