Understanding and Planning Out Security in a Virtualization and Cloud-Ready Environment

By: Bill Kleyman| - Leave a comment

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Today’s business has become a highly diversified IT engine capable of supporting advanced business requirements. Most of all – the modern data center is being tasked with controlling new digital endpoints and many more data points. It’s really no wonder that security continues to be a top concern.

A recent IDC Security Study pointed out that 2015 saw tremendous growth compared with 2014, and IDC forecasts positive market momentum to continue as organizations adapt to rapid pace of change impacting their IT environments. The manufacturers of security products must also remain agile to rapidly changing customer requirements or risk losing relevance to emerging security approaches.

“As data breaches continue to be mainstream with organizations working hard to deploy advanced solutions to address the threat, the security products market showed stronger-than-expected growth,” said research director, Rob Ayoub. “This growth was led by strong growth in security and vulnerability management along with network security and identity and access management.

IDC expects these strong growth trends to continue as organizations of all sizes work diligently to protect customer, consumer, patient, and business partner data.”

The easiest way to understand the concept of a secure cloud is to look at the solution at three high levels:

  • Security at the datacenter level.
  • Security at the end-point level.
  • Security in the middle.

When planning out a security platform, there are a few important considerations which must be made to ensure the appropriate tools are in place. Simply going with one vendor without realizing the impact on the new environment can have detrimental results on performance and the end-user experience. To better understand some of the ramifications, administrators should go with technologies which are created to live in the hybrid world – cloud and virtual. Some of the important points include:

  • Deploy intelligent security solutions. Next-generation security platforms are capable of integrating with on premise as well as cloud systems. Most of all – they can positively impact the business as well. Intelligent security best practices take a holistic approach to the entire solution. Let’s face it – standalone security solutions simply won’t cut it any longer. Look for tools which an integrate with your critical systems both within the data center and in the cloud. Finally, good security solutions also help provide greater levels of automation and orchestration around security events. In these cases, your security platform can actually mitigate an attack and reduce negative impacts.
  • Have a good management platform. Having a solid management platform revolving around security is an absolute must. When it comes to security, being proactive and having visibility into an environment is crucial to catching small issues – before they become big problems. The saying is simple – but very accurate: You can’t manage data that you can’t see. New types of management platforms connect applications, virtual systems, and monitoring all under one management plane. Furthermore, you can now utilize log and even management to get real-time information around your environment focusing on inefficiencies, security issues, and even user experience challenges.
  • Choose a solution which is adaptable. Advanced, enterprise-ready, security products are capable of focusing not on one, but multiple virtualization vendors. The big three are currently VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. Pick a model which is capable of handling a variety of vendors to ensure maximum flexibility for your environment. From there, ensure your security model can deliver the workloads you need for your business to be efficient. This means that security solutions should not impede the business process; but rather enable it. In creating a solid virtualization, cloud and security architecture – your platform must be agile and scale with the needs of your business. This could mean deploying both physical as well as virtual security options.
  • Look for latest generation, cloud-ready features. When working with the end-point, look for a solution which has a very light footprint on the end-point and can handle a lot of the processing and definitions within a cloud environment. This will remove the resource hit on the network bandwidth utilization while still delivering the proper amount of cloud and virtual environment security. From there, work with solutions which can interrogate devices coming into your environment. BYOD, IT consumerization, and even IoT are introducing many new devices into both on premise and cloud systems. Never leave these points unmanaged. A lost or breached device can become a serious security concern.

As the plan is developed, creating a security platform first will take a lot of variables out of the equation. The ability to scan, protect and deliver metrics all in a light-weight, easily managed environment is crucial to the success of a cloud and virtual environment. Part of the planning process must include the management platform. Without good visibility, there can be limited success in how quickly admins can react.

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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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