According to IDC*, over $12bn will be spent on virtualization in 2013 and so it appears that the key benefits of space reduction, improved asset utilization and reduced power consumption are pretty well accepted in the market. So with these benefits in mind, telling them that applying IT Security Controls to the new infrastructure will hardly fill them with joy. But why is this the case? Surely everything is more efficient in such an environment? Not quite the case and here are some of the challenges faced:
|Endpoint Security||Organizations that wish to run virtualized endpoints can find that machines all scan the same content and often, because they are completely independent from each other. Scans will run at the same time crippling the physical server’s processing capacity. To be truly effective, these challenges must be addressed.||Symantec Endpoint Protection has complete integration with vShield, enabling complete visibility of the endpoint estate, randomized scanning to prevent over burdening of the processor and a ‘Shared Insight Cache’ meaning files only have to be scanned once across all endpoints on that virtual machine.|
|Information Protection||Servers are utilized in a different way to endpoints: they have different operational requirements and often contain highly critical data and/or provide a key point of contact for customers and employees alike. Ponemon’s State of Information Survey in late 2012** found that 97% of data lost is from servers, illustrating that endpoint infection is usually a means to an end, meaning that Endpoint Protection is not enough for servers.||Symantec Critical System Protection (CSP) enables ‘hardening’ of virtual environments through policy controls. It is able to run in Intrusion Detection and/or Intrusion Prevention modes, and it protects against Advance Persistent Threats, Targeted Attacks and Zero-Day Vulnerabilities.|
|Control & Risk||Once it was easy to tell when a new server was being provisioned, mainly because you’d see it arrive in a big box. With virtual systems, practically anyone can duplicate a server or spin up a new one in no time or worse still, they can be copied to new locations even across international data boundaries and outside of trusted Firewall Zones. It is crucial to create and enforce policies to maintain control across the organization’s information and thus minimize the risks associated with its escape.||CSP & Symantec Control Compliance Suite (CCS) provide virtualization management controls. Utilising methods such as ‘least privilege access control’, your customers are able to enforce best practices, providing a separation of duties between virtual systems, granular administration rights and a two level workflow cycle to protect key functions that would impact business continuity. Symantec Data Loss Prevention should also be considered to monitor the information leaving the organization to ensure that it does not breach policy, and provide the ability to automatically quarantine virtual servers that violate policies.|
|Compliance||Regulatory Bodies and Advisory Boards have started to recognize the potential for virtualized environments to introduce inherent weaknesses and many of them now include virtual servers in the scope of their mandates.||A range of options within CCS enable your customers to monitor virtual systems for configuration compliance and to ensure they are not open to compromise. CSP also comes with various Compliance Templates that reduce deployment time, ensure that information is dealt with according to the required policies and gather reports as required.|
The adoption of virtualization increases exponentially and information becomes ever more critical to all organisations. If your customers haven’t come across these issues yet, you can guarantee that they will, so if you’re not up to speed on the challenges and how to solve them, who will they ask instead?
*IDC Worldwide Storage and Virtualized x86 Environments 2012 – 2016 Forecast
**Ponemon’s State of Information Survey 2012