Is virtualization a security threat?

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Although industry research continues to show the popularity of virtualization, some believe that the technology is a security threat. According to ethical hacker and security expert Jason Hart, virtual environments are a “time bomb” that cybercriminals are waiting to expose, ITProPortal recently reported.

Hart, who is vice president of cloud computing solutions at a data protection provider, spoke at the Infosecurity Europe conference in London. He explained that more companies are implementing virtualization and this rapid growth has made it difficult for firms to keep up with the risks associated with the solution, the news source reported.

What makes virtualization vulnerable to cybercriminals? According to Hart, technology has advanced in the past 15 years to the point where it is tough to keep tabs on data stored in certain environments, ITProPortal reported.

Another reason why virtual environments are in danger of being exposed by hackers is the fact that simple security protocols havebeen neglected. Hart said that data encryption is used to protect corporate laptops and other physical devices, but not so withvirtual technology, according to the news source.

Virtualization popularity not slowing
Hart may believe that virtual environments are a prime target for cybercriminals, but the advantages of the technology are too great for many businesses to pass up. According to a recent survey by TheInfoPro, less than a third of participants said their IT environments are fully virtualized, suggesting that they will continue to use the solution moving forward.

It appears that server virtualization is a key driver for a large portion of IT activity, according to Peter Ffoulkes, research director at TheInfoPro.

“Server virtualization projects are still dominating IT activity, creating a one-time spending bubble as organizations lay down the foundation for a cloud-ready infrastructure,” said Ffoulkes. “Complexity is driving interest in converged infrastructure solutions, with 13 percent of respondents planning to implement the technology for the first time within the next two years.”

Although some industry professionals may believe virtual environments need more protection, businesses clearly have a need for the technology in more than onearea. Since virtual environments will likely remain an IT staple moving forward, perhaps more needs to be done in terms of security to ensure this remains the case.

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