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Hasty move to virtualisation could leave security vulnerabilities

Clavister : 05 November, 2008  (Technical Article)
Clavister survey shows poor levels of realisation that moving to virtualised environments should be accompanied by a restructured IT security policy
More than forty per cent of IT directors and managers that have implemented server Virtualisation may have left their IT networks open to attack because they wrongly believe that security was built in.

These shock findings were revealed today when network security vendor Clavister published a survey it commissioned from international research and consulting organisation, YouGov.

With Virtualisation now one of the boom technologies of the IT world, the extent of the problem was emphasized when 38 per cent of survey participants admitted that they had already implemented the technology. Virtualisation brings environmental benefits, cost savings and management efficiencies.

"When companies implement virtualisation, it is very dangerous for them to believe that everything is automatically secure because they can actually face new security threats," explains Andreas Asander, VP product management at Clavister.

"Virtualisation offers new points of attack and gives access to a far wider number of applications than a traditional physical server. It is vital that IT staff take steps to achieve the same level of security in their virtualised environment that they had in their traditional environment."

Clavister has developed a five-point check-list for IT managers and directors who are considering the adoption of virtualisation. They should:.

* Re-define the security policy to include the Virtualisation aspect.
* Use virtual security gateways which run inside the virtual infrastructure.
* Protect the virtual administration centre and only allow access to this from a separate network.
* Limit the number of administrators who have access to the Virtualisation administration tools to a minimum.
* Evaluate and test the security level on a regular basis. Replicating the production environment to a test environment is easy with Virtualisation and this should be utilised.
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