Securing the Virtual Server

Security measures at many companies have yet to catch up with the shift to x.86 server virtualization.

In an article on the PC World website, Beth Schultz of Network World outlines some of the tougher security aspects of virtualization. “Traditional security tools like firewalls and intrusion-prevention systems don’t cut it anymore,” she writes.

Neil MacDonald, of Gartner Research, said virtualization adds a new layer of software and that “the first and most important thing you need to do is acknowledge this new layer and establish basic security hygiene around the configuration and vulnerability management of it.” The article also describes a “network blind spot” – we can’t see the traffic being switched between two virtual machines. “You’ve got to acknowledge that you can’t see the traffic and if something bad happens, like an inter-VM attack, you won’t be able to see it,” MacDonald said.

The article is optimistic, however. It describes products being tested that aim to address the security concerns. And MacDonald, too, said the problems “will go away over the next three to four years as IT staffs, vendors, the tools and skills mature.” He said virtual servers will likely, some day, be even more secure than current IT servers.

To read the article, click here: blind_spot.html