Managing Multi-Cloud Complexities for a Seamless Experience

Multi-cloud

Introduction

The early 2000s were milestone moments for the cloud. Amazon Web Services (AWS) entered the market in 2006, while Google revealed its first cloud service in 2007. Fast forward to 2020, when the pandemic boosted digital transformation efforts by around seven years (according to McKinsey), and the cloud has become a commercial necessity today. It not only facilitated the swift transition to remote work, but it also remains critical in maintaining company sustainability and creativity. Many can argue that the large-scale transition to the cloud in the 2010s was necessary to enable the digital-first experiences that remote workers and decentralized businesses need today.

Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud setups are now the norm. According to Gartner, most businesses today use a multi-cloud approach to reduce vendor lock-in or to take advantage of more flexible, best-of-breed solutions.

However, managing multi-cloud systems increases cloud complexity, and IT concerns, frequently slowing rather than accelerating innovation. According to 2022 research done by IntelligentCIO, the average multi-cloud system includes five platforms, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Red Hat, among others.


Managing Multi-Cloud Complexities Like a Pro

Your multi-cloud strategy should satisfy your company's requirements while also laying the groundwork for managing various cloud deployments. Creating a proactive plan for managing multi-cloud setups is one of the finest features that can distinguish your company. The five strategies for handling multi-cloud complexity are outlined below.


Managing Data with AI and ML

AI and machine learning can help manage enormous quantities of data in multi-cloud environments. AI simulates human decision-making and performs tasks as well as humans or even better at times. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that learns from data, recognizes patterns, and makes decisions with minimum human interaction.

AI and ML to help discover the most important data, reducing big data and multi-cloud complexity. AI and machine learning enable more simplicity and better data control.


Integrated Management Structure

Keeping up with the growing number of cloud services from several providers requires a unified management structure. Multiple cloud management requires IT time, resources, and technology to juggle and correlate infrastructure alternatives.

Routinely monitor your cloud resources and service settings. It's important to manage apps, clouds, and people globally. Ensure you have the technology and infrastructure to handle several clouds.


Developing Security Strategy

Operating multiple clouds requires a security strategy and seamless integration of security capabilities. There's no single right answer since vendors have varied policies and cybersecurity methods. Storing data on many cloud deployments prevents data loss.

Handling backups and safety copies of your data are crucial. Regularly examine your multi-cloud network's security. The cyber threat environment will vary as infrastructure and software do. Multi-cloud strategies must safeguard data and applications.


Skillset Management

Multi-cloud complexity requires skilled operators. Do you have the appropriate IT personnel to handle multi-cloud? If not, can you use managed or cloud services? These individuals or people are in charge of teaching the organization about how each cloud deployment helps the company accomplish its goals. This specialist ensures all cloud entities work properly by utilizing cloud technologies.


Closing Lines

Traditional cloud monitoring solutions are incapable of dealing with dynamic multi-cloud setups, but automated intelligence is the best at getting to the heart of cloud performance and security concerns. To begin with, businesses require end-to-end observability in order to see the overall picture. Add automation and causal AI to this capacity, and teams can obtain the accurate answers they require to better optimize their environments, freeing them up to concentrate on increasing innovation and generating better business results.

Spotlight

NCS Technology Limited

Since 1987, NCS Technology has provided robust data and network installations and AV solutions for a wide spectrum of clients across London, Kent and the Home Counties. We operate within commercial, education and public sectors, and make a point of getting to know our clients and their businesses so that we can recommend products and systems that suit their needs.

