Gartner has recenty predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. CIOs will increasingly leverage a multitude of cloud computing providers across the entire IT stack to enable a huge variety of use cases and meet the requirements of their business unit peers. Indeed, the tides are shifting toward a “cloud-first” or even “cloud-only” policy... 

Marc Wilczek

How To Tackle Security Vulnerabilities In Hypervisor Based Cloud Servers

How To Tackle Security Vulnerabilities In Hypervisor Based Cloud Servers

Virtualization brings numerous security issues apart from the enormous benefits and productivity. Most of the organizations are reluctant to migrate to the cloud just because of the massive security vulnerabilities of cloud computing. Hypervisor, which is used in any virtualization environment to elevate the virtual machine collaboration, can be easily breached if not secured optimally. Hypervisor based cloud servers are always exposed to the Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and the “single point of failure” weakness of the hypervisor based cloud servers can easy be exploited to take down the whole cloud along with its resources. We will give you some state of the art yet simple ways to secure a cloud based virtualization environment which is using a hypervisor for virtual communication. You can use any one of the tips keeping in view the organizational needs and suitability.

Depleting the emulation frequency of the hypervisor and minimizing its remote calls to the resources across the cloud is one of the most useful and easy ways to secure a cloud. “NoHype” architecture makes sure that hypervisor does not have to interact with the virtual machines constantly. Allocation of the resources, I/O calls and assigning of processor cores is done before the start of the collaboration thus minimizing the active interaction time of the hypervisor.

Processor based virtualization assistance procedures must be stopped if they are not being used in the virtual environment because of the fact that Intel VT and other processor virtualization techniques start many memory management and isolated processes in the background which are necessary when you are hosting different Hyper- V based applications. When these applications are not being used, the isolated processes and processor based virtualization can be a serious threat to the physical layers of the cloud.

Another option is to deploy the behavioral analysis of the encrypted data from the virtual machines by using the HSEM security layer. HSEM will notify the hypervisor about any peculiar activity and hypervisor will block or limit activity of that machine according to the proposed security levels until the status of the machine is not cleared. In this architecture, there will a VM Security Monitor (VSEM) in every virtual machine which will responsible for monitoring the data transmission activity. VSEM will notify the hypervisor security monitors about any malicious or potentially malignant activity and necessary security level will be implemented accordingly.

Intermingling of the security zones of different virtual machines is one the most common factors which is responsible for the security beaches in the clouds. Cloud servers and hypervisors allow the auto switching of the virtual machines in order to avoid the extra workload on Hyper-V arrays. This can give rise to confusion between different security zones. Hyper-V arrays must be designed with a clear segregation of the security zones. If your cloud needs internet based remote services like TMG firewall, UAG SSL server, then you should devise a policy that should allocate these services to a separate array. All the services and resources which do not need internet calls like share point, SQL, must be integrated in separate arrays.

Limiting the remote access to the hypervisor is the key in maintaining and optimizing the security of your cloud because most of the hypervisors being used today allow the SSH, RDP and specialized management client and server connectivity access requests by default. Using the encryption at all levels of the cloud is the pre-requisite if you want to make your cloud secure and free of vulnerabilities. Choice of encryption systems is a key factor in ensuring the security of the data. Encryption systems like gKrypt and Bit locker which encrypts large volumes of data is a good choice because these systems ensure the boot level security right from the hardware level.

By Salman UI Haq


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