According to a Forrester survey, 85%* of companies have either implemented server virtualisation, or are planning to do so. Virtualisation has long been a global IT trend and one that is impacting businesses, both big and small, acrossSouth Africa- and considering the benefits, it is easy to see why!
In fact, virtualisation technologies have already reached sufficient maturity to allow companies to ‘virtualise’ their most important business applications and store valuable business data. However, while virtualisation offers some strong businesses benefits, organisations still need to remember that security within this environment is crucial. If we consider the rate at which malware and viruses are developed these days, security for a virtualized technology model of a business must not be overlooked.
Understanding your risks
With all new technologies, before implementation occurs there must be an understanding of the risk to your business and its security. Consider that when you place your confidential data on virtual machines – just like physical ones – they must be secured and protected. Just because it’s virtual, does not make the security threat any less real.
So, as a business owner, while you are choosing whether or not to follow the virtualisation trend – one which has incredible business benefits – you must understand what steps are necessary to safeguard your data and applications.
The benefits of virtualisation
Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits virtualisation can offer and how a business, like yours, can implement a safe virtual environment.
To begin, quite simply, virtualisation offers businesses benefits that today cannot be ignored. Some of these include:
- Cost containment – virtualisation reduces overall hardware footprint. This means that hardware expenditure, floor space, power consumption and management requirements can all be reduced, which has financial benefits to the business.
- Speed – virtualisation increases the speed of IT by delivering new capacity on demand. This can ultimately result in greater competitiveness of the entire business.
- Stability – virtualisation can deliver simpler, standardised and redundant systems all which can lead to greater resiliency, ensure better system availability and enable employees to be more productive, whenever and wherever, they work.
However, unfortunately, many businesses undercut the inherent benefits of virtualisation when they fail to properly implement the necessary security solutions needed to protect their virtual environments. While virtual machines to some degree can recover easier in the case of infection or corruption, they are still just as vulnerable to malicious malware in the form of email attachments, drive-by downloads and botnet Trojans. Moreover, cyber criminals today have shifted their focus from consumers to corporations and as such, virtualised environments need the right security protection.
Ensuring you’re protected
Kaspersky Lab can recommend the following tips in ensuring your businesses virtual environment is correctly protected:
- Don’t just jump onto the bandwagon: As a business decision maker, understand the process of virtualisation. This means ‘doing your homework’ before embracing this trend, and upon research and investigation, decide if this makes business sense for you and how this would then impact your overall environment – from an operational and financial perspective.
- Investigate Security options for a virtualized environment: To start, be sure that your business investigates security for the virtual environment and selects a trusted security provider – one that has a strong market track record for developing solid security solutions in this regard. Kaspersky Lab has found that when it comes to security investigation, not enough attention is paid to selecting the right security solution. There are many flawed alternatives available to businesses– ones that won’t offer the protection you need.
- The Right security solution: the solution you choose for your business in this environment must provide real time anti-malware scanning capabilities and be able to accommodate hosts and quests of the server to ensure that businesses will be protected now and into the future, no matter what ‘new’ security threats emerge in the market. With a focus on virtualisation, Kaspersky Lab has developed a solution, Kaspersky Security for Virtualisation, which is designed with the above considerations in mind.
Following the above will aid and protect your business in the virtual environment. Virtualisation is a business trend that can and should not be ignored, but security management is a ‘fact of life’ and when any confidential information is being kept or recorded, security has to be a key consideration. Without the understanding of the security protection required for virtualisation, any business benefit gained for your organisation could be eroded by malicious online attacks. However, protection can and should be found.
*The CISO’s Guide to Virtualisation Security, Forrester Research, Inc., January 2012
For more information of Kaspersky Security for Virtualisation, please visit the following link: http://www.kaspersky.co.za/beready?