How Network Virtualization is Used as a Security Tool
Network virtualization can provide advantages that traditional IT security solutions lack.
Network virtualization has picked up a lot of speed, and providers are looking for new attractions for potential clients. If faster, simpler network management isn’t compelling enough, industry leaders like VMware and Microsoft are offering new security features for the safety-minded. This new feature can be a major benefit to both early adopters and those looking to try their hand at network virtualization.
The speed and efficiency provided by network virtualization may seem overwhelming to those who are unfamiliar with the software, and can be particularly daunting for small businesses. But with security spearheading VMware’s and Microsoft’s lists of benefits, the technology may be more palatable to smaller companies. But how does it work exactly? How can network virtualization protect your business?
How It Works
In the pre-virtualization days, companies used high-power firewalls to protect against data breaches and outside attacks. But with the shift of data centers toward software-heavy systems, this is no longer an option. Network virtualization is often a patchwork of different products that may require specific and unique protocols to function. Managing a large number of firewall permissions for a variety of software can be a formidable task — and largely a waste of time.
In response to this need for comprehensive, holistic security, VMware introduced micro-segmentation and its NSX platform. Using a “zero trust” strategy, this security protocol allows you to assign network-specific policies that regulate the flow of incoming and outgoing traffic. Because each network has a unique security protocol, even if it’s infected, the threat won’t be able to travel freely between networks to affect the rest of your system.
Rather than having one overarching firewall, you’ll have several firewalls dispersed throughout your virtualized network. These borders can be highly tailored to allow cross-network access to certain software, and deny it to others. These firewalls can also be established for virtual machines in addition to virtual networks.
Recognizing the interconnectivity of security tools, network virtualization providers often offer a great deal of integration between their own software and other vendors, including Trend Micro, Palo Alto Networks and Symantec.
In response to VMware’s NSX platform, Microsoft introduced its Hyper-V Virtual Switch. While VMware and Microsoft remain the top contenders for network virtualization, other providers like Cisco and 5nine Software have created their own offerings to respond to the need for high-volume virtualization software.
Common Virtualization Security Mistakes
With a flood of new adopters eager to try out network virtualization, there are mistakes common to the deployment of this new software. These are a few of the most frequent security errors, as well as ways that you can avoid them.
As with any security protocol, there are certain mistakes that you can make (and avoid) during the virtualization process. First and foremost is misconfiguration. This simple mistake can be magnified across your entire network. For instance, if the first server is configured incorrectly and those configurations are duplicated onto the next, and the next, then you have a massive problem on your hands. This can be particularly difficult to double-check given the high level of segmentation in virtual networks. The best way to address this common mistake is to only re-create servers from proven and tested configurations.
Before moving to virtualization, organizations have a wealth of software tools that make their daily functions possible. When network virtualization is introduced, however, many of these necessary tools are left by the wayside. The developers of these tools are aware of this growing problem, so before you give up on your existing infrastructure, be sure to investigate whether or not each software element has a virtualization option.
At first blush, network virtualization offers immense savings for businesses of every size and industry. With less software and lower management costs, the initial price tag may be very persuasive. However, there are other costs that may turn up unexpectedly, such as new configuration, security audits and storage management. To avoid an unexpected bill, you should plan out (and budget) your network virtualization strategy ahead of time. Plan for training, licenses and additional security appliances that you may need down the road.
The benefits of network virtualization are expanding and developing with every passing year. With the additional benefit of security, this software can now appeal to smaller companies looking to justify the expense. For those who have already integrated this technology, security configuration can eliminate some redundancies and save on costs overall. As long as you can avoid the mistakes associated with its adoption, you can take full advantage of the advancements available with network virtualization.
More from Turbonomic
- Why would companies invest in decision automation?
- What are some advantages of multi-cloud deployments?
- How does software-defined networking differ from virtual networking?
- How does dynamic allocation in the cloud save companies money?
- Why should companies be considering intent-based networking?
- Why is it important to manage a relational database system in the cloud?
- How can businesses innovate in managing data center bandwidth?
- What are some best practices for cloud encryption?
- How does visibility help with the uncertainty of handing data to a cloud provider?
- How can companies maintain application availability standards?
- Why do cloud providers seek FEDRamp certification?
- How might a team make an app "cloud-ready"?
- Why does loosely coupled architecture help to scale some types of systems?
- How might companies deal with hardware dependencies while moving toward a virtualization model?
- Why does virtualization speed up server deployment?
- What is the virtualization "backlash" and why is it important?
- Why could a "resource hog" make virtualization difficult?
- How might a company utilize a virtualization resource summary?
- Why do undersized VMs lead to latency and other problems?
- What are some of the positives of a demand-driven migration model?
- Why should cloud services offer both elasticity and scalability?
- What are some of the values of real-time hybrid cloud monitoring?
- Why might a company assess right-sizing on-premises versus in the cloud?
- How can companies deal with “dynamic unpredictability?”
- What are some basic ideas for optimizing hybrid cloud?
- Why do some companies choose Azure or AWS over open-source technologies like OpenStack?
- What are some advantages and drawbacks of stateless applications?
- Why is it important to look at the "full stack" in virtualization?
- How does automation help individual system operators?
- How do companies develop a "data center BMI"?
- How can companies tally up cloud costs for multi-cloud or complex cloud systems?
- Why is a good HTML5 interface important for a business project?
- How do companies work toward composable infrastructure?
- How can a manager use a workload chart?
- How can companies work to achieve a desired state?
- How can companies cultivate a better approach to “object-based” network changes?
- Why do naming conventions for virtual machines help with IT organization?
- Why is reserve capacity important in systems?
- What are some values of cloud-native architecture?
- Why is it important to match uptime to infrastructure?
- What's commonly involved in site reliability engineering?
- What are some important considerations for implementing PaaS?
- What are some challenges with handling an architecture's storage layers?
- What are some of the benefits of software-defined storage?
- What are some things that rightsizing virtual environments can do for a business?
- What are some benefits of continuous real-time placement of user workloads?
- How can stakeholders use the three key operations phases of autonomic hyperconvergent management?
- Why would managers suspend VMs when VDI instances are not in use?
- Why would managers differentiate storage for I/O-intensive workloads?
- Why would companies assess quality of service for VMs?
- What's the utility of a cluster capacity dashboard?
- How can companies use raw device mapping?
- Why might someone use an N+1 approach for a cluster?
- How do companies balance security, cost, scalability and data access for cloud services?
- How do companies battle application sprawl?
- What are some benefits of self-driving data centers?
- What are some concerns companies might have with a "lift and shift" cloud approach?
- What is involved in choosing the right EC2 instances for AWS?
- What are some benefits of workload abstraction?
- What are some challenges of scaling in OpenStack?
- How do companies use Kubernetes?
- What methods do companies use to improve app performance in cloud models?
- How do businesses use virtualization health charts?
- What is the difference between convergence, hyperconvergence and superconvergence in cloud computing?
- What are some of the business limitations of the public cloud?
- What is the difference between deploying containers inside a VM vs directly on bare metal?
- What are the benefits of converged infrastructure in cloud computing?
- How is containerization different from virtualization?