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Virtual Desktop Tools

VMware NSX 3.2 Delivers New, Advanced Security Capabilities

Article | June 24, 2022

It’s an impactful release focused on significant NSX Security enhancements Putting a hard shell around a soft core is not a recipe for success in security, but somehow legacy security architectures for application protection have often looked exactly like that: a hard perimeter firewall layer for an application infrastructure that was fundamentally not built with security as a primary concern. VMware NSX Distributed Firewall pioneered the micro-segmentation concept for granular access controls for cloud applications with the initial launch of the product in 2013. The promise of Zero Trust security for applications, the simplicity of deployment of the solution, and the ease of achieving internal security objectives made NSX an instant success for security-sensitive customers. Our newest release — NSX-T 3.2 — establishes a new marker for securing application infrastructure by introducing significant new features to identify and respond to malware and ransomware attacks in the network, to enhance user identification and L7 application identification capabilities, and, at the same time, to simplify deployment of the product for our customers. Modern day security teams need to secure mission-critical infrastructure from both external and internal attacks. By providing unprecedented threat visibility leveraging IDS, NTA, and Network Detection and Response (NDR) capabilities along with granular controls leveraging L4-L7 Firewall, IPS, and Malware Prevention capabilities, NSX 3.2 delivers an incredible security solution for our customers“ Umesh Mahajan, SVP, GM (Networking and Security Business Unit) Distributed Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) Attackers often use multiple sophisticated techniques to penetrate the network, move laterally within the network in a stealthy manner, and exfiltrate critical data at an appropriate time. Micro-segmentation solutions focused solely on access control can reduce the attack surface — but cannot provide the detection and prevention technologies needed to thwart modern attacks. NSX-T 3.2 introduces several new capabilities focused on detection and prevention of attacks inside the network. Of critical note is that these advanced security solutions do not need network taps, separate monitoring networks, or agents inside each and every workload. Distributed Malware Prevention Lastline’s highly reputed dynamic malware technology is now integrated with NSX Distributed Firewall to deliver an industry-first Distributed Malware Prevention solution. Leveraging the integration with Lastline, a Distributed Firewall embedded within the hypervisor kernel can now identify both “known malicious” as well as “zero day” malware Distributed Behavioral IDS Whereas earlier versions of NSX Distributed IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention System) delivered primarily signature-based detection of intrusions, NSX 3.2 introduces “behavioral” intrusion detection capabilities as well. Even if specific IDS signatures are not triggered, this capability helps customers know whether a workload is seeing any behavioral anomalies, like DNS tunneling or beaconing, for example, that could be a cause for concern. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) For customers interested in baselining network-wide behavior and identifying anomalous behavior at the aggregated network level, NSX-T 3.2 introduces Distributed Network Traffic Analysis (NTA). Network-wide anomalies like lateral movement, suspicious RDP traffic, and malicious interactions with the Active Directory server, for example, can alert security teams about attacks underway and help them take quick remediation actions. Network Detection and Response (NDR) Alert overload, and resulting fatigue, is a real challenge among security teams. Leveraging advanced AI/ML techniques, the NSX-T 3.2 Network Detection and Response solution consolidates security IOCs from different detection systems like IDS, NTA, malware detection. etc., to provide a ”campaign view” that shows specific attacks in play at that point in time. MITRE ATT&CK visualization helps customers see the specific stage in the kill chain of individual attacks, and the ”time sequence” view helps understand the sequence of events that contributed to the attack on the network. Key Firewall Enhancements While delivering new Advanced Threat Prevention capabilities is one key emphasis for the NSX-T 3.2 release, providing meaningful enhancements for core firewalling capabilities is an equally critical area of innovation. Distributed Firewall for VDS Switchports While NSX-T has thus far supported workloads connected to both overlay-based N-VDS switchports as well as VLAN-based switchports, customers had to move the VLAN switchports from VDS to N-VDS before a Distributed Firewall could be enforced. With NSX-T 3.2, native VLAN DVPGs are supported as-is, without having to move to N-VDS. Effectively, Distributed Security can be achieved in a completely seamless manner without having to modify any networking constructs. Distributed Firewall workflows in vCenter With NSX-T 3.2, we are introducing the ability to create and modify Distributed Firewall rules natively within vCenter. For small- to medium-sized VMware customers, this feature simplifies the user experience by eliminating the need to leverage a separate NSX Manager interface. Advanced User Identification for Distributed and Gateway Firewalls NSX supported user identity-based access control in earlier releases. With NSX-T 3.2, we’re introducing the ability to directly connect to Microsoft Active Directory to support user identity mapping. In addition, for customers who do not use Active Directory for user authentication, NSX also supports VMware vRealize LogInsight as an additional method to carry out user identity mapping. This feature enhancement is applicable for both NSX Distributed Firewall as well as NSX Gateway Firewall. Enhanced L7 Application Identification for Distributed and Gateway Firewalls NSX supported Layer-7 application identification-based access control in earlier releases. With NSX-T 3.2, we are enhancing the signature set to about 750 applications. While several perimeter firewall vendors claim a larger set of Layer-7 application signatures, they focus mostly on internet application identification (like Facebook, for example). Our focus with NSX at this time is on internal applications hosted by enterprises. This feature enhancement is applicable for both NSX Distributed Firewall as well as Gateway Firewalls. NSX Intelligence NSX Intelligence is geared towards delivering unprecedented visibility for all application traffic inside the network and enabling customers to create micro-segmentation policies to reduce the attack surface. It has a processing pipeline that de-dups, aggregates, and correlates East-West traffic to deliver in-depth visibility. Scalability enhancements for NSX Intelligence As application infrastructure grows rapidly, it is vital that one’s security analytics platform can grow with it. With the new release, we have rearchitected the application platform upon which NSX Intelligence runs — moving from a stand-alone appliance to a containerized micro-service architecture powered by Kubernetes. This architectural change future-proofs the Intelligence data lake and allows us to eventually scale out our solution to n-node Kubernetes clusters. Large Enterprise customers that need visibility for application traffic can confidently deploy NSX Intelligence and leverage the enhanced scale it supports. NSX Gateway Firewall While NSX Distributed Firewall focuses on east-west controls within the network, NSX Gateway Firewall is used for securing ingress and egress traffic into and out of a zone. Gateway Firewall Malware Detection NSX Gateway Firewall in the 3.2 release received significant Advanced Threat Detection capabilities. Gateway Firewall can now identify both known as well as zero-day malware ingressing or egressing the network. This new capability is based on the Gateway Firewall integration with Lastline’s highly reputed dynamic network sandbox technology. Gateway Firewall URL Filtering Internal users and applications reaching out to malicious websites is a huge security risk that must be addressed. In addition, enterprises need to limit internet access to comply with corporate internet usage policies. NSX Gateway Firewall in 3.2 introduces the capability to restrict access to internet sites. Access can be limited based on either the category the URL belongs to, or the “reputation” of the URL. The URL to category and reputation mapping is constantly updated by VMware so customer intent is enforced automatically even after many changes in the internet sites themselves.

