Virtualization Services: Defining Security Policies

When you’re implementing new virtualization services, one key element that you should not neglect is the creation of robust security policies to protect your network and your data. Network intrusions reached an all-time high in 2012, so it’s vital that you have strong security measures in place.

The good news is, having strong security throughout your virtualization services isn’t difficult, and can benefit you in several ways. Besides avoiding the obvious costs and penalties associated with a data breach, good security measures also help ensure that you meet regulatory guidelines for data storage and backup. You won’t have to worry about meeting your legal obligations for data handling.

The better news is, virtual systems are automatically more secure than physical networks in some ways. Many systems, such as IBM’s line of Power Servers, have total system protection built in at a hardware level. These systems scan each virtual machine before it boots, checking for any abnormalities, and immediately alerts the administrator if any suspicious changes have been made. Before a virtual server even boots, you can know if it’s been compromised.

Read on for some more tips on how to ensure your virtual network is properly protected against intrusion:

  • Create procedures for rapid update deployment. Because of the additional power the sysadmin of a virtual network has over the system, it’s easy to push critical vulnerability updates to virtual software.
  • Review all relevant regulations. There are numerous regulations overseeing how your business handles its data, depending on your industry and what data you handle. Conduct a thorough review of these regulations to ensure your virtualization services meet them.
  • Disable unnecessary hypervisor features. The hypervisor – the software which governs your virtual machines – will often have features enabled, such as guest access or virtual DVD drives, which you may not need. Disabling these features closes potential security holes, and frees up more resources for your actual needs.
  • Actively audit and run drills. Schedule regular audits of your security procedures, data retention processes, and update status to ensure you continue to remain secure. Run “data disaster” drills to ensure your IT staff can respond appropriately to them.


Like all networks, your virtualization services need to be secured against intrusion. Putting well-defined security measures in place, based on the regulations relevant to your industry, will both prevent costly and embarrassing hacking incidents as well as ensuring your legal obligations are met.

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