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12/11/2008
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Free Software To Protect Virtual Machines In The Cloud: Third Brigade VMware Protection

There are some ways to effectively begin securing your information in the cloud. We've recently been pondering whether or not one can prove compliance with security and privacy regulations in the cloud. Luckily, while cloud services still may not be right for handling health or payment card information, security vendors and cloud service providers are beginning to offer ways to effectively secure your cloud-based computing resources and satisfy some compliance requirements.

There are some ways to effectively begin securing your information in the cloud. We've recently been pondering whether or not one can prove compliance with security and privacy regulations in the cloud. Luckily, while cloud services still may not be right for handling health or payment card information, security vendors and cloud service providers are beginning to offer ways to effectively secure your cloud-based computing resources and satisfy some compliance requirements.Last week, Third Brigade announced the availability of Third Brigade VM Protection, a free software package for organizations to achieve protection and compliance for VMware virtual machines deployed in a private or public cloud.

When an organization chooses to operate in the cloud, data is located outside of the perimeter, which should come as no surprise. "The big difference is that your perimeter isn't helping anymore," said Bill McGee, VP of products and services for Third Brigade. While you still can't implement security on the underlying infrastructure, you can add security measures on the top level. "There's no difference by definition between a physical, virtual, and cloud server. Management and deployment of the technology is the same. But from the point of view of how you're protecting it, the difference is around location and what perimeter is in place."

Third Brigade's enterprise product Deep Security 6 adds a firewall and IDS/IPS protection onto each virtual machine. It also offers integrity monitoring and log inspection capabilities. While you may not have all of the log files to hand over to your auditor, you at least have logs of what is happening on the VM if not on the hypervisor or physical server level. For instance, if only one of your servers contains personally identifiable information, you can segment the firewall functionally to limit it to the VM that needs to comply with regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Since security is operating on each instance, you can customize which security tools you want to place on each VM.

Currently the enterprise product is made for Amazon EC2 that uses the Xen hypervisor, but Third Brigade is working with VMware to offer Third Brigade VMware Protection. The free software will work with any cloud service provider that uses VMware and will also work on your private network. "The VMware vCloud Initiative brings together enterprises, more than 100 service providers worldwide and industry innovators like Third Brigade to deliver enterprise-class cloud computing," said Wendy Perilli, director of product marketing at VMware. "Whether businesses want to expand their IT infrastructures into internal private clouds or leverage off-premise compute clouds, combining the VMware platform with partner security solutions like those offered by Third Brigade gives them the flexibility and comfort to deliver business-critical applications when and where they want, while enhancing IT agility and security."

Third Brigade VM Protection is available for free for up to 100 virtual machines and can be downloaded at cloudreadysecurity.com. Visit vmware.com/security/resources/thirdbrigade.html for additional information. For Third Brigade's enterprise product Deep Security 6, visit thirdbrigade.com.

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