8 Ways Virtualization Can Improve Security

Word security written in binary code with magnifying glass

Virtualization is a type of process used to create a virtual environment. It allows a user to run multiple operating systems on a computer simultaneously. It makes a virtual (rather than actual) version of something like an operating system, server, or network resources. For many companies, virtualization can be seen as part of a general trend in IT environments, which will manage themselves based on perceived activity and utility computing. The most crucial goal of virtualization is to reduce administrative tasks while improving scalability and workloads. However, virtualization can also be used to improve security.

Virtualization and security

Many organizations think about the security implications after implementing new technology. Virtualization provides many benefits, making it easy to sell in IT architectures. Virtualization can save money, increase business efficiency, decrease maintenance downtime without impacting business and causing interruptions, and you can get more work done with less equipment. Of course, there are many ways to implement virtualization in IT industries through network virtualization, storage virtualization, server virtualization, and desktop virtualization. Each type may contain some security risk. There are many solutions for virtualization classes of virtualization. The important thing is that virtualization can improve security,

Virtualization can be used in many ways and requires appropriate security controls in every situation. This article will explore how you can use virtualization to increase the security of your Windows environment.

The following are the few ways to minimize risk and improve security through virtualization:

Sandboxing

Sandboxing is a security mechanism to separate running programs often used to run untested code or programs from unverified third parties, vendors, and websites. The main goal of sandboxing is to improve virtualization security by isolating an application to protect it from external malware, harmful viruses, applications that stop running, etc. If you have any unstable or untested applications, just put them in a virtual machine. It does not affect the rest of the system.

Sometimes you can receive a malicious attack on your application while running in a browser, so it is always good practice to run your programs on a virtual machine. Sandbox technology is closely related to virtualization. Virtual computing offers some of the benefits of sandboxes without paying premium prices for a new device. The virtual machine has a connection to the Internet, not to the corporate LAN, thus protecting the operating system and programs against viruses or harmful attacks on the virtual machine.

Server virtualization

Server virtualization is the masking of server resources, which helps divide the physical server into smaller virtual servers to maximize resources. The administrator divides the physical server into multiple virtual environments. Today, hackers often steal official server logs. Server virtualization allows small virtual servers to run their own operating systems and restart independently. Virtualized servers are used to identify and isolate unstable applications and compromised applications.

This type of virtualization is mainly used on web servers, which provide low-cost web hosting services. Server utilization manages complicated details of server resources while increasing utilization rates and maintaining capacity. In addition, a virtualized server makes it easy to detect malicious viruses or harmful items while protecting the server, virtual machines, and the entire network.

Network virtualization

Network virtualization combines hardware and software network resources and combines network functionality into a single virtual network. With network virtualization, virtual networks minimize the effect of malware infecting the system. In addition, network virtualization creates logical virtual networks from the underlying network hardware to better integrate with virtual environments.

An essential characteristic of network virtualization is isolation. It enables the dynamic composition of multiple virtual networks that coexist in isolation to implement end-to-end custom services on the fly. They are managed on those virtual networks for users by sharing and using network resources obtained from infrastructure providers.

Another prominent feature of network virtualization is segmentation. The network is divided into subnets, which leads to increased performance by minimizing local traffic on the web and improving security by making the structure of the network’s internal network invisible from the outside. Network virtualization is also used to create a virtualized infrastructure to support complex requirements by creating single instances of software applications that serve multiple clients.

Hypervisor security

The term hypervisor means small software or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines. The machine that contains the hypervisor is called the host machine. Hypervisor security enables virtualization by using a hypervisor that includes development, deployment, provisioning, and management. (Learn more at Virtualization Security: Tips to Prevent VM Hypergame.)

There are some key security recommendations for hypervisors:

Install the hypervisor updates published by the vendor. Most hypervisors will have automatic software updates and install updates when they are found.

Secure with thin hypervisors, making deployment effortless and efficient to run with minimal computing overhead. It also reduces the possibility of attack by malicious code that could reach the hypervisor.

Do not connect unused physical hardware to the host system or new NICs to any network. Sometimes disk drives are used to back up data, so unused devices must be disconnected when they are not used for backup.

If you do not need the file sharing service or any other services between the guest operating system and the host operating system, disable the services that are not required.

There must be a secure between the guest operating systems to communicate. non-virtualized environments must be managed through security controls such as firewalls, network devices, etc.

Desktop virtualization

Desktop virtualization enables the creation, modification, or deletion of images and separates the desktop environment from the physical computer used to access it. An administrator can easily manage employee computers and protect them from unauthorized access or the introduction of viruses. Provides more security to the user by providing a guest OS image for the desktop environment and does not allow data to be copied or saved to a disk other than the server, making desktop virtualization a more secure option for connection in the network.

Infrastructure security

A virtualized information infrastructure allows controlling access to resources and maintains visibility to ensure proper information management. All activities within the computing environment must be traced through 

the infrastructure.

Virtual switches

A virtual switch is a software program that provides security through isolation, control, and content inspection techniques between virtual machines and enables one virtual machine to communicate with another.

It does not allow the execution of link attacks between switches. The primary purpose of a virtual switch is to provide network connectivity to communicate with virtual machines and applications within the virtual network to the physical network.

Guest operating system security

This is the operating system in a virtual machine used to host the central operating system and share resources with other virtual machines on the same host. Virtualization allows information to be shared with the operating system through disks or folders created by network disks. It contains some security features, such as systematic updating of the guest operating system, maintaining the backup of virtual drives, and enforcing the same policy for non-virtualized computers.

High availability and disaster recovery

These days, the most important thing is to preserve data and the availability of services in the IT sector. Virtualization reduces disaster recovery time and cost by backing up data to a single large file, saving time reinstalling the operating system, and restoring data. In addition, it enables the restoration of a virtual machine on any host that meets the power requirements and provides a facility to recover from a physical failure quickly.

Server isolation

Virtualization uses server isolation primarily for business purposes. You can run multiple servers in a virtual machine without virtualization, but there is a risk of having multiple servers on a single server. Virtualization allows multiple servers to run on a single device while isolating servers from each other because they run in separate virtual machines.

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