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Virtual Desktop Tools

Network Virtualization: The Future of Businesses and Networks

Article | August 12, 2022

Network virtualization has emerged as the widely recommended solution for the networking paradigm's future. Virtualization has the potential to revolutionize networks in addition to providing a cost-effective, flexible, and secure means of communication. Network virtualization isn't an all-or-nothing concept. It can help several organizations with differing requirements, or it can provide a bunch of new advantages for a single enterprise. It is the process of combining a network's physical hardware into a single, virtual network. This is often accomplished by running several virtual guest machines in software containers on a single physical host system. Network virtualization is indeed the new gold standard for networking, and it is being embraced by enterprises of all kinds globally. By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and lay the groundwork for future growth. Network virtualization also enables organizations to simulate traditional hardware like servers, storage devices, and network resources. The physical network performs basic tasks like packet forwarding, while virtual versions handle more complex activities like networking service management and deployment. Addressing Network Virtualization Challenges Surprisingly, IT teams might encounter network virtualization challenges that are both technical and non-technical in nature. Let's look at some common challenges and discuss how to overcome them. Change in Network Architecture Practically, the first big challenge is shifting from an architecture that depends heavily on routers, switches, and firewalls. Instead, these services are detached from conventional hardware and put on hypervisors that virtualize these operations. Virtualized network services are shared, scaled, and moved as required. Migrating current LANs and data centers to a virtualized platform require careful planning. This migration involves the following tasks: Determine how much CPU, computation, and storage resources will be required to run virtualized network services. Determine the optimal approach for integrating network resilience and security services. Determine how the virtualized network services will be implemented in stages to avoid disrupting business operations. The key to a successful migration is meticulous preparation by architects who understand the business's network requirements. This involves a thorough examination of existing apps and services, as well as a clear knowledge of how data should move across the company most effectively. Moreover, a progressive approach to relocation is often the best solution. In this instance, IT teams can make changes to the virtualization platform without disrupting the whole corporate network. Network Visibility Network virtualization has the potential to considerably expand the number of logical technology layers that must collaborate. As a result, traditional network and data center monitoring technologies no longer have insight into some of these abstracted levels. In other circumstances, visibility can be established, but the tools fail to show the information correctly so that network operators can understand it. In either case, deploying and managing modern network visibility technologies is typically the best choice. When an issue arises, NetOps personnel are notified of the specific service layer. Automation and AI The enhanced level of automation and self-service operations that can be built into a platform is a fundamental aspect of network virtualization. While these activities can considerably increase the pace of network upgrades while decreasing management overhead, they need the documentation and implementation of a new set of standards and practices. Understand that prior network architectures were planned and implemented utilizing actual hardware appliances on a hop-by-hop basis. A virtualized network, on the other hand, employs a centralized control plane to govern and push policies to all sections of the network. Changes may occur more quickly in this aspect, but various components must be coordinated to accomplish their roles in harmony. As a result, network teams should move their attention away from network operations that are already automated. Rather, their new responsibility is to guarantee that the core automation processes and AI are in sync in order to fulfill those automated tasks. Driving Competitive Edge with Network Virtualization Virtualization in networking or virtual machines within an organization is not a new trend. Even small and medium businesses have realized the benefits of network virtualization, especially when combined with a hosted cloud service provider. Because of this, the demand for enterprise network virtualization is rising, driving higher end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business tools. These network virtualization benefits can help boost business growth and gain a competitive edge. Gaining a Competitive Edge: Network Virtualization Benefits Cost-Savings on Hardware Faster Desktop and Server Provisioning and Deployment Improved Data Security and Disaster Recovery Increasing IT Operational Efficiency Small Footprint and Energy Saving Network Virtualization: The Path to Digital Transformation Business is at the center of digital transformation, but technology is needed to make it happen. Integrated clouds, highly modern data centers, digital workplaces, and increased data center security are all puzzle pieces, and putting them all together requires a variety of various products and services that are deployed cohesively. The cloud revolution is still having an influence on IT, transforming how digital content is consumed and delivered. This should come as no surprise that such a shift has influenced how we feel about current networking. When it boils down to it, the purpose of digital transformation for every company, irrespective of industry, is the same: to boost the speed with which you can respond to market changes and evolving business needs; to enhance your ability to embrace and adapt to new technology, and to improve overall security. As businesses realize that the underlying benefit of cloud adoption and enhanced virtualization isn't simply about cost savings, digital strategies are evolving, becoming more intelligent and successful in the process. Network virtualization is also a path toward the smooth digital transformation of any business. How does virtualization help in accelerating digital transformation? Combining public and private clouds, involving hardware-based computing, storage, and networking software definition. A hyper-converged infrastructure that integrates unified management with virtualized computing, storage, and networking could be included. Creating a platform for greater productivity by providing the apps and services consumers require when and when they utilize them. This should include simplifying application access and administration as well as unifying endpoint management. Improving network security and enhancing security flexibility to guarantee that quicker speed to market is matched by tighter security. Virtualization will also help businesses to move more quickly and safely, bringing products—and profits—to market faster. Enhancing Security with Network Virtualization Security has evolved as an essential component of every network architecture. However, since various areas of the network are often segregated from one another, it might be challenging for network teams to design and enforce network virtualization security standards that apply to the whole network. Zero trust can integrate such network parts and their accompanying virtualization activities. Throughout the network, the zero-trust architecture depends on the user and device authentication. If LAN users wish to access data center resources, they must first be authenticated. The secure connection required for endpoints to interact safely is provided by a zero-trust environment paired with network virtualization. To facilitate these interactions, virtual networks can be ramped up and down while retaining the appropriate degree of traffic segmentation. Access policies, which govern which devices can connect with one another, are a key part of this process. If a device is allowed to access a data center resource, the policy should be understood at both the WAN and campus levels. Some of the core network virtualization security features are: Isolation and multitenancy are critical features of network virtualization. Segmentation is related to isolation; however it is utilized in a multitier virtual network. A network virtualization platform's foundation includes firewalling technologies that enable segmentation inside virtual networks. Network virtualization enables automatic provisioning and context-sharing across virtual and physical security systems. Investigating the Role of Virtualization in Cloud Computing Virtualization in the cloud computing domain refers to the development of virtual resources (such as a virtual server, virtual storage device, virtual network switch, or even a virtual operating system) from a single resource of its type that also shows up as several personal isolated resources or environments that users can use as a separate individual physical resource. Virtualization enables the benefits of cloud computing, such as ease of scaling up, security, fluid or flexible resources, and so on. If another server is necessary, a virtual server will be immediately created, and a new server will be deployed. When we need more memory, we increase the virtual server configurations we currently have, and we now have the extra RAM we need. As a result, virtualization is the underlying technology of the cloud computing business model. The Benefits of Virtualization in Cloud Computing: Efficient hardware utilization Virtualization improves availability Disaster recovery is quick and simple Energy is saved by virtualization Setup is quick and simple Cloud migration has become simple Motivating Factors for the Adoption of Network Virtualization Demand for enterprise networks continues to climb, owing to rising end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business software. Thanks to network virtualization, IT companies are gaining the ability to respond to shifting demands and match their networking capabilities with their virtualized storage and computing resources. In fact, according to a recent SDxCentral report, 88% of respondents believe it is "important" or "mission critical" to implement a network virtualization software over the next two to five years. Virtualization is also an excellent alternative for businesses that employ outsourced IT services, are planning mergers or acquisitions or must segregate IT teams owing to regulatory compliance. Reasons to Adopt Network Virtualization: A Business Needs Speed Security Requirements Are Rising Apps can Move Around Micro-segmentation IT Automation and Orchestration Reduce Hardware Dependency and CapEx: Adopt Multi-Tenancy Cloud Disaster Recovery mproved Scalability Wrapping-Up Network virtualization and cloud computing are emerging technologies of the future. As CIOs get actively involved in organizational systems, these new concepts will be implemented in more businesses. As consumer demand for real-time services expands, businesses will be driven to explore network virtualization as the best way to take their networks to the next level. The networking future is here. FAQ Why is network virtualization important for business? By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and set the stage for future growth. Where is network virtualization used? Network virtualization can be utilized in application development and testing to simulate hardware and system software realistically. Network virtualization in application performance engineering allows for the modeling of connections among applications, services, dependencies, and end users for software testing. How does virtualization work in cloud computing? Virtualization, in short, enables cloud providers to provide users alongside existing physical computer infrastructure. As a simple and direct process, it allows cloud customers to buy only the computing resources they require when they want them and to maintain those resources cost-effectively as the demand grows.

