Five Security Considerations for your Cloud Ecosystem

By: Bill Kleyman| - Leave a comment

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The modern user is evolving – and so is the organization. Administrators are constantly working to find new ways to delivery data and applications – and do so in a secure manner. As data becomes more critical, the security aspects around it all become vital as well. In a cloud world – organizations are pushing desktops, applications, and rich content to a wide variety of devices and end-points. But how can you make sure it’s all secured? How do you take proactive steps to create infrastructure integrity at the virtual layer?

Along with cloud growth and utilization – security challenges are still very big concerns for almost every organization. Juniper Research recently pointed out that the rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, increasing to almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that respondents to the latest State of the Data Center Survey indicate that security is still a top concern. In fact, 32% indicated that security was still a barrier to cloud adoption.

Private cloud and security don’t have to be two overwhelming thoughts. In fact, there are great ways to delivery security and maintain data integrity. With that in mind – let’s look at five considerations when it comes to security for your private cloud environment.

  • Locking down your hypervisor. Remember, your hypervisor is probably the key component to your entire virtualization ecosystem. It acts as the gateway to your VMs and it helps you extend into the cloud. With that in mind, what are you doing to lock it down? Standard anti-malware can be installed on each agent, but this approach consumes system resources and can substantially degrade performance. In addition, agent-based solutions are more likely to lead to AV storms, which are a costly burden on IT. New hypervisor-layer security solutions now revolve around agentless protection. Plus, a virtual firewall gives you powerful kernel mode capabilities with the most comprehensive real-time traffic filtering available for a virtualized environment. This is how you lock down your hypervisor.
  • Ensuring compliance, management and reporting. To maintain compliance, organizations must effectively collect and audit data on each virtual machine. Furthermore, they must also control and protect intra VM traffic. But what do you do when hundreds—or thousands—of machines are involved? By having granular access to the VM layer and the security policies associated with users and virtual machines – administrators are able to get more detailed reporting. A good cloud security solution will allow you to enforce PCI-DSS, HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
  • Create multi-tenant cloud security. The beauty of the cloud is the distribution that it provides. But what if you’re a cloud provider? Or, what if you’re a larger organization with a number of cloud instances? By deploying a multi-tenant cloud security solution you’re able to provide multi-layered protection with an integrated firewall, antivirus and Intrusion Detection System (IDS). The agentless firewall ensures complete traffic control and isolation between VMs. Furthermore, you’re able to control policies per VM as well as environment segmentation with user and workgroup policies.
  • Centralize security management. So you’ve built your virtual environment and cloud – now what? How can you centrally manage your platform? What if you have multiple data center sites? New hypervisor and cloud-ready management tools can be a cost-effective control solutions for virtual environments. Furthermore, you can achieve antivirus protection with no significant impact on server performance. Finally, you can begin to integrate next-gen IPS/IDS solutions capable of scaling with your data center and cloud ecosystem.
  • Regardless of your cloud size – make security a priority. Keeping a business up and running while managing costs is a primary goal for modern organizations. Moving to a virtual environment can reduce costs and improve business agility by eliminating the physical hardware and infrastructure of a physical server environment. But regardless of the size of your organization – security for your cloud and virtual environment is absolutely critical. A good, virtualization-ready, security solution can help maximize your investments by improving VM density as well as reduce your security costs by introducing new features like agentless AV, cloud security integration, and overall data center optimizations.

Your cloud environment will continue to grow as demand around resources, application, and content continues to rise. Users have created an “always-on” generation where information is constantly required. For an organization, a cloud model is a great way to facilitate mobility, efficiency, and a better distribution for disaster recovery and business continuity. Still, through it all – security plays a major role. When it comes to your private cloud, ensure that you have proactive security practices to help keep your cloud and virtual infrastructure running healthy.

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About The Author

Bill Kleyman

CTO at MTM Technologies

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues around everything that is technology. During the day, Bill is the CTO at MTM Technologies, where he interacts with enterprise organizations and helps align IT strategies with direct business goals. Bill’s whitepapers, articles, video blogs and podcasts have been published and referenced on InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Data Center Knowledge, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and many others. Most recently, Bill was ranked #16 in the Onalytica study which reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape, globally.

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