Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources and is now becoming commonplace, with many New Zealand businesses.
Virtualisation, of course, comes with many advantages, such as standardisation, simplification, consolidation and control. However, security concerns and challenges surrounding virtualisation need to be addressed throughout its planning and implementation if it to be a success.
There are many opportunities available to the New Zealand channel when virtualising security services for customers.
Security for virtualised environments
A new class of security challenges is met when securing the virtualised environment as critical applications become consolidated onto one physical server – creating a single point of failure.
Creating a virtualisation should also require an agile and dynamic configuration that has been field-tested in commercial environments – treat security virtualisation like any other OS evaluation.
The quality of the security virtualisation infrastructure will determine the ability and reliability of the preservation of event logs and audit capabilities.
Virtualised security services such as firewalls and authentication must be designed with the same logging capabilities as conventional appliances and applications. Virtualised servers can provide full event and transaction detail and segregation of customer data including meeting regulatory requirements for logging and audit trails.
The benefits of virtualisation technology include consolidation, scalability, simplification and control.
Ineffective use of virtualisation can, for example, inhibit enablement and life cycle management by way of conflicting service level agreements and change mechanisms between virtual instances sharing the same hardware. Businesses should apply virtualisation as a measured approach in determining the platform, location and modelling of their service security.
Businesses need to understand that they should define a scalable solution (measured by internal growth) if they are going to use virtualisation to consolidate their internal systems – understanding the application of virtualisation in current and future states is important.
This will be much different to a business providing the service of virtual infrastructure, who should instead define a scalable solution measured by their marketable product growth.
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