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Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors

Metasploitable: A Platform for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Article | April 28, 2023

Contents 1. Overview 2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing 3. Metasploit Penetration Test 4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business? 5. Closing remarks 1. Overview Metasploitable refers to an intentionally vulnerable virtual machine that enables the learning and practice of Metasploit. Metasploit is one of the best penetration testing frameworks that helps businesses discover and shore up their systems' vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. Security engineers use Metasploit as a penetration testing system and a development platform that allows the creation of security tools and exploits. Metasploit's various user interfaces, libraries, tools, and modules allow users to configure an exploit module, pair it with a payload, point it at a target, and launch it at the target system. In addition, Metasploit's extensive database houses hundreds of exploits and several payload options. 2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing An ethical hacker is one who works within a security framework and checks for bugs that a malicious hacker might use to exploit networks. They use their experience and skills to render the cyber environment. To protect the infrastructure from the threat that hackers pose, ethical hacking is essential. The main purpose of an ethical hacking service is to report and assess the safety of the targeted systems and networks for the owner. Ethical hacking is performed with penetration test techniques to evaluate security loopholes. There are many techniques used to hack information, such as – Information gathering Vulnerability scanning Exploitation Test analysis Ethical hacking involves automatic methods. The hacking process without automated software is inefficient and time-consuming. There are several tools and methods that can be used for ethical hacking and penetration testing. The Metasploit framework eases the effort to exploit vulnerabilities in networks, operating systems, and applications and generates new exploits for new or unknown vulnerabilities. 3. Metasploit Penetration Test Reconnaissance: Integrate Metasploit with various reconnaissance tools to find the vulnerable spot in the system. Threat Modeling and Vulnerability Identification: Once a weakness is identified, choose an exploit and payload for penetration. Exploitation: The payload gets executed at the target if the exploit, a tool used to take advantage of system weakness, is successful, and the user gets a shell for interacting with the payload (a shellcode is a small piece of code used as the payload).The most popular payload, a set of malicious codes to attack Windows systems, is Meterpreter, an in-memory-only interactive shell. (Meterpreter is a Metasploit attack payload that provides an interactive shell for the attacker to explore the target machine and execute code.)Other payloads are: Static payloads (it enables port forwarding and communications between networks) Dynamic payloads (to evade antivirus software, it allows testers to generate unique payloads) Command shell payloads (enables users to run scripts or commands against a host) Post-Exploitation: Metasploit offers various exploitation tools for privilege escalation, packet sniffing, keyloggers, screen capture, and pivoting tools once on the target machine. Resolution and Re-Testing: Users set up a persistent backdoor if the target machine gets rebooted. These available features in Metasploit make it easy to configure as per the user's requirements. 4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business? Significant advantages of the Metasploit Framework are discussed below: Open-source: Metasploit Framework is actively developed as open-source software, so most companies prefer this to grow their businesses. Easy usage: It is very easy to use, defining an easy-naming conversation with the commands. This also facilitates the building of an extensive penetration test of the network. GUI Environment: It mainly provides third-party instances that are friendly. These interfaces ease the penetration testing projects by providing the facilities with services such as button clicks, over-the-fly vulnerability management, and easy-to-shift workspaces, among others. Cleaner Exits: Metasploit can cleanly exit without detection, even if the target system does not restart after a penetration test. Additionally, it offers various options for maintaining persistent access to the target system. Easy Switching Between Payloads: Metasploit allows testers to change payloads with the 'setpayload' command easily. It offers flexibility for system penetration through shell-based access or meterpreter. 5. Closing remarks From DevSecOps experts to hackers, everyone uses the Ruby-based open-source framework Metasploit, which allows testing via command-line alterations or GUI. Metasploitable is a vulnerable virtual machine ideally used for ethical hacking and penetration testing, in VM security. One trend likely to impact the future of Metasploitable is the increasing use of cloud-based environments for testing and production. It is possible that Metasploitable could be adapted to work in cloud environments or that new tools will be developed specifically for cloud-based penetration testing. Another trend that may impact the future of Metasploitable is the growing importance of automation in security testing. Thus, Metasploitable could be adapted to include more automation features. The future of Metasploitable looks bright as it continues to be a valuable tool for security professionals and enthusiasts. As the security landscape continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Metasploitable adapts to meet the community's changing needs.

