Virtualization Thrives, Security Struggles To Keep Up

Tall fences make good neighbors. That goes for life in suburbia and, apparently, on the inside of computers.

The profile of virtualization is growing and, with it, the importance of virtualized security. It makes sense that this would be a big issue. It is impossible to get something valuable from a hacker if you happen to be using a virtual machine yourself. On the other hand, a hacker needs to get into a virtual machine to get at the data. That value exchange, though, can be accomplished by a malicious hacker.

black CCTV camera on wall

With that in mind, secure virtualization is becoming more and more important. Here are five key ways to make sure your virtualization is as secure as possible:

1) Virtualize as many applications as possible.

With more and more virtualization, there will be more applications that are viable for malicious hackers to attack. Sure, your application may be virtualized, but that doesn’t mean you should stop there. Virtualization is still young, and therefore should be treated with suspicion. A malicious hacker can still attack your system from remote, add a few ports, and run code through the device. Protecting the data inside the virtual machine (and therefore, the data outside of it) is no less important.

2) Make sure that you use a trustworthy provider for your virtualization hosting.

There are a few reputable providers out there, and reputable hackers don’t hesitate to attack computers made this way. If you are going to put your virtual machine online, make sure you are using a reputable provider.

3) Be sure to update your hypervisor.

While the updates are free for personal use, they are hefty for a Fortune 500 company. Anniversary updates are coming up that will add new security features to the old ones. Beware of these updates for malicious hackers. Update your virtual machine provider each time they offer it.

4) Protect your administrator account.

Especially if you are using version 3 of the VMware virtual machine, this is the account that carries the biggest risk. It’s because with one virus, your whole account can come online under its own power. The best thing to do is to set up passwords for this account and disable the ability to login from the client computer. This will make it difficult for a hacker to login to your profile from your client computer.

5) Create a robust network computing policy.

The business of protecting computers needs to be led by compliance with best practices in the field of information security. This requires an organization to have a clear and tied-together policy about how IT systems and the entire network infrastructure are protected. Otherwise, different departments will have different levels of authority and responsibility for how information is used and stored.

Are other companies following your lead? Perhaps so.

Second, establish clear workable security policies.

Most companies follow the following approach: “If we don’t take the security of our network seriously, we’ll lose a lot of money.” The problem is that if they were following a policy, they would have caught this attack.

Now that you understand the threat, you need to take the appropriate steps to protect your firm. Whether it’s PCI DSS compliance patches, employee training, or changes to existing code, the adoption of consistent and stronger security measures is increasing. If your company is doing business in California, you may already be under a compliance requirement to secure your computer network.

What now follows are five steps to help you achieve PCI compliance, so that you can enjoy the benefits of virtualization without paying the taxes required by the organization.

1. Understand the Documents

If you are a company thatapologiesbefore using any of the documentation freely available to the general public, you are likely still maintaining copies of your data on servers that have limited data protectionlevelsof encryption.

The following documents are required by the PCI DSS:

-Business Segregated Storage Requirements-Data Disposal Requirements-Security Developers-Users

2. Forward the Requirements to Your Bank or another Payment Card Merchant

You now need to notify your bank of your plans to implement the PCI DSS. In addition, you will also need to obtain the PCI DSS apply for and complete the due diligence document so you can receive any fines due for non-compliance.

3. Obtain Certification Testing Services

CcLan has recently begun offering a service where they will validate the software development team’s ability to develop the PCI DSS compliant application. They make this service free for use.

4. Keep Up With Security Updates

It is a good idea to keep up with the latest developments in software security to avoid known attack paths and application vulnerabilities.

The fourth requirement in the PCI DSS states simply: “Protect stored cardholder data.”

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