Shifting attitudes towards virtualisation security: Kaspersky

  • Most agree security should be priority when rolling out virtual infra
  • Balancing performance and security remains a challenge
Shifting attitudes towards virtualisation security: Kaspersky

ACCORDING to a Kaspersky Lab survey of worldwide IT professionals, virtualisation security concerns are receiving more attention from businesses.
However, some lingering doubts around the need for specialised virtualisation security software still remain, the company said in a statement.
The survey results also show that businesses have again arrived at the intersection of performance and security for their IT systems and that balancing these two requirements continues to be a challenge.
Using traditional security to protect virtual endpoints appears to be a major cause of performance woes across the IT industry, Kaspersky Lab said.
The survey results, which can be found in Kaspersky Lab’s 2014 IT Security Risks for Virtualisation summary report (PDF link), showed 64% of IT decision-makers agreed that security should be one of the first considerations when rolling out a virtual infrastructure.
Prioritising the security of virtual environments shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering 52% also agreed that virtual environments are increasingly forming a core part of their business IT infrastructure.
As more businesses rely on virtual infrastructure for critical day-to-day functions, protecting this virtual infrastructure becomes more important, Kaspersky Lab said.
However, the survey also indicates businesses are worried that securing their virtual environment sacrifices performance. In fact, 39% agreed that adding security to virtualised infrastructure makes it run more slowly.
A drop in performance is also a major concern for businesses, with 55% reporting that the performance of virtualised servers is critical for their business.
Businesses using the wrong tool
Virtualisation security has arrived at the classic security dilemma: Performance and security are both seen as top requirements for virtual infrastructure, but an increase in security often comes at the expense of performance, Kaspersky Lab said.
However, the survey data also points to a source of widespread virtual network slow-downs:

  • 46% of respondents believe “virtual environments can be adequately protected by conventional security solutions designed to protect physical systems.”
  • 24% of respondents believe “my existing anti-malware solution provides better protection and performance than other specialist solutions.”

These points reveal a widely-held belief that traditional anti-malware, designed for securing physical endpoints, provides adequate protection for virtual networks.
However, these points also show that IT managers fail to account for the drain on virtual performance that these physical security solutions can incur, Kaspersky Lab said.
A broader understanding of the performance drain caused by traditional physical security when applied to virtual machines may be the key to boosting virtual infrastructure security levels worldwide, it added.
Kaspersky Lab believes there is no “one size fits all” solution for any virtual environment, and a mix of protection styles, including agent-based, light-agent, and agent-less can be appropriate given the requirements of each business.
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