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Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors

Virtual Machine Security Risks and Mitigation in Cloud Computing

Article | April 28, 2023

Analyzing risks and implementing advanced mitigation strategies: Safeguard critical data, fortify defenses, and stay ahead of emerging threats in the dynamic realm of virtual machines in cloud. Contents 1. Introduction 2. 10 Security Risks Associated with Virtual Machines in Cloud Computing 3. Best Practices to Avoid Security Compromise 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses operate by providing flexible, scalable, and cost-effective infrastructure for running applications and services. Virtual machines (VMs) are a key component of cloud computing, allowing multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical machine. However, the use of virtual machines in cloud computing introduces new security risks that need to be addressed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and services. Effective VM security in the cloud requires a comprehensive approach that involves cloud providers and users working together to identify and address potential virtual machine security threats. By implementing these best practices and maintaining a focus on security, cloud computing can provide a secure and reliable platform for businesses to run their applications and services. 2. 10 Security Risks Associated with Virtual Machines in Cloud Computing Denial of Service (DoS) attacks: These are attacks that aim to disrupt the availability of a VM or the entire cloud infrastructure by overwhelming the system with traffic or resource requests. Insecure APIs: Cloud providers often expose APIs that allow users to manage their VMs. If these APIs are not properly secured, attackers can exploit them to gain unauthorized access to VMs or manipulate their configurations. Data leakage: Virtual machines can store sensitive data such as customer information or intellectual property. If not secured, this data can be exposed to unauthorized access or leakage. Shared resources: VMs in cloud environments often share physical resources such as memory, CPU, and network interfaces. If these resources are not isolated, a compromised VM can potentially affect the security and performance of other VMs running on the same physical host. Lack of visibility: Virtual machines in cloud environments can be more difficult to monitor than physical machines. This can make it harder to detect security incidents or anomalous behavior. Insufficient logging and auditing: If cloud providers do not implement appropriate logging and auditing mechanisms, it can be difficult to determine the cause and scope of a security incident. VM escape: This is when an attacker gains access to the hypervisor layer and then escapes into the host operating system or other VMs running on the same physical host. Side-channel attacks: This is when an attacker exploits the physical characteristics of the hardware to gain unauthorized access to a VM. Examples of side-channel attacks include timing attacks, power analysis attacks, and electromagnetic attacks. Malware attacks: VMs can be infected with malware, just like physical machines. Malware can be used to steal data, launch attacks on other VMs or systems, or disrupt the functioning of the VM. Insider threats: Malicious insiders can exploit their access to VMs to steal data, modify configurations, or launch attacks. 3. Best Practices to Avoid Security Compromise To mitigate these risks, there are several virtual machine security guidelines that cloud service providers and users can follow: Keep software up-to-date: Regularly updating software and security patches for virtual machines is crucial in preventing known vulnerabilities from being exploited by hackers. Software updates fix bugs and security flaws that could allow unauthorized access, data breaches, or malware attacks. According to a study, 60% of data breaches are caused by vulnerabilities that were not patched or updated in a timely manner.(Source: Ponemon Institute) Use secure hypervisors: A hypervisor is a software layer that enables multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical server. Secure hypervisors are designed to prevent unauthorized access to virtual machines and protect them from potential security threats. When choosing a hypervisor, it is important to select one that has undergone rigorous testing and meets industry standards for security. In 2018, a group of researchers discovered a new type of attack called "Foreshadow" (also known as L1 Terminal Fault). The attack exploits vulnerabilities in Intel processors and can be used to steal sensitive data from virtual machines running on the same physical host. Secure hypervisors that have implemented hardware-based security features can provide protection against Foreshadow and similar attacks. (Source: Foreshadow) Implement strong access controls: Access control is the practice of restricting access to virtual machines to authorized users. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide more than one type of authentication method before accessing VMs. Strong access controls limit the risk of unauthorized access and can help prevent data breaches. According to a survey, organizations that implemented multi-factor authentication saw a 98% reduction in the risk of phishing-related account breaches. (Source: Duo Security) Monitor VMs for anomalous behavior: Monitoring virtual machines for unusual or unexpected behavior is an essential security practice. This includes monitoring network traffic, processes running on the VM, and other metrics that can help detect potential security incidents. By monitoring VMs, security teams can detect and respond to security threats before they can cause damage. A study found that 90% of organizations that implemented a virtualized environment experienced security benefits, such as improved visibility into security threats and faster incident response times. (Source: VMware) Use Encryption: Encryption is the process of encoding information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. Encrypting data both in transit and at rest protects it from interception or theft by hackers. This can be achieved using industry-standard encryption protocols and technologies. According to a report by, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million. The report also found that organizations that implemented encryption had a lower average cost of a data breach compared to those that did not (Source: IBM) Segregate VMs: Segregating virtual machines is the practice of keeping sensitive VMs separate from less sensitive ones. This reduces the risk of lateral movement, which is when a hacker gains access to one VM and uses it as a stepping stone to gain access to other VMs in the same environment. Segregating VMs helps to minimize the risk of data breaches and limit the potential impact of a security incident. A study found that organizations that implemented a virtualized environment without adequate segregation and access controls were more vulnerable to VM security breaches and data loss. (Source: Ponemon Institute) Regularly Back-up VMs: Regularly backing up virtual machines is a critical security practice that can help mitigate the impact of malware attacks, system failures, or other security incidents. Backups should be stored securely and tested regularly to ensure that they can be restored quickly in the event of a security incident. A survey conducted found that 42% of organizations experienced a data loss event in 2020 with the most common cause being accidental deletion by an employee (29%). (Source: Veeam) 4. Conclusion The complexity of cloud environments and the shared responsibility model for security require organizations to adopt a comprehensive security approach that spans multiple infrastructure layers, from the physical to the application layer. The future of virtual machine security concern in cloud computing will require continued innovation and adaptation to new threats and vulnerabilities. As a result, organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in their security efforts, leveraging the latest technologies and best practices to protect their virtual machines, the sensitive data and resources they contain.

