[Image used with permission from MV Group]
The entrepreneurial world is undergoing a shift in how businesses provide necessary tools to employees. Through virtualization, an entire suite of applications and work-related data can be accessed on almost any device.
There are clear benefits to workspace virtualization. This type of virtualization is the method of distributing a suite of chosen applications and files to computers using a remote server. Businesses can use virtual machines (VMs) to ensure that employees have access to all the tools they need to be productive, regardless of where they are. Users can log onto the workspace from any computer and access all administrator-approved programs and files without the need to reinstall it all on every device they might use.
When virtualization began gaining traction in the 2000’s, many proponents thought that it was inherently more secure. However, it can lead to unique security risks for business owners. It’s a tale all too common in the world of technology: New technology is released. People believe that it is immune to contemporary security concerns, like hackers or malware. Then, they are proven wrong.
Business owners who aren’t familiar with this technology often feel concerned about potential security flaws in such a system Those fears are well-founded. There are unique security threats to virtual environments. If a hacker is able to compromise the VMs, they likely have very high security privileges (by their nature, most VMs require a high level of access). Therefore, the host can also be compromised. At this point, control of the entire system can be seized from the owner.
If the hypervisor (the virtual machine manager) is compromised, every virtual server could be affected. For businesses, this could utterly halt productivity. Hacking a hypervisor is much more difficult task than an average codehead could muster, but it remains a real possibility.
Some strains of malware and ransomware have the capacity to spread to virtual machines. If malware can modify inactive VMs, it can spread to other VMs on the server. The effects of this security breach are usually not immediately obvious, but oblivious business owners could. VMs can also be susceptible to targeted attacks. On the plus side, it is possible to isolate risky files and programs in a virtual environment.
What can business owners do to secure virtualized infrastructures?
- Owners and IT departments must keep track of activity. Whenever a new VM is created, modified, or disabled, there should be a record of who performed that action. Unauthorized changes should be addressed as soon as possible.
- Whether disk files have been corrupted, data was formatted, or hardware simply failed, virtualization can make data recovery exponentially more difficult. If integral data has been lost, it might be necessary to hire professionals in the field of VMware data recovery.
- Instruct employees on proper etiquette for accessing information. Furthermore, limit sensitive data to employees who need it to work. Since proprietary systems and information could be accessed from outside the workplace, that data can be accessed to anyone with the login credentials.
Ultimately, it is important to remember to take the same precautionary steps to protect information as one would for a traditional physical environment. It is not safe or factual to assume that virtual environments are more secure. As virtualization continues to evolve, users will have to keep up with the latest threats and solutions. Internet security has never been a “set-it-and-forget-it” procedure. If businesses keep a pulse on it, data breaches can be avoided and production can move forth unhindered.
For more information on internet security concerns, check out how malware on the cloud can ruin businesses.
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