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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How Virtualization Can Make Or Break Your Company

By now you may have heard about virtualization. In fact, it’s more than likely that you are already using it. The truth is that most companies are using some kind of virtualization technology to run their organizations effectively. Virtualization has literally changed the business world in the past several years and it only continues to grow as organizations are realizing the benefits it provides.

What is Virtualization?

In case you are unfamiliar with this technology, virtualization is the ability to control multiple servers from one physical location. Virtualization uses both hardware solutions and software programs to allow users to access various programs and information that are stored on a separate location.

Knowing how virtualization works should help you understand just how valuable it is to any kind of organization, but especially companies. As a matter of fact, this technological advancement has helped companies become so much more efficient than they were before, that it would be completely illogical to say that an organization should not use it.

Virtualization Risks

Now that we have established how valuable virtualization is, let me discuss some of the risks associated with this technology.

Because virtualization makes it so easy to create multiple servers, often times, too many will be created, which can result in what is called “virtual machine sprawl”. Not that there could really be too many from a usefulness standpoint, but from a logistical standpoint, having too many servers to manage can cause security risks. When there are more servers created than there are people to manage them, hackers have the advantage.

The other way that virtualization can break your company is if virtualization security programs, tools, and practices are not used alongside them. A firewall (virtual or otherwise), in particular, should be used to prevent any unauthorized information transfers between servers. Without a good firewall, it is practically impossible to detect when this is happening.

The last thing a large corporation wants is to have any of their sensitive information compromised during a virtualized presentation to remote offices. Securing presentation virtualization, desktop virtualization, application virtualization, and any other kind of virtual platforms will ensure that this great technological development can be used to make your company, and not break it.

Using Secure Platforms

There are several really good virtualization security blogs out there today to help companies and organizations learn about the right platforms so they can use this incredible capability securely. There will always be risks, but those risks can be significantly reduced when the right precautions are taken, and the right programs are used. Most of the time security issues can be decreased significantly just by having the right processes and staff in place to manage virtualized data.

For the most part, virtualization has helped companies, rather than hurt them. As long as the simple and common precautions are taken, the risk is very minimal. The effects of virtualized information getting into the wrong hands, however, can literally bring an entire company to the ground. This is more of an issue for large corporations than smaller businesses, but still not something any company wants to deal with.

This post was contributed by George Harris who is a member of the Open Virtualization Alliance. George enjoys writing informational blog posts to help educate the public on important virtualization topics such as security. 

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