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Virtually secure

I have to admit to being surprised by the size of the VMWorld show out here in San Francisco. I knew there was a lot of interest in virtualization these days, but there’s upwards of 10,000 attendees here, which is pretty close to what the RSA Conference draws. The security sessions I’ve attended today have been standing room only, with a lot of good, smart questions from the attendees on the security features of VMWare’s offerings and how to lock down virtual machines. It’s a really complex topic and it’s getting a lot of attention out here.

I’ve seen a couple of the former Determina folks in the security sessions, as well, and it appears that they’re going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in trying to get the word out about security in virtualized environments. It’s interesting that the VMWare folks are promoting virtualization as being inherently more secure than traditional servers and desktops. It echoes the tactics that Linux enthusiasts have used to combat Windows for years, without much in the way of support from security experts. It will be worth watching how this idea plays out in regard to virtualization.

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Tactics? When mapped to the PCI/DSS standard, ESX server needs only a couple of considerations (SNMP community name change from "public" and set password history to 4) to the default configuration to hold up very well to that compliance requirement. I do not think any other operating system's default configuration comes any where near as close to being compliant.