April 9, 2014 By Vikash Abraham 2 min read

Optimum Cloud Security: Traffic Flowing between vSwitches Requires Monitoring

The cloud has been a major talking point for a couple of years now, and cloud security has become interesting material for gossip. We don’t need to dwell on the advantages of a cloud because we are all adept at the topic; however, the security aspect still remains something of a mystery.

It is often effective to deploy traditional security philosophies to new environments, and one of the “good” words we want more of in security is “visibility.” Whether by utilizing satellites to review national borders or installing video cameras in ATM kiosks, the idea is to have an “eye” watching over it all — with intelligence — to identify threats and mitigate them in time. A hacker focuses on finding the blind spots of the eye or disabling the eye itself.

The Blind Spot

Virtualization is one of the main components of the cloud. A virtual environment provides flexibility, allows optimization of the workloads running in the cloud and provides an essential benefit by detaching this workload from the underlying hardware. Virtualization can also be viewed as having invisible, miniature data centers that include virtual switches (vSwitches) and traffic that flows between these vSwitches. Being invisible to the physical eye, virtualization is a frequently ignored area within the cloud. Physical networks are monitored and have network protection solutions inspecting traffic; however, the traffic between vSwitches goes invisible, making it a sweet spot for hackers.

Why Is It a Risk?

In cloud environments, workloads and virtual machines (VMs) are working continuously to achieve optimal utilization or performance. This also means that infected workloads or VMs could be circulating. Therefore, logical network segmentation and security setting become imperative for cloud security. If one infected VM is communicating with another VM over the virtual layer, physical network protection solutions are not monitoring these communications and are consequently unable to disrupt the threats embedded within them. With the advanced persistent threat approach, attackers watch and wait for such opportunities.

How Do You Address It?

The answer is straightforward: Deploy that much-required visibility to monitor inter-vSwitch traffic as you would with other network traffic. There are different approaches to achieve this, one being to route inter-VM traffic through the physical network protection appliance already available on your network. This could be a tedious process, however, and could lead to a few performance concerns. A much more effective way of managing this would be to use a virtual appliance that sits on the virtual layer and is able to monitor and prevent threats within inter-vSwitch traffic and to provide logical network segmentation security settings.

More from Cloud Security

What is data security posture management?

3 min read - Do you know where all your organization’s data resides across your hybrid cloud environment? Is it appropriately protected? How sure are you? 30%? 50%? It may not be enough. The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 revealed that 82% of breaches involved data in the cloud, and 39% of breached data was stored across multiple types of environments. If you have any doubt, your enterprise should consider acquiring a data security posture management (DSPM) solution. With the global average…

Endpoint security in the cloud: What you need to know

9 min read - Cloud security is a buzzword in the world of technology these days — but not without good reason. Endpoint security is now one of the major concerns for businesses across the world. With ever-increasing incidents of data thefts and security breaches, it has become essential for companies to use efficient endpoint security for all their endpoints to prevent any loss of data. Security breaches can lead to billions of dollars worth of loss, not to mention the negative press in…

The importance of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) when Securing cloud environments

4 min read - According to the 2023 Thales Data Threat Report, 55% of organizations experiencing a data breach have reported “human error” as the primary cause. This is further compounded by organizations now facing attacks from increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals with a wide range of automated tools. As organizations move more of their operations to the cloud, they must also become increasingly aware of the security risks and threats that come with it. It’s not enough anymore to simply have a set of…

How I got started: Cloud security engineer

3 min read - In today’s increasingly cloud-focused business environment, cloud security engineers are pivotal in protecting an organization’s critical data and infrastructure. As experts in cloud security, they leverage their expertise to ensure that the ever-expanding amount of cloud data is safe from emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Cloud security professionals combine their passion for technology with a deep understanding of security principles to design and implement robust cloud security strategies. What experience do these security experts have, and what led them to the…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today