Virtualization technologies have been around us for a long time and organizations are increasingly adopting it to optimize resources, for easier backups and disaster recovery, secure infrastructure, load balancing and most importantly, to drive down costs. It has become a critical element of IT services. Some more benefits of virtualization for an organization include:
- Better IT productivity.
- Improved business continuity.
- Better system scalability.
- Cost effectiveness with lower IT unit cost.
- Improved client services.
- Decreased energy costs.
As organizations move to virtualization, they get a number of benefits but they also face few challenges that are specific to virtual environment. Virtual infrastructure must be safeguarded and to secure it, IT professionals must promptly deploy security products to all software components and help ensure that the environment is restricted from unauthorized users.
But some pressing security concerns arise while administrators work to secure virtual infrastructure.
Here’s a look at the three top virtual infrastructure concerns.
Virtualization gives you the ability to provision new virtual machines (VMs) quickly and easily but this frequent creation of VMs might also lead to VM sprawl – an over proliferation of virtual machines. This VM sprawl is responsible for higher operational complexities that IT people face while managing security products and further wastes resources and degrades VM performance too. So, you must have a way of tracking all of the VMs on your network before they compound into a severe problem.
Virtualization marks a departure from the prior operational models so existing staff must be trained in the new technology and its complexity mandates.
The best solution to this challenge is to turn to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider that has virtualization security datacenter platform to solve complexity issues.
The IT infrastructure services provider like MDSC1 helps you provision Azure virtual machines on either Windows or Linux within minutes and keep track of the entire virtual infrastructure.
Challenges to meeting compliance and regulations
Meeting regulatory compliance requirements in virtual environment can be costly, complex, and ever-changing. Virtual infrastructure is designed in such a way that keeping track of network rules and settings become difficult.
Workloads move around the datacenter to different physical machines and sometimes inter-VM traffic bypasses inspection by traditional security devices due to its invisibility to network-based security protection devices. This actually needs to be controlled.
Moreover, environments with strict security concerns such as PCI and HIPAA makes ensuring compliance more difficult.
Virtual switch implementations let the VMs talk to each other, and across the network,” Neil MacDonald, security and infrastructure analyst at Gartner says. “There are a lot of compliance and use issues,” McDonald says. “Just because you don’t have a sniffer to see those packets moving between the virtual servers doesn’t mean they’re not there,” MacDonald says. “You could have a HIPPA-controlled workload talking to a non-HIPPA workload, or PCI and non-PCI workloads talking to each other. That puts you in a bad position. You would know if you looked at the packets on that network, but those packets are not coming out of the box for you to look at, so unless you take extra steps, you wouldn’t know.”
So, companies are faced with the challenge of achieving compliance while pursuing IT objectives – managing distributed environments, combating targeted threats, enabling worker mobility and supporting new IT technologies like cloud computing and the IT consumerization.
Hence, enterprises should evaluate the need for third-party tools to provide tight administrative controls where compliance requirements dictate.
Challenges in auditing security posture
Audits are critically important to bring agility to the business strategies and enterprise systems’ support but in virtual environments, audits become complex due to the abstraction creation that changes the architecture dynamics, administrator privileges and system separation.
Sometimes, due to immaturity of standards and frameworks, or conflicting standards, auditors find it difficult to understand and perform a comprehensive audit of the security plans and sometimes due to the limited expertise in virtualization, they find it difficult to understand the technical intricacies to ascertain security of a specific design or configuration.
Other concerns include security monitoring for hypervisor, vulnerability shielding for system and apps, the inability to enforce corporate security policies while transitioning workloads and inadequate data security and privacy strategies in a multi-tenant cloud environment.
What IT professionals should do to overcome virtualization challenges?
No doubt, virtualization and other infrastructure technologies are valuable but without strong infrastructure and application stability, performance suffers.
To meet these challenges, IT professionals should consider certain factors while making security products purchase decisions for their virtual infrastructure.
Look for highly scalable solutions that are resource efficient, have high levels of automation and capable of integrating with cloud environment. Lastly, align with an expert vendor who possesses proven proficiency within the growing space.
Enterprise management services of MDSC1 can help you build and manage a strong and agile IT infrastructure that supports your organization’s specific business strategies. Get strong identity and access management with Microsoft AD, Multi-factor authentication and advanced security reports to mobile device management with Intune, all at one place.
Do get in touch with our IT infrastructure expert today.