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Saturday 21 October 2017
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How Virtualization Helps Improve Security

The IT industry has benefited a lot from virtualization. Virtualization has turned the impossible to not just possible, but to common. Nowadays, virtualization is the most dominant platform worldwide, and this is from server consolidation to the cloud.

Application workloads are usually provisioned, moved and decommissioned in cloud data centers at will. Cloud management software relies on demand to allocate computer storage and network capacity.

If you add network virtualization to this dynamic environment, the networking operational model changes completely. These changes tend to pose a challenge for security professionals, but in reality, there are several security benefits in virtualization.

Sandboxing

This is a security mechanism used to separate running programs that are mostly used to execute untested programs or codes from unknown parties, distributors or websites.

The main objective of virtualization is to improve virtualization security by isolating an application to guard it against external threats like malware, viruses, and applications that stop execution of a program. You can use a virtual machine when you have applications which are untested or unstable; this keeps your system safe from such applications.

Using a virtual machine protects you from malicious attacks, which can sometimes happen when you run unprotected applications on your browser. Virtualization is closely related to sandbox technology.

You can get some benefits from sandboxes without having to pay premium prices for a new machine. Also, the virtual machine can protect your operating system and programs from malicious attacks since it has a connection to the internet, but not to your LAN.

Server virtualization

This is the masking of server resources and significantly helps in maximizing resources by partitioning the physical server into smaller virtual resources. The server admin divides the physical server in diverse small virtual environments.

After virtualization, the small virtual servers run on their operating systems and can reboot without depending on each other. Unstable or compromised applications can be isolated through virtualized servers.

Web servers, which mostly provide low-cost Web-hosting services, use this type of virtualization. A virtualized server makes it easier protect the server, virtual machines, and the entire network through its capability to detect malicious viruses and damaging elements.

The advantage of using server virtualization is that it creates a hardware abstraction layer between the operating system and the x86 hardware. The density of virtual servers to physical hardware is also reduced. You can create an image of your server through server virtualization, and this helps you to know whether your server is acting normally or not.

Network virtualization

This is the combination of software and hardware network resources, and the network functionality is combined into a single virtual network. Virtual networks usually minimize the effects of malware in case it infects the system. Network virtualization integrates with the virtual environments to create logical virtual networks from the underlying network hardware.

Isolation is an important feature of network virtualization. Isolation allows the dynamic composition of several virtual networks which co-exist in isolation with the aim of deploying end-to-end services on the cloud. Users manage these services on the virtual networks by sharing and using network resources offered by infrastructure providers.

Segmentation is another feature of network virtualization. This divides the network into subnetworks, and this minimized the local traffic in the network to boost performance.

Segmentation also makes the internal network structure invisible from outside, thus improving its security. Network virtualization also assists in creating virtualized infrastructure which supports complex requirements through creating single instances of software applications serving many users at once.

Desktop virtualization

This allows users to create, modify or delete images as well as separate the desktop environment from the physical computer used to access it. Desktop virtualization enables administrators to manage employee’s computers easily. This helps in protecting them from introducing viruses to the computers or unauthorized access.

Also, the user gets more security from this through the guest OS image for the desktop environment. Such environment allows the users to save or copy data to the server rather than the disk, thus making desktop virtualization more secure option for networking.