Virtualization Management: 4 Areas to Consider
Nowadays, it’s common for businesses to be operating some, or all of their business systems, from the cloud. The virtual environment enhances productivity and communication because access is available 24/7 from just about anywhere with a wifi connection. Virtualization is a technology solution that provides greater work flexibility and easy access to resources by sharing information from a single hardware device to multiple digital servers. While a virtual environment can improve traditional work dynamics, it also creates new challenges, including the management and monitoring of virtual servers and the virtual environment for streamlined business operations.
Creating a a virtualized environment provides reduced expenses for power and hardware, improved available uptime, and faster installations and implementations for any business. Before migrating to a new technology solution such as a virtualized environment, four essential areas need to be considered for managing it.
Although data loss is one of the most significant concerns of large enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses are more vulnerable to data loss. One of the primary reasons for this is smaller IT staff means limited resources for necessary tasks, including regular backups for on-premise equipment. Backups on virtualized servers allow businesses to create a restore point for their data.
While having a backup and recovery plan is critical to avoid data loss, implementing a managed virtual backup alongside a Managed Service Provider levels up the security game even further. This combo provides backup monitoring which further ensures the integrity (in other words, strength and quality) of a system backup. An IT staff can manage a virtualized backup, but it can quickly become complicated and time consuming, and risking an incomplete backup can be devastating for a small business. Because of this, many small businesses use a Managed Service Provider to assist with comprehensive backup management.
Maintaining high-level cyber security is undoubtedly a primary concern for every company using a technology solution and operating in a virtualized environment. As more features and functionality are added to virtual systems, risks for cyber attacks increase. There are ways to improve the security of a virtual machine. Some of these methods include:
- Patch Updates. Make sure that the most recent patch updates are installed on the guest operating system. Some VMs allow automatic VM guest patching, which helps ease update management and supports security compliance.
- Disable Unnecessary Functionality. If there’s functionality or services that aren’t needed or used, disable them. This will minimize available entry points for attacks. VMs typically don’t require the number of services and functions as on-premises servers. Therefore, when migrating to a virtualized environment, remember to evaluate the services and functions being used.
- Use templates and scripted management. Creating templates of your VMs will ensure that nothing is missed during setup, and when additional VMs are built, they’ll have the same settings.
- Minimize Use of Virtual Machine Console. Access to the virtual machine console should only be limited to a select number of employees. Having access rights to the virtual machine console also provides access to VM power management and removable device connectivity controls. If login credentials get into the wrong hands, this could result in an attack on the virtual system.
- Enable UEFI Boot. This is a security standard that helps guarantee that when a PC boots, it uses software trusted by the PC manufacturer.
Quality Assurance / Monitoring
Keeping a quality check on a virtual environment is crucial to keeping it operating for optimum performance. Experienced staff will look at key metrics and analytical data to determine if there are issues or detect unusual activity. There are three processes to follow to ensure that the virtual system is running efficiently:
- Monitoring VMs helps detect and resolve issues quickly.
- Troubleshooting addresses any performance issues and provides ways to fix them.
- Reporting provides performance data so business decisions can be made quickly.
Testing and Maintenance
Once a company has migrated to a virtualized environment, it’s important to test whenever there are changes or updates. Performing regular maintenance on the virtual machines also helps identify any potential issues and areas that may raise concerns for security breaches. When adding new software, running it on a virtual machine means new applications can be tested before being deployed, which is why testing and maintenance are two of the main processes to think about when considering a virtual environment.
Setting up a new technology solution, such as a virtualized environment, will simplify how a company manages its IT infrastructure. It also saves time and money by increasing productivity and improving the functionality and useability of different platforms. However, it’s important to understand the necessary processes involved with a virtualized environment and the top four areas that need to be closely managed. Many companies rely on partnerships with Managed Service Providers to oversee and monitor virtualized systems for companies of all sizes.
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