How To

Security in Virtualization: A Whole New Ball Game


For businesses developing and delivering an unprecedented number of applications, virtualization provides a much-needed solution for accommodating the amount of work that must be done. Verified Market Research reports that the server virtualization market size was valued at USD $7.20 billion in 2022, with a projected growth to USD $11.48 billion by 2030.

With virtualization technology itself growing at such a rampant pace, the all-important matter of improving security in virtualization is a whole new ball game.

 Key Takeaways:

  • Securing a virtualized environment augments the use of software with physical appliances to protect the hypervisor that separates virtual machines.
  • There is a great deal of inherent security through virtualization due to the isolated nature of VMs from one another, and setting up a virtualized desktop infrastructure allows for further security measures.
  • The best security solutions for modern virtualized environments are those that harden the network at the workload level by way of microsegmentation and simplicity of configuration as far down as the virtualization layer.

What is security in virtualization?

Virtualization in the datacenter refers to the creation of a virtual machine abstracted from physical hardware. This technology forms the basis of cloud computing and allows organizations to tap into the full resource potential of their servers.

Security in virtualization, then, is the collection of solutions that specifically function within a virtualized environment by design. The hypervisor software that creates and manages VMs also plays a crucial role in security by separating each virtual machine from one another, thereby minimizing exposure to risks.

Virtualized security augments traditional solutions in that it replicates the function of physical security hardware appliances such as firewalls and antivirus protection measures and deploys them as software. By doing so, the security software gains additional protective functions that are only possible in the virtualized environment.

Organizations benefit from the use of virtualized security in that these methods can flexibility and efficiently secure large numbers of VMs without the need to increase spending on expensive proprietary hardware while also integrating with traditional systems for increased hardening.

Virtualization brings inherent security

Virtual machines are abstracted from the underlying hardware and are segmented both from the server and from other VMs.This lends a strong layer of security in virtualization for users operating in a virtual machine.

The abstraction and virtualization of VMs are possible through a hypervisor. However, the hypervisor itself also requires protection from malicious individuals who might seek to bypass the siloed VMs and compromise the entire host system. Security protocols and requirements may vary by hypervisor. An easy-to-manage hypervisor running in an environment designed to accommodate does make it easier to defend against outside threats.

With a secured hypervisor, organizations can enjoy the inherent security benefits of virtualized workloads like virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI). As an on-demand service, organizations with established VDI practices provide access to essential desktop resources that allow remote users to complete tasks securely from any location.

VDI can be more secure than a traditional desktop setup as the workspace exists in a centralized datacenter.  The potential for data to leave the datacenter can be controlled, allowing for sensitive information to remain within the protected domain of established security configurations.

Security solutions in the virtual age

There are three types of network security in virtualization used by IT teams in today’s digital landscape:

  • Segmentation: The method of securing a network by controlling the flow of traffic and resource availability and channeling them into different segments
  • Microsegmentation: The method of segmenting the network into even more granular tiers, thereby making it possible to apply security policies at the workload level and further harden the datacenter against possible attacks
  • Isolation: The separation of workloads or entire virtual networks from one another, particularly in a multitenant cloud environment

The expectation for an ideal security solution in the modern, virtual age is to provide simple and seamless network hardening on a microsegmentation scale. That security needs to extend throughout the development lifecycle and function with self-healing autonomy.

Nutanix AHV is a secure virtualization platform that satisfies those modern security needs. AHV brings ease of management, a full suite of enterprise features, and the potential for lower operational costs, all while guaranteeing security in virtualization.

In the Nutanix environment, organizations gain in-depth security at the virtualization layer. This means that the hypervisor, the target of most external attacks to the virtualized environment, will have a smaller attack surface, thorough code audits, and global support throughout a multicloud ecosystem.

The best platform for security in virtualization

Virtualization naturally implies greater security than what an organization can accomplish with a traditional workspace environment alone. Even so, there is a need for the right platform with the right tools that will make it easy to secure data and applications.

The Nutanix platform provides a simple, easy-to-use hypervisor designed specifically for the hybrid cloud. With the power of Nutanix Flow Network Security, AHV maintains a safe virtualized environment that prevents the spread of malware and ransomware with microsegmentation.

Virtualization makes it possible to store data in a wide variety of locations, but it also enables users to access that data from potentially unsecured areas as well. In a time when data and apps must be anywhere and everywhere, security in virtualization is a non-negotiable must.

Learn more about developing an effective risk management plan for both the physical and virtualized datacenter.

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