The critical security area many companies miss

Virtualization has become a key part of many IT organizations’ cost-saving plans. But many companies that have virtualized apparently aren’t ready to deal with the new security risks they’ve created.

That’s the word from a recent survey conducted by Symantec. Of the small businesses surveyed, just 40% said their virtual servers are completely secured. Also, just 15% regularly back up data on virtual servers.

That’s not all. Even among the businesses that feel their virtual servers were adequately protected:

  1. 78% don’t have antivirus software on virtual machines
  2. 74% forgo endpoint protection, and
  3. 48% don’t have a firewall.

Why the lack of serious security in virtual environments? Most respondents cited budgetary or staffing issues.

Of course security is always important, especially where sensitive or mission-critical data is concerned, whether it’s housed on a virtual server or not.

Here’s what Symantec recommends for businesses using or considering virtualization:

  1. Define a virtualization strategy — That includes coming up with a security plan and keeping security in mind throughout the planning and implementation stages.
  2. Secure the virtual environment — Businesses should consider what security tools they need for virtual servers — including antivirus, firewalls, and endpoint security — and factor those items into the project budget. Also, update security policies and practices to take the new virtual environment into account.
  3. Protect data — One of the advantages of virtualization is that it can make back-ups easier — however, as this survey shows, many small businesses fail to take advantage of that.

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