Information security, today, is a huge concern for enterprises. It is not only vital to achieve, but is also challenging to maintain. Although access control, firewalls, and antivirus are useful security measures, but today’s smart and sophisticated cybercriminals are finding ways to dodge them and directly target data and applications.
The good news, however, is that virtualization has come up as a rapidly evolving and widely deployed technology that allows enterprises to increase server capacity, augment flexibility and agility, and systematize operations while realizing the cost saving benefit simultaneously. But even as enterprises become increasingly adept at harnessing the benefits of virtualization, there is also a broad range of security benefits to virtualization, including easier business continuity, easier disaster recovery, role-based access, and a lot more.
However, to give you a deeper understanding of how you can improve security with virtualization, let’s have a look at some of the security benefits associated with the virtualization technology:
While most employees in today’s mobile workforce are either working from home or from locations outside of the office, it is important that you ensure your staff has anytime access to applications and information, as well as the ability to collaborate from any location. The virtualization technology enables authorized users to securely access centrally managed virtualized applications and desktops hosted in a datacenter.
Desktop virtualization is helpful in attaining better control on the user environment. An administrator can quickly create and control a ‘golden image’ that can be sent down to users’ systems. Better control of the OS ensures that the technology meets business needs as well as security policies.
Improved Access Control
With virtualization, it is possible to improve the system administration’s access control and separation of duties as some individuals may be assigned to only deal with VMs within the network while others only control VMs in the DMZ.
Improved Business Continuity
Desktop virtualization provides an efficient approach to business continuity, especially in the case when some disaster occurs. It enables you to protect a single system, rather than a broad variety of desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. This escalates the recovery speed while allowing employees to work remotely in the event of any damage to your business location.
With that said, there is no doubt in the fact that virtualization technology can help you a great way in meeting security issues. But to ensure that you actually realize these security benefits and use your virtualization tools efficiently, here are some best practices to follow that would ensure increased security of your environment:
A sandbox is an isolated environment that can be used to safely and securely run programs that might pose a threat to applications, the OS and/or the network. If you have an application that has some security holes or is simply untested, application virtualization can help you in this. You can simply install it in a VM so that in case it crashes, it does not affect the rest of the host system.
Limit Approvals for the Use of VMs
Since most users do not require VMs on their desktops, it is important that you forbid the installation of freely downloadable software on corporate devices. Limit approvals to a small group of developers and testers for VMs, and make them understand that they still have to adapt to corporate security policies.
Update Acceptable Use Policy
State the exact conditions under which virtualization software can be installed and see what approvals are required. See what software can be run and how it should be secured. Also, make employees understand the consequences that they can face if they don’t conform to the rules.