4 de July de 2019

Advantages of virtualizing your security platform

Every business needs to process and store millions of data in their daily activities.

Dealing with personal department information, sales, customer relationship, billing, shopping etc., demands investment in network assets, physical space and servers, which can be costly over time.

So, a solution that appeals to many companies is virtualization, a technique that uses software to simulate hardware functionality, creating a virtual machine.

This technique can be considered as an alternative to information security investment, especially when considering frequent challenges such as cost efficiency and the need to scale network resources.

IT teams can create great value from the use of virtualizers, which allow to run multiple virtual machines, operating systems and applications on a single server.

How does network security virtualization work?

For instance, when a company evaluates a firewall to purchase, there are two basic implementation models. Hardware appliance or virtual appliance (also known as virtual machine).

The hardware appliance provides precise technical specifications for the demand of the company network in a controlled and fully dedicated physical environment. On the other hand, the virtual machine (VM) replicates the required specifications, creating an image  of the hardware on a non-dedicated device.

Rather than positioning hardware at the edge of the perimeter to assess traffic, IT staff guides that flow to the virtualization instance within a device that can run other systems or applications.

The implementation of a VM makes it possible to manage in a flexible way the introduction of several different architectures. Some interesting features for its use are:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Simplified installation
  • Centralized management
  • Isolation of hardware failures
  • Preserve performance with advanced controls
  • Running multiple services on one machine
  • Faster disaster recovery
  • Migration of any VM to any physical server
  • Increased IT efficiency
  • Less server complexity

Although using virtual machine is a very interesting alternative for companies, there is no cake recipe. Most companies consider the context of their network and the risks involved in choosing the type of appliance.

So the question the IT team should ask is not “Which appliance is best?” But rather, “Which of the appliances meets the expectations of my network?”.

Virtual machine ou cloud?

A third model one can use a network security platform would be the instance in cloud computing.

Many companies may have doubts about these models, since they look similar. But they are not the same.

The virtual machine is basically software that emulates the technical specification of a physical hardware for systems and applications to function within the same equipment. A cloud instance provides on-demand services (computing resources, applications or data) on the web.

You can not compare VM and cloud. In fact, virtualization technology enables the existence of cloud computing.

By knowing each use case well, you can choose a model that best suits your needs. For example, the cloud provides elasticity, automated management and on-demand service sharing, which is not a feature of virtual machines.

Virtualization, on the other hand, maximizes resources while lowering TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and is ideal for server consolidation. In addition, the decrease in management costs is quite evident.

Another criterion you can use to evaluate this matter is your investment model. If your evaluation is based on operating expenses (OPEX), there are more advantages to use cloud’s services on a monthly basis.

But if your company usually evaluates based on the capital expenditure model (CAPEX) or needs more integration and security control, it is better to opt for visualization.

How to increase security in VMs?

Many companies may be cynical about a virtual machine. If the host operating system has some vulnerability or is attacked by a cyber threat, all VMs are under the same risk.

Therefore, it is critical that the device that hosts the virtualized images be protected with advanced cybersecurity technology. However, if your company ensures that infrastructure protection measures are really efficient, the VM will be secure as a hardware appliance.

Have you decided yet how your company can take leverage of security platform virtualization?

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