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Spotlight

NCS Technology Limited

Since 1987, NCS Technology has provided robust data and network installations and AV solutions for a wide spectrum of clients across London, Kent and the Home Counties. We operate within commercial, education and public sectors, and make a point of getting to know our clients and their businesses so that we can recommend products and systems that suit their needs.

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Leostream Enhances Security and Management of vSphere Hybrid Cloud Deployments

Business Wire | January 29, 2024

Leostream Corporation, the world's leading Remote Desktop Access Platform provider, today announced features to enhance security, management, and end-user productivity in vSphere-based hybrid cloud environments. The Leostream platform strengthens end-user computing (EUC) capabilities for vSphere users, including secure access to both on-premises and cloud environments, heterogeneous support, and reduced cloud costs. With the Leostream platform as the single pane of glass managing EUC environments, any hosted desktop environment, including individual virtual desktops, multi-user sessions, hosted physical workstations or desktops, and hosted applications, becomes simpler to manage, more secure, more flexible, and more cost-effective. Significant ways the Leostream platform expands vSphere’s capabilities include: Security The Leostream platform ensures data remains locked in the corporate network, and works across on-premises and cloud environments, providing even disparate infrastructures with the same levels of security and command over authorization, control, and access tracking. The Leostream platform supports multi-factor authentication and allows organizations to enforce strict access control rules, creating an EUC environment modeled on a zero-trust architecture. Multivendor/protocol support The Leostream platform was developed from the ground up for heterogeneous infrastructures and as the connection management layer of the EUC environment, the Leostream platform allows organizations to leverage vSphere today and other hypervisors or hyperconvergence platforms in the future as their needs evolve. The Leostream platform supports the industry’s broadest array of remote display protocols, including specialized protocols for mission-critical tasks. Consistent EUC experience The Leostream platform enables IT to make changes to the underlying environment while ensuring the end user experience is constant, and to incorporate AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, or OpenStack private clouds into their environment without disruptions in end-user productivity. By integrating with corporate Identity Providers (IdPs) that employees are already familiar with, and providing employees with a single portal they use to sign in, the Leostream platform offers simplicity to users too. Connectivity The Leostream Gateway securely connects to on-prem and cloud resources without virtual private networks (VPNs), and eliminates the need to manage and maintain security groups. End users get the same seamless login and high-performance connection across hybrid environments including corporate resources located off the internet. Controlling cloud costs The Leostream Connection Broker implements automated rules that control capacity and power state in the cloud, allowing organizations to optimize their cloud usage and minimize costs, such as ensuring cloud instances aren’t left running when they are no longer needed. The Connection Broker also intelligently pools and shares resources across groups of users, so organizations can invest in fewer systems, reducing overall cost of ownership. “These features deliver a streamlined experience with vSphere and hybrid or multi-cloud resources so end users remain productive, and corporate data and applications remain secure,” said Leostream CEO Karen Gondoly. “At a time when there is uncertainty about the future of support for VMware’s end-user computing, it’s important to bring these options to the market to show that organizations can extend vSphere’s capabilities and simultaneously plan for the future without disruption to the workforce.” About Leostream Corporation Leostream Corporation, the global leader in Remote Desktop Access Platforms, offers comprehensive solutions that enable seamless work-from-anywhere environments for individuals across diverse industries, regardless of organization size or location. The core of the Leostream platform is its commitment to simplicity and insight. It is driven by a unified administrative console that streamlines the management of users, cloud desktops, and IT assets while providing real-time dashboards for informed decision-making. The company continually monitors the evolving remote desktop landscape, anticipating future trends and challenges. This purposeful, proactive approach keeps clients well-prepared for the dynamic changes in remote desktop technology.

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Virtualized Environments

VeriSilicon Unveils the New VC9800 IP for Next Generation Data Centers

Business Wire | January 09, 2024

VeriSilicon today unveiled its latest VC9800 series Video Processor Unit (VPU) IP with enhanced video processing performance to strengthen its presence in the data center applications. The newly launched series IP caters to the advanced requirements of next generation data centers including video transcoding servers, AI servers, virtual cloud desktops, and cloud gaming. The VC9800 series of VPU IP boasts high performance, high throughput, and server-level multi-stream encoding and decoding capabilities. It can handle up to 256 streams and support all mainstream video formats, including the new advanced format VVC. Through Rapid Look Ahead encoding, the VC9800 series IP improves video quality significantly with low memory footprint and encoding latency. With capable of supporting 8K encoding and decoding, it offers enhanced video post-processing and multi-channel encoding at various resolutions, thus achieves an efficient transcoding solution. The VC9800 series of VPU IP can seamlessly interface with Neural Network Processor (NPU) IP, enabling a complete AI-video pipeline. When combined with VeriSilicon’s Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) IP, the subsystem solution is able to deliver enhanced gaming experiences. In addition, the hardware virtualization, super resolution image enhancement, and AI-enabled encoding functions of this series IP also offer effective solutions for virtual cloud desktops. “VeriSilicon’s advanced video transcoding technology continues leading in Data Center domain. We are working closely with global leading customers to develop comprehensive video processing subsystem solutions to meet the requirements of the latest Data Centers,” said Wei-Jin Dai, Executive VP and GM of IP Division of VeriSilicon. “For AI computing, our video post-processing capabilities have been extended to smoothly interact with NPUs, ensuring OpenCV-level accuracy. We’ve also introduced super resolution technology to the video processing subsystem, elevating image quality and ultimately enhancing user experiences for cloud computing and smart display.” About VeriSilicon VeriSilicon is committed to providing customers with platform-based, all-around, one-stop custom silicon services and semiconductor IP licensing services leveraging its in-house semiconductor IP.

