Security for Virtual Infrastructures - understanding virtualisation to simplify security

With the launch of Microsoft’s Hyper-V the momentum towards virtualisation has just stepped up another gear.

Through all the excitement, there are still a few stalwarts of tradition trying to put off would-be virtualisation adopters with the words, ‘It’s the security, stupid.’ The facts are that this is groundless.

There are no reasons why virtualisation and good security can’t go hand in glove so there are no reasons to delay virtualising infrastructure because of security concerns.

Virtual infrastructures can be secured just as effectively as traditional infrastructures.

Whatever is virtualised, there is always, underneath it all, a host layer and there is still a single shared gateway to the network.

With that in mind, there need be no difference in how a network is protected.

Organisations can carry on using a standard gateway security appliance and it will work just as well as it always has.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably confused about how virtualisation works. Maybe they need to go on a training course?

Server, storage, application and desktop virtualisation all have the capacity to produce clear benefits including reduced costs, improved availability and faster deployment.

Though you might not want to virtualise your active security applications, there are benefits to virtualising security for training and network testing.

While not all security solutions are available in a virtualised form, those that are can really help an organisation train staff and develop innovative security management procedures in a safe ‘sandbox’ environment.

Virtualisation can provide significant benefits, provided administrators take proper precautions in setting up their virtual networks.

New security threats are likely to be developed that will attempt to target virtual infrastructures.

However, there’s nothing new in that. It’s the same situation facing traditional networks.

To round up and restate, there is no compelling security argument why an organisation shouldn’t go right ahead and virtualise their infrastructure.

Andrew Fourie, UK country manager at integrated security appliance specialist, Astaro.