Gartner analysts say security must evolve as organizations move away from virtualized servers in the data center towards private cloud computing environments.
Security principles will remain fundamentally the same
across virtualized data centers and private cloud environments, but how
security services are provisioned and delivered will have to change, said
Gartner analysts on Nov. 8.
Most organizations will first virtualize servers
data center as a "steppingstone" before shifting to the private cloud, according to Thomas
Bittman, a Gartner vice-president.
must be integrated from the outset and not
"bolted on" later as organizations shift from virtual data centers to private
clouds, said Bittman.
will continue to be a hot IT topic, with
Gartner predicting that 40 percent of security controls within enterprise data
centers will be virtualized by 2015, up from 5 percent in 2010.
To secure private clouds, IT managers have to design a
set of on-demand, elastic and programmable services that are tied to logical
attributes to create adaptive trust zones, according to the analysts. Security
must be an integral, but separately configurable part of the client
environment, the analysts said.
Private clouds are likely to be deployed incrementally,
not all at once, and will be carved out of existing data centers, said
analysts. Security in the private cloud would need to exchange and share
policies with other data center security infrastructure, for both virtual or
physical, wrote Gartner's team of analysts. Security controls placed across
either infrastructure would "intelligently cooperate" for workload inspection,
Policies where the physical host is separated to isolate
it, or "tied" to physical attributes, such as the server, Internet Protocol
(IP) address, or Media Access Control (MAC) address, "break down" with private
cloud computing, said Neil MacDonald, vice-president at Gartner and a Gartner
Fellow. Policies approving or denying actions should not be based on physical
components in the cloud because workloads and information are no longer restricted
to specific devices, said the analysts.
Security should be delivered as a set of "on demand
services to protect workloads and information, and integrated into cloud
provisioning and management processes, said Gartner analysts. Appropriate
security policies that handle provisioning, moving, modifying, cloning, and
retiring should be associated to server and desktop workloads, according to
Security policies should not be administered on a single
virtual machine basis, said Gartner. Instead, security policies will be used to
logically organize workloads into trusted zones, such as based on similar
security requirements or trust levels, the analysts said. As policies are
linked to groups of VMs and not physical servers, the zones adapt as individual
machines and new workloads are provisioned and moved, said Gartner.
According to the research firm, private clouds will
require security services that can separate workloads with different trust
levels. By 2015, 70 percent of organizations will allow server workloads of
different trust levels to share the same physical hardware, unless expressly
prohibited by regulatory or compliance rules, estimated Gartner.
Just as there is a strict separation of duties and
concerns between physical and virtualized infrastructure, IT operations and
security must be separated on multiple levels in a cloud-based environment,
Ideally, security policies designed to protect workloads
should be federated to public cloud providers, said Gartner. While there are no
currently established standards, analysts cited VMware's vCloud API