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A recent Kaspersky study has revealed that although IT professionals are addressing virtualisation security, there are still some doubts about the specialised software that is needed.

According to a Kaspersky Lab survey of IT professionals worldwide, virtualization security concerns are receiving more attention from businesses. However, some lingering doubts around the need for specialised virtualization security software still remain. The survey results also show that businesses have arrived at the intersection of performance and security for their IT systems and that balancing these two requirements continues to be a challenge.

Using traditional security to protect virtual endpoints appears to be a major cause of performance problems across the IT industry.

The survey results, which can be found in Kaspersky Lab’s 2014 IT Security Risks for Virtualization summary report, showed 64% of IT decision-makers agreed that security should be one of the first considerations when rolling out a virtual infrastructure.

Prioritising the security of virtual environments shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering 52% also agreed that virtual environments are increasingly forming a core part of their business IT infrastructure. As more businesses rely on virtual infrastructure for critical day-to-day functions, protecting this virtual infrastructure becomes more important.

However, the survey also indicates businesses are worried that securing their virtual environment sacrifices its performance. In fact, 39% agreed that adding security to virtualized infrastructure makes it run more slowly. A drop in performance is also a major concern for businesses, with 55% reporting that the performance of virtualized servers is critical for their business.

Businesses Using the Wrong Tool for the Job, Causing Virtual Infrastructure Slow-Downs:

Virtualization security has arrived at the classic security dilemma: “performance” and “security” are both seen as top requirements for virtual infrastructure, however an increase in security often comes at the expense of performance. However, the survey data also points to a source of widespread virtual network slow-downs:

1) 46% of respondents believe “virtual environments can be adequately protected by conventional security solutions designed to protect physical systems.

2) 24% of respondents believe “my existing anti-malware solution provides better protection and performance than other specialist solutions.

These points reveal a widely-held belief that traditional anti-malware, designed for securing physical endpoints, provides adequate protection for virtual networks. However, these points also show that IT managers fail to account for the drain on virtual performance that these physical security solutions can incur. A broader understanding of the performance drain caused by traditional physical security when applied to virtual machines may be the key to boosting virtual infrastructure security levels worldwide.

In a study performed by independent security testers AV-Test, basic malware detection rates and system performance of traditional endpoint security and specialised solutions for virtualization, including Kaspersky Security for Virtualization, were compared.

The study found that the traditional endpoint security solution took much longer – in some cases almost twice as long – to process virtual numerous desktops booting up at nearly the same time, which is a situation every IT manager encounters around 9:00 AM every work day. The test also found that these “old-school” security measures consumed between 40%-65% more system resources than Kaspersky Lab’s specialised virtual security solution when protecting multiple machines.

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