It’s a hard fact that virtual environments are only likely to become more prevalent (and important) within our organizations over the coming years. The attraction of the cloud is easy to understand; it’s simple to deploy, it improves IT efficiency, it provides better business continuity, and it reduces costs.
A 2016 survey conducted by Spiceworks discovered that 76% of respondents had already adopted server virtualization, and elsewhere analyst giants Gartner estimated that by the middle of last year server virtualization rates in many organizations had already exceeded 75%.
Despite this, businesses have always had—and continue to have—security concerns about placing their data in the cloud. This is not helped by high-profile hacks to cloud-based services like Dropbox, and scare-mongering in the media. However, with the right systems in place there is no reason why your cloud-based networks cannot be any less secure than physical networks.
And it’s worth the investment in putting the right procedures and systems in place, and not taking the cloud for granted. A 2015 global survey by security specialists Kaspersky Labs revealed that organizations typically pay twice as much to recover from a security breach when cloud-based infrastructures are involved.
The report estimates that breaches in these cases cost SMBs on average $60,000 per incident; that escalates to $800,000 when you get to enterprise level. The report attributes these higher costs to things such as the complexity of securing virtualized environments, a failure to properly understand the risks, and a growing reliance on virtualization for mission-critical operations.
The reality is that virtual environments have their own unique set of challenges and vulnerabilities. These mean that you need a different approach to cloud security—this is something you can find more detail on in this blog post Understanding the Key Challenges of Securing Virtualized Environments.
One of the key challenges network admins will be faced with when they move to a virtual environment is a larger attack surface, due to the number of interconnected components within a virtual infrastructure. This means that controlling the communication between individual virtual machines (VMs) can be extremely difficult.
Infections can be quickly spread across different physical servers with communication never actually leaving the physical server in the same it would with normal network traffic—thus bypassing any conventional firewall protection. Moreover, there is the risk that virtual machines can easily be misconfigured or copied and misused. All of these can seriously impact critical business activity.
Whatever you do you need to ensure that you take as much care protecting your virtual environments as you do protecting and securing your physical environments. Amongst other things, this means making sure you have insight into your entire IT infrastructure—virtual as well as physical. Regular IT audits that proactively look for any suspicious activities, will help you find any unauthorized changes that need to be investigated.
On top of this you need security technologies in place that are designed specifically for virtual environments. This is where 5nine Cloud Security can be a powerful tool for those looking to secure their virtual networks.
5nine Cloud Security includes agentless antivirus that enables admins to maximize performance. It also includes additional functionality such as change block tracking, which increases the speed of scans as well as the frequency that they can be done. In both situations, with nothing actually inside the VM it means that you have the added benefit that hackers can’t disable the protection or hardware from the inside.
Additionally the built-in firewall technology enables you to fully isolate individual virtual machines and place them into different security groups. It does this by using an agentless solution that sits inside the Virtual Switch—a network filtering software that controls traffic between VMs and between VMs and the outside network.
Other important attributes of 5nine Cloud Security include the ability to:
- Secure multi-tenant Hyper-V environments and provides VM isolation
- Provide adaptive pattern analytics for predictive cloud protection
- Protect Hyper-V with real-time malware detection
- Enforce security and compliance
- Support distributed management servers for high availability and performance