data-aware analytics

How virtual machines changed data security forever

Virtualization changed IT forever. When organizations began learning virtualized environments were a cost-effective way to consolidate workloads and improve system performance, the technology became a must-have for growing businesses. However, the increasingly common presence of virtualized machines (VMs) also changed the data security climate, and in many ways, it’s yet to fully regain its balance.

Virtualization introduced data growth that was unprecedented for many companies. Since virtualized environments move and scale quickly, they can incite data and VM sprawl. In that process, data can be misplaced or overlooked among a company’s many VMs. If the organization that owns the data loses clarity about where sensitive content resides, or who is accessing data and how, the confusion can introduce serious risks into the IT environment.

A new approach: security for virtualized data 

The traditionally agent-based software methods of securing VMs are proving ineffective in today’s threat landscape. Instead, organizations need to approach their virtualized data with the same commitment to visibility and clarity they employ for any other area of the business. This process consists of four key steps:

  • Discover key insights and attributes on the data’s surface.
  • Define what makes data important – whether that involves people, content, activities, storage metrics, fingerprints or locations.
  • Detect anomalies within data using customized rules that guard key assets.
  • Defend against security threats by taking action.

The speed of data growth ushers innovation and development into the enterprise, but it also creates the potential for devastating data loss. Since a security attack on a virtualized environment can result in twice as many costs as one confined to physical infrastructure (according to Kaspersky Lab) it’s critical for IT teams to avoid developing a false sense of confidence about their virtualized information. Doing so involves employing targeted security tactics where virtualized data lives. As a result, VMs can fulfill their potential to not only improve operations and simplify storage, but also help solve major business challenges.

Learn how to protect virtualized data from theft.

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David Siles

David is Chief Technology Officer for DataGravity. Prior to becoming CTO, David served as vice president of worldwide field operations at DataGravity. Previously, he was a member of the senior leadership team at Veeam Software. He also served as CTO and VP of professional services for systems integrator Hipskind TSG. A graduate of DeVry University, he is a frequent speaker at top tier technology shows and a recognized expert in virtualization.