Virtualization Security: The Line of Defense Your Cloud Needs

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Virtualization SecurityIt used to be that companies used Clouds merely to back up their physical systems. Now, as many businesses are increasingly adopting Clouds and virtual machines (VMs) as an alternative to their physical infrastructure, the question remains: How to keep their virtual data, software, and systems secure?

Just as technology is changing how and where we work, it is also changing how we keep our work safe. Gone are the days of building firewalls around our computers and data centers. Today, our data—including our virtual desktops, databases, apps, and software—are held on virtual machines. The task of security is now a multi-level game with even greater risks, as virtual Cloud hoppers attempt to access not just files, but entire virtual systems.

To help, companies must combine their physical and host-level security with top-tier virtualization and/or hypervisor security systems. While they vary slightly (with virtualization focusing on protecting virtual machines, and the hypervisor approach focusing on one’s entire virtual system), it’s clear traditional security is no longer enough. It’s time to “decouple your security platform from your infrastructure”—in other words, it’s time to take a true digital approach to data protection. If you haven’t considered adding virtualization to your security strategy, the following are a few reasons you should.

It’s Flexible

With so many apps and aaS providers, it’s clear no two companies are using the same “tech cocktail.” It would be nearly impossible for any IT person today to keep up every available technology and how it needs to be secured. Virtualization helps by undertaking the bulk of that task to protect, detect, respond, and recover the mounds of data your company is using—and creating—on a given day. Through either micro-segmentation or container-level protection, companies can find security solutions that work for their unique needs, no matter where or how employees and customers are accessing their systems (or what types of systems they are accessing.)

It’s Omnipresent

A big part of what makes your data susceptible to security risks is that it’s literally floating in the ether. Virtualization meets data where it actually lives—on the virtual plane. It has the ability to envelop and protect your data in worlds we can’t physically see or feel—in ways we as humans simply can’t.

It’s Central

Although it can reach your data far and wide, virtualization also allows you to keep management of your data central. Rather than protecting tons of different platforms and services, you have the option of combining all of them into one clear solution so you can access and strengthen it in the click of a button, no matter where that button may be.

It’s Proactive

Data is everything in today’s market. Virtualization allows you to take a proactive approach to keeping it safe, with multiple levels of security including:

  • Firewalls and intrusion detection. As noted above, the concept of the digital “firewall” is evolving. After all, how do we build walls around virtual spaces that quite literally cannot be contained? Virtualization helps “gate” your information, no matter where it is held. It can even provide intrusion detection in real time, creating an even tighter hold on information you manage.
  • Compliance and auditing. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Technology is meant to work together. Virtualization can be combined with automation to provide a whole new range of time-saving services to your employees, making work easier—and more accurate—than ever before. This is especially true in financial and healthcare services, where virtualization can assist in running reports on access and file changes to ensure compliance with industry codes.
  • Access controls. With so many users in so many places, it can be difficult to manage user access and keep security streamlined. Virtualization can manage access controls to ensure that your onsite and contingent workforce always have access to the right files on your system, without giving away the entire virtual farm. This saves time, money, and risk companywide.

It Will Save You Money

While it may seem like one more expense in your digital strategy, if used correctly, virtualization can save you money through automation and efficiency, and can allow you to streamline your IT team’s efforts to focus on your company goals, rather than the multiple apps, software, and data centers being used throughout your enterprise. It’s just one more way technology is making business easier than ever before.

The increasing use of Cloud technology is making virtualization an absolute must in today’s digital work world. Just as we once came to welcome Norton and McAfee as a part of everyday computer ownership, so will we welcome virtualization as a necessary part of working and living on the Cloud.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.

Photo Credit: redbacksystems Flickr via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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