Keeping your customer’s physical environment secure is more straightforward than dealing with security in a virtual environment. There are a number of hidden risks and concerns that solution providers need to be prepared for before fielding customer questions about vSphere security.
Virtualization expert Eric Siebert breaks down what you need to know about securing your customer’s vSphere environment, including Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) concerns, anti-virus software and ESX firewalls. Siebert also explains which third-party virtualization security products and vendors can be useful to solution providers.
How does security in virtual environments differ from physical environments?
Most of the security-hardening techniques that solution providers would normally use in physical environments apply to virtual environments as well. These techniques are typically used at the guest operating system (OS) level, which is no different in virtual environments. There are, however, other security areas that you need to be concerned with inside virtual environments that don’t exist with traditional physical servers.
Solution providers need to recognize that the host opens up more attack vectors inside virtual environments, with the biggest being toward the ESX Service Console and the ESXi Management Console. These consoles run as privileged virtual machines (VMs) on the host and hold the keys to accessing any VM on the host. There are a variety of methods that can be used to access a host, including Secure Shell, vSphere Client, scripting application programming interfaces (APIs) and Web browser access. All of these access points need to be properly secured to protect the host and its VMs.
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