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March 2011

Virtualization 101: Best practices for securing virtual machines

As virtualization technology becomes common within the modern IT environment, the need for sound security and risk management for these systems increases. Although the technology and architecture can be complex, there are a number of best practices and straightforward techniques security teams can take to keep track of virtualization components and virtual machines, secure them properly, and maintain a strong, compliant security posture over time. Virtual machine discovery and inventory A first critical step in properly securing a virtual infrastructure is ascertaining where virtual machines are located and how an accurate inventory can be maintained. In many organziations, system inventories are out of date; in fact, many are kept in spreadsheets with manual input from systems and network administration teams. Due to the dynamic nature of virtual environments, a common scenario dubbed virtual sprawl can easily occur, where virtual machines are created and used for a period of time, but never noted in a formal systems inventory....

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