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Virtualized Environments

ARound and Immersal Team Up to Revolutionize Augmented Reality in Sports and Live Entertainment

PR Newswire | January 05, 2024

ARound, the pioneering shared augmented reality (AR) platform, part of Stagwell, is excited to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Immersal, leaders in spatial computing and AR localization technology, and part of Hexagon. By creating a turn-key WebAR solution for stadium AR, this partnership facilitates easier integration of shared AR experiences for teams, venues, and events, broadening the scope of interactive fan engagement. ARound and Immersal are poised to announce their inaugural collaboration with a major sports league next month, marking a significant milestone in bringing this innovative vision to life. This partnership combines ARound's connected, shared AR technology that has transformed live fan experiences for professional sports teams across three professional leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL – including the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Immersal's visual positioning system (VPS) that creates centimeter-accurate, large-scale indoor and outdoor AR experiences. "This partnership is a game-changer in the world of sports and live entertainment as we collaborate to make stadium AR experiences more accessible and ubiquitous to all fans and types of events," said Josh Beatty, founder and CEO, ARound. "By integrating our fan engagement platform with Immersal's robust localization technology, we can seamlessly create dynamic digital experiences that put fans at the center of the action while scaling to new audiences around the world." The integration of ARound and Immersal technologies yields greater access and broader use cases of AR experiences through WebAR, enhancing the overall quality and ease of integration for in-stadium entertainment. Fans can interact with live events in real-time, participating in AR games, accessing real-time game content, and enjoying shared experiences with fellow attendees, all from their smartphones without the need for a standalone app. Brands and sponsors will also now be able to connect with audiences in innovative, meaningful ways, enhancing their marketing mix and creating new avenues for engagement. "We're committed to innovating and enhancing AR experiences at live events and our technology, combined with ARound's exciting platform, will set a new benchmark in how fans interact with live sports and entertainment, offering them an engaging and memorable experience like never before," Matias Koski, CEO, Immersal. This groundbreaking partnership heralds a new era in fan engagement, offering sports teams, venues, and brands an unparalleled platform to connect with audiences. Combining ARound's interactive fan experiences with Immersal's precision technology, the stage is now set for a revolution in live entertainment. About ARound ARound is a first-of-its-kind stadium-level shared augmented reality platform and is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a proprietary suite of SaaS solutions built for the modern marketer. ARound keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention through immersive, interactive and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue. Where other AR products offer isolating, singular experiences, ARound's massive multi-user AR – which uses 3D spatial computing to localize content – redefines what it means to be part of a connected fan experience. It was the winner of Stagwell's annual innovation competition which invests in new product ideas proposed by the network's 13,000+ employees. ARound and the Stagwell Marketing Cloud are a part of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. About Immersal Immersal, part of Hexagon, is building world-leading spatial mapping and visual positioning tools — the foundation of the metaverse. Founded in 2015, Immersal's team is based in Helsinki, Finland, and working with partners, developers and creators across the globe to reimagine how we explore, interact and create. Immersal also has sales offices in Hong Kong and in Silicon Valley, California, and is expanding its presence and partner networks globally. The company was acquired by Hexagon in 2021 and continues to pursue the vision of a metaverse built and experienced by everyone on any device. Hexagon has approximately 24,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.2bn EUR.

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Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies

Leostream Enhances Security and Management of vSphere Hybrid Cloud Deployments

Business Wire | January 29, 2024

Leostream Corporation, the world's leading Remote Desktop Access Platform provider, today announced features to enhance security, management, and end-user productivity in vSphere-based hybrid cloud environments. The Leostream platform strengthens end-user computing (EUC) capabilities for vSphere users, including secure access to both on-premises and cloud environments, heterogeneous support, and reduced cloud costs. With the Leostream platform as the single pane of glass managing EUC environments, any hosted desktop environment, including individual virtual desktops, multi-user sessions, hosted physical workstations or desktops, and hosted applications, becomes simpler to manage, more secure, more flexible, and more cost-effective. Significant ways the Leostream platform expands vSphere’s capabilities include: Security The Leostream platform ensures data remains locked in the corporate network, and works across on-premises and cloud environments, providing even disparate infrastructures with the same levels of security and command over authorization, control, and access tracking. The Leostream platform supports multi-factor authentication and allows organizations to enforce strict access control rules, creating an EUC environment modeled on a zero-trust architecture. Multivendor/protocol support The Leostream platform was developed from the ground up for heterogeneous infrastructures and as the connection management layer of the EUC environment, the Leostream platform allows organizations to leverage vSphere today and other hypervisors or hyperconvergence platforms in the future as their needs evolve. The Leostream platform supports the industry’s broadest array of remote display protocols, including specialized protocols for mission-critical tasks. Consistent EUC experience The Leostream platform enables IT to make changes to the underlying environment while ensuring the end user experience is constant, and to incorporate AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, or OpenStack private clouds into their environment without disruptions in end-user productivity. By integrating with corporate Identity Providers (IdPs) that employees are already familiar with, and providing employees with a single portal they use to sign in, the Leostream platform offers simplicity to users too. Connectivity The Leostream Gateway securely connects to on-prem and cloud resources without virtual private networks (VPNs), and eliminates the need to manage and maintain security groups. End users get the same seamless login and high-performance connection across hybrid environments including corporate resources located off the internet. Controlling cloud costs The Leostream Connection Broker implements automated rules that control capacity and power state in the cloud, allowing organizations to optimize their cloud usage and minimize costs, such as ensuring cloud instances aren’t left running when they are no longer needed. The Connection Broker also intelligently pools and shares resources across groups of users, so organizations can invest in fewer systems, reducing overall cost of ownership. “These features deliver a streamlined experience with vSphere and hybrid or multi-cloud resources so end users remain productive, and corporate data and applications remain secure,” said Leostream CEO Karen Gondoly. “At a time when there is uncertainty about the future of support for VMware’s end-user computing, it’s important to bring these options to the market to show that organizations can extend vSphere’s capabilities and simultaneously plan for the future without disruption to the workforce.” About Leostream Corporation Leostream Corporation, the global leader in Remote Desktop Access Platforms, offers comprehensive solutions that enable seamless work-from-anywhere environments for individuals across diverse industries, regardless of organization size or location. The core of the Leostream platform is its commitment to simplicity and insight. It is driven by a unified administrative console that streamlines the management of users, cloud desktops, and IT assets while providing real-time dashboards for informed decision-making. The company continually monitors the evolving remote desktop landscape, anticipating future trends and challenges. This purposeful, proactive approach keeps clients well-prepared for the dynamic changes in remote desktop technology.

