Identifying and Remediating Security Vulnerabilities
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Identifying and Remediating Security Vulnerabilities

Rafi Khan, CIO-Consultant at Riverside Community Care and Senior Consultant at Open Minds
Rafi Khan, CIO-Consultant at Riverside Community Care and Senior Consultant at Open Minds

Rafi Khan, CIO-Consultant at Riverside Community Care and Senior Consultant at Open Minds

Trends in VMware Space

Network virtualization: VMware’s NSX network virtualization platform has its advantages for infrastructures that can benefit from a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). This space, however, is getting crowded with many vendors touting similar features, such as rapid and seamless workload moves that tie all relevant networks and security policies between data centers. These technologies empower IT engineers, allowing them to provision networks via software management consoles, almost instantly–which, on physical networks, used to take weeks. This ability is very useful when managing disaster recovery events and other remedial support during network related outages. The network virtualization ecosystem, however, is getting crowded–Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Software-defined WAN (SDWAN) technologies are blurring these lines, encroaching into VMware’s NSX space.

Mobile Cloud: Mobile devices are ubiquitous in the enterprise, and IT is compelled to provide connectivity and access to corporate productivity tools. This mobile segment that IT manages has its challenges, especially security that is fragmented and without end-to-end integration. Powerful 4GLTE smartphones and tablets require sophisticated applications to take advantage of the sensors available on these devices. This transforms mobile cloud to a new level, impacting mobile marketing, social networks, healthcare and all business processes. Although VMware’s AirWatch provisions the security layers required for managing an enterprise mobility platform, there are other leading players as well, including Citrix’s XenMobile. Keep a close watch on this fast growing disruptive technology.

VMware as a Part of Dell Technologies

Early stages of mergers can take its toll on the company’s clients. As the merger process stabilizes, there will be the invaluable benefit of a one-vendor source using Dell. So my Dell representative will now have direct storage and virtualization resources for seamless integration strategies–providing solutions for mobile, data center infrastructure, storage, and virtualization. This is an advantage, as I now can leverage all Dell offerings for an effective best-of-breed IT spend.

  ​VMware’s system security posture is only as good as how unsecured or unauthorized access goes unchecked due to infrequent full network vulnerability scans   

Dell’s recent merger with EMC (which owns VMware) and recent history of top-level VMware executive exodus topped with 800 employee layoffs has cause for concern; although indications are that the company should recover as these events might help right-size itself as part of the merger process.

Security Realm of VMware

The above statement is supported by VMware’s Security Advisories which provides honest and timely notifications for specific security exploits and vulnerabilities, with detailed remediation solutions and software patches. VMware Knowledge Base articles arealso another avenue for security remedies. VMware View Administrator provides real-time dashboard within its management console. VMware’s system security posture is only as good as how unsecured or unauthorized access goes unchecked due to infrequent full network vulnerability scans. Misconfigured security settings, delayed rollout of security patches are common causes of avoidable security events.

Unmet Needs in Terms of Technology

VMware solution providers must have presence at VMware’s Solution Exchange marketplace. The lines are blurring between VM and new technologies such as Software Defined Networking and other touchpoints such as hyper-converged appliances. Be aware that these technologies are disruptive and may be VM agnostic.

VDI and Mobile Cloud technologies still seem to have teething problems, but with the advent of smart and high-density flash drives, as solutions provider you will have an edge against competition if you are able to meet this integration in the VDI domain. Mobile Cloud will be a disruptor, and the earlier solutions providers offer a seamless solution, the stronger your market-share.

Enhancing the VM backbone

The VM field is crowded and reaching maturity for growth. My recommendation is, as VMware peaks in the VM field, to look at enhancing the VM backbone–such as hyper-fast flash drives, vGPUs, efficient SDDC designs and Mobile Cloud. Also monitor Dell’s ability to direct integration resources within the newly acquired VMware ecosystem.

Watch for disruptions from VMware’s partners–who may create their own platforms, such as Software-defined “Everything” incorporating many of the features offered by VMware, but with less complexity. This sidestep strategy will be disruptive and transform the VMware arena.

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