Virtualisation adopters face security challenges

Virtualisation is moving into the mainstream with 50% of IT professionals already using this new technology, or planning to do so within the next 18 months, reveals a survey conducted by email research specialists, emedia, using its RapidResearch service.
The survey also indicates that over half (52%) of respondents are saying virtualisation systems introduce some new security challenges. The main ones amongst those mentioned, include consideration for patching and update (32%), guest-to-guest attacks (27%), and the addition of new host software (22%).
Interestingly, the later the implementation of the technology is scheduled for, the more apprehensive IT professionals seems to be. emedia’s survey shows that 51% of current users think that virtualisation poses some new risks, rising to 57% amongst those planning to use the new solution within the next 6 months and 66% amongst those adopting it within the next 6 to 18 months.
However, system vulnerability does not seem to be the main hurdle for non-adopters at that stage. Obstacles to virtualisation expansion for non-users include the lack of a compelling business case for total cost of ownership and return on investment (20%), priority given to other network upgrade projects (19%), cost/budget constraints (18%), insufficient staff expertise (15%) and security (9%).
IT professionals believe they can overcome these threats by taking various safety measures such as staff training/improving understanding (51%), patching/updating/hardening servers (38%), using firewalls (30%), and separating networks/subnetting/routing (25%).
When purchasing a virtualisation solution, the most important criteria respondents look for are server/physical space consolidation (64%), disaster recovery (54%), and reduced cost of ownership (49%), speed performance (48%) and ease of use (43%).
David Clark, managing director at emedia, concludes, “The advantages of virtualisation appear to be tantalising but it seems that IT managers approach it with caution.”

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