Read More

Virtualized Environments

VeriSilicon Unveils the New VC9800 IP for Next Generation Data Centers

Business Wire | January 09, 2024

VeriSilicon today unveiled its latest VC9800 series Video Processor Unit (VPU) IP with enhanced video processing performance to strengthen its presence in the data center applications. The newly launched series IP caters to the advanced requirements of next generation data centers including video transcoding servers, AI servers, virtual cloud desktops, and cloud gaming. The VC9800 series of VPU IP boasts high performance, high throughput, and server-level multi-stream encoding and decoding capabilities. It can handle up to 256 streams and support all mainstream video formats, including the new advanced format VVC. Through Rapid Look Ahead encoding, the VC9800 series IP improves video quality significantly with low memory footprint and encoding latency. With capable of supporting 8K encoding and decoding, it offers enhanced video post-processing and multi-channel encoding at various resolutions, thus achieves an efficient transcoding solution. The VC9800 series of VPU IP can seamlessly interface with Neural Network Processor (NPU) IP, enabling a complete AI-video pipeline. When combined with VeriSilicon’s Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) IP, the subsystem solution is able to deliver enhanced gaming experiences. In addition, the hardware virtualization, super resolution image enhancement, and AI-enabled encoding functions of this series IP also offer effective solutions for virtual cloud desktops. “VeriSilicon’s advanced video transcoding technology continues leading in Data Center domain. We are working closely with global leading customers to develop comprehensive video processing subsystem solutions to meet the requirements of the latest Data Centers,” said Wei-Jin Dai, Executive VP and GM of IP Division of VeriSilicon. “For AI computing, our video post-processing capabilities have been extended to smoothly interact with NPUs, ensuring OpenCV-level accuracy. We’ve also introduced super resolution technology to the video processing subsystem, elevating image quality and ultimately enhancing user experiences for cloud computing and smart display.” About VeriSilicon VeriSilicon is committed to providing customers with platform-based, all-around, one-stop custom silicon services and semiconductor IP licensing services leveraging its in-house semiconductor IP.

Read More

Virtualized Environments

ARound and Immersal Team Up to Revolutionize Augmented Reality in Sports and Live Entertainment

PR Newswire | January 05, 2024

ARound, the pioneering shared augmented reality (AR) platform, part of Stagwell, is excited to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Immersal, leaders in spatial computing and AR localization technology, and part of Hexagon. By creating a turn-key WebAR solution for stadium AR, this partnership facilitates easier integration of shared AR experiences for teams, venues, and events, broadening the scope of interactive fan engagement. ARound and Immersal are poised to announce their inaugural collaboration with a major sports league next month, marking a significant milestone in bringing this innovative vision to life. This partnership combines ARound's connected, shared AR technology that has transformed live fan experiences for professional sports teams across three professional leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL – including the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Immersal's visual positioning system (VPS) that creates centimeter-accurate, large-scale indoor and outdoor AR experiences. "This partnership is a game-changer in the world of sports and live entertainment as we collaborate to make stadium AR experiences more accessible and ubiquitous to all fans and types of events," said Josh Beatty, founder and CEO, ARound. "By integrating our fan engagement platform with Immersal's robust localization technology, we can seamlessly create dynamic digital experiences that put fans at the center of the action while scaling to new audiences around the world." The integration of ARound and Immersal technologies yields greater access and broader use cases of AR experiences through WebAR, enhancing the overall quality and ease of integration for in-stadium entertainment. Fans can interact with live events in real-time, participating in AR games, accessing real-time game content, and enjoying shared experiences with fellow attendees, all from their smartphones without the need for a standalone app. Brands and sponsors will also now be able to connect with audiences in innovative, meaningful ways, enhancing their marketing mix and creating new avenues for engagement. "We're committed to innovating and enhancing AR experiences at live events and our technology, combined with ARound's exciting platform, will set a new benchmark in how fans interact with live sports and entertainment, offering them an engaging and memorable experience like never before," Matias Koski, CEO, Immersal. This groundbreaking partnership heralds a new era in fan engagement, offering sports teams, venues, and brands an unparalleled platform to connect with audiences. Combining ARound's interactive fan experiences with Immersal's precision technology, the stage is now set for a revolution in live entertainment. About ARound ARound is a first-of-its-kind stadium-level shared augmented reality platform and is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a proprietary suite of SaaS solutions built for the modern marketer. ARound keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention through immersive, interactive and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue. Where other AR products offer isolating, singular experiences, ARound's massive multi-user AR – which uses 3D spatial computing to localize content – redefines what it means to be part of a connected fan experience. It was the winner of Stagwell's annual innovation competition which invests in new product ideas proposed by the network's 13,000+ employees. ARound and the Stagwell Marketing Cloud are a part of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. About Immersal Immersal, part of Hexagon, is building world-leading spatial mapping and visual positioning tools — the foundation of the metaverse. Founded in 2015, Immersal's team is based in Helsinki, Finland, and working with partners, developers and creators across the globe to reimagine how we explore, interact and create. Immersal also has sales offices in Hong Kong and in Silicon Valley, California, and is expanding its presence and partner networks globally. The company was acquired by Hexagon in 2021 and continues to pursue the vision of a metaverse built and experienced by everyone on any device. Hexagon has approximately 24,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.2bn EUR.

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