Ensuring Virtual Machine Security in Cloud Computing
As businesses are increasingly open to cloud computing and virtualization, securing virtual machines becomes a top priority.
Virtual machines are cost-effective replacements for desktop infrastructures. But is virtual machine security sufficient for modern virtual systems?
The answer depends on numerous factors. Moreover, any system lacks data protection if you’re not using specialized tools. Fortunately, modern hypervisors offer some level of protection thanks to the many aspects of virtualization technology.
With virtualization technology, we add another layer of security (virtualization layer) to virtual machines. But how can organizations ensure VM security in cloud computing? Let’s find out.
Tips to Ensure Virtual Machine Security
Virtualization technology has improved drastically over the years. Some improvements are tied to efficiency, while many others are to security.
However, that shouldn’t discourage organizations from using the industry’s “best practices” regarding virtual machine security.
Here are the tips to ensure your virtual machines are secured.
Virtual Machine Backups
A virtual machine backup (VM backup) software will ensure all VM data on VMs is safe and readily available in an emergency.
Keeping backups of all the files on your VMs is considered a “best practice” as it helps ensure business continuity.
The continuity aspect stems from continuous data protection. Namely, if a business keeps copies of all of its data, it is best prepared to tackle emergencies of any kind.
From natural disasters to accidental deletion, VM backups in the form of an incremental backup agent installed on the guest operating system will ensure that.
Security Through Segregation
A common “best practice” for virtual machine security in cloud computing is to isolate virtual machines from the physical host hardware system. Traditional security approaches are hardware-based.
These solutions protect physical servers by using firewalls, switches, and routers.
In a virtualized environment, the solutions are software-based. Therefore, we can isolate or segregate VMware virtual machines and their hosts by isolating the hosting and connections inside a private subnetwork.
That way, your VMs are protected from outside access.
Moreover, containers offer excellent protection for virtualized environments as it limits the number of exposed components.
This approach will work for a data center and VMs on the cloud. Also, you can limit the connections available to each user when using the VMs.
Limit Insider Attacks Through Testing
Most of us are aware of the growing outside threats. However, despite offering increased security against outside actors, virtual machines and cloud computing are at risk from insider attacks.
An insider attack is a malicious actor familiar with your virtual infrastructure.
In most cases, this is an actor from within your organization. Their goal is to compromise operations and possibly, steal information.
The best strategy to stop insider attacks is to test components for backdoor agents. Backdoor attacks allow malware to spread across your infrastructure and compromise systems. We can limit the risk of backdoor attacks through security testing.
Security testing is conducted for all hosted features and functions. It involves auditing and validating access points to prevent unauthorized access and functions testing of new code.
By uncovering and patching potential vulnerabilities, organizations are more capable of limiting insider attacks.
With that said, insider attacks are nearly impossible to stop. But we can limit the spread and damage by introducing proper security measures.
Benefits of Virtual Machines in Cloud Computing
With that said, why should organizations turn to cloud computing and virtual systems as replacements for traditional infrastructures?
Virtual machines have one inherent benefit that traditional environments don’t — they’re less costly to deploy.
For example, the traditional approach to adding new work desks to your organization is to buy computer hardware. VMs eliminate the costs of traditional PCs and laptops by eliminating the hardware cost.
What organizations must plan is the physical servers. Physical servers must have enough hardware to support the deployment of new virtual machines for employees.
If the server can support the computing power necessary for VMs to operate, they eliminate the costs associated with traditional computer systems.
In addition, deploying new desktop provisions is faster and more efficient than buying the hardware, setting it up, and installing the operating system.
Modern hypervisors will allow you to deploy new VMs in minutes. If you’re using a VM template, the time to deploy new instances is reduced even more.
The last benefit ties back to the topic of this guide — security. VMs have an easier time stopping security issues thanks to disaster recovery solutions.
Namely, virtualized systems can be easily replicated on the cloud — making disaster recovery more streamlined. We must remember that VMs operate independently from the underlying hardware.
Therefore, organizations don’t need to launch physical servers offsite to facilitate a second disaster recovery server. Thanks to the cloud, all VM instances can be copied and backed up instantly offsite.
And thanks to cloud-based virtual machines, organizations get instant recovery in case of disasters.
Virtual machine security is an ongoing topic of discussion in cloud computing.
But VMs are generally more secure than traditional physical desktops. However, that doesn’t mean organizations can’t take security to the next level.
The tips will help you enhance virtual machine security in cloud computing even more.