Virtualization security refers to a set of solutions, procedures, and processes that aim to protect virtualized IT systems. Also called “security visualization,” it is software-based. That means the functions of common security systems can be deployed through software instead of being hardware-based.

Virtualization security ensures that each virtual machine (VM), network, server, application, or any other virtual appliance has security controls. It protects virtualized environments from a broad range of cybersecurity threats, including phishing, malware, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

Virtualization security solutions also help IT teams implement granular access control.

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Virtualized computer environments have turned the hardware of a single computer into multiple virtual computers that can run on different operating systems (OSs) and software. Securing them with hardware-based security tools won’t be enough since such tools are usually device-dependent.

For example, you need different antivirus programs for Mac and Windows computers. In a virtualized environment, multiple machines run on different OSs, blurring the lines when choosing hardware-based antivirus programs. Therefore, hardware-based security doesn’t have the flexibility to protect different VMs. Instead, virtualized environments need the software-based element present in virtualization security.

How Does Virtualization Security Work?

In virtualization security, the functions of traditional security tools like firewalls and antivirus programs are deployed via software. Therefore, they can be installed anywhere within a network and aren’t dependent on a device.

This feature is critical because workflows in virtualized environments often change, and workloads are continuously created. The security functions of virtualization security move along with these dynamic changes.

What Are Some Examples of Virtualized Security?

Examples of virtualization security solutions are:

  • Citrix Access Gateway VPX
  • HyTrust CloudControl
  • IBM Cloud Secure Virtualization
  • Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security
  • Layer 7 SecureSpan XML Virtual Appliance for VMware
  • Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server Virtual Appliance
  • Sophos Virtualization Security
  • Trellix MOVE AntiVirus
  • Trend Micro Cloud One – Workload Security
  • VMware vShield

The virtualization security solution you choose would depend on the type of virtualization implemented in your organization.

What Are the Types of Virtualization?

There are several types of virtualization, and the security solutions they require may differ. Below are some types of virtualization.

  • Desktop virtualization: This separates users’ desktops from their computers by hosting them on the cloud. That way, several people can access the same desktop from different devices.
  • Application virtualization: This refers to the process of installing an application on devices with OSs that don’t support it. However, a virtualization layer is inserted between the program and the OS to trick the application into working on the device.
  • Server virtualization: This occurs when a physical server is divided into multiple virtual servers through a software. Each virtual server is unique and independent of the others.
  • Network virtualization: This is the process of consolidating hardware and software functionality into a single network.

What Are Some Important Features of Virtualized Security?

There are several types of virtualization, each with its own virtualization security requirements. However, there are essential features to look for in any virtualized security solution, such as malware and phishing attack detection.

Virtualized security solutions should also be platform-agnostic to work on any virtualization system effectively. It’s also essential that these solutions enable the IT department to optimize and automate processes, such as data processing and threat detection.

What Are the Benefits of Employing Virtualization Security?

Virtualization security solutions help organizations protect their virtualized environments. Its specific benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Organizations won’t have to pay for features they don’t use. They also don’t need to install expensive hardware.
  • Granular access control: The IT team can better control network and application access as they can implement micro-segmentation strategies to grant user access to specific applications.
  • Proactive protection: Virtualization security provides multilayer protection against the most common threats.
  • Regulatory compliance support: Cybersecurity regulatory requirements are embedded into most virtualization security solutions.

What Are the Risks of Employing Virtualization Security?

Virtualization security should be able to cope with today’s ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. This complexity is already a risk in organizations implementing virtualization security.

Another challenge is the dynamic nature of virtualized environments. It may be difficult for virtualization security solutions to keep track of application and workload migration across different servers.

Key Takeaways

  • Virtualization security refers to a set of solutions, procedures, and processes that aim to protect virtual appliances.
  • Virtual appliances can include VMs, desktops, servers, and applications.
  • Virtualization security deploys the functions of traditional security solutions through software.
  • Examples of virtualization security providers include IBM, Kaspersky, Sophos, Trend Micro, and Trellix.
  • The benefits of virtualization security include cost-effectiveness, granular access control, proactive protection against cyber threats, and regulatory compliance.
  • Despite its ability to provide more advanced protection, virtualization security still faces more sophisticated threats.