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July 2009, Vol. 12

Securing virtual environments: Three considerations

In virtual environments, there are three common problems that create security problems: (1) definitional issues concerning what compromises a virtual environment and, thus, the threats posed to that environment; (2) the management of applications and operating systems within virtual machines (VMs); and (3) the use of a virtual administrative network to manage virtual hosts. To better secure your virtual environment, this tip defines the scope of the virtual environment and discusses some of the security threats at the OS, application and network levels. The ultimate goal is for virtualization administrators to secure the entire virtual environment, not just a hypervisor or management appliance in isolation. Virtual environment semantics Uniform definitions of the security aspects of virtualization are of vital importance. If your definition of a secure virtual environment conflicts with prevailing standard definitions, it can create confusion and conflicting security recommendations. There are two major issues that need to be ...

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