Data Center Virtualization Still a Security Challenge

A new report from McAfee and Brocade finds that as organizations shift to virtualization and cloud computing, inconsistent network policies and security loopholes are growing more common.

As organizations increasingly use virtualization in their data centers, they are becoming more aware of the need for proper security to defend against threats, according to a new research report.

As organizations make the shift to virtualization and cloud computing, they run the risk of introducing "new obstacles" such as inconsistent network policies and security loopholes, according to a McAfee and Brocade report released May 31. The biggest threats were targeted attacks and security breaches, the respondents said.

About 62 percent of respondents were planning or were in the process of a data center upgrade. Half of the respondents have either implemented or were planning to deploy private clouds within their organizations.

"Companies investing in full scale virtualization are now running into network and security challenges," said Rees Johnson, senior vice president and general manager for network security at McAfee.

Nearly 77 percent of respondents rated threat protection, such as intrusion prevention, as "critical" or "important" in the survey. Approximately 26 percent were the most worried about targeted attacks against their virtualized infrastructure and 24 percent said security breaches were their biggest concern.

In comparison, 32 percent named bandwidth and traffic engineering and 29 percent reported scaling server virtualization.

Virtualization "comes at a cost," and traditional networking architecture is not "best-suited" to handle the demands of a virtual environment, McAfee said. Nearly half are relying on the same security model for virtualization that they used with physical servers, the report found.

"Virtualization, especially in the context of private clouds, introduces unique operational and security challenges," Johnson said.

Application security can fail when applications are "decoupled" from the physical resources they rely on, according to McAfee. About 18 percent of the surveyed professionals had also reached the same conclusion and were exploring other methods.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Security Obstacles Remain for Data Center Virtualization.

This article was originally published on 06-01-2011
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.