McAfee announced the results of a commissioned study conducted by Network World on behalf of McAfee and Brocade. The study, which surveyed 100 IT professionals and security decision makers in North American companies with 500 or more employees, found that IT departments are now turning to virtualization, with half of the respondents having either implemented or are planning to deploy private clouds.
Yet, as organizations continue to progress down the path of implementing virtualization and cloud computing, they are facing inherent challenges that arise when applications are decoupled from the physical resources they rely on, introducing new obstacles such as traffic bottlenecks, inconsistent network policies and security loopholes.
The survey shows that 62% of respondents are planning or engaged in data center upgrades, many due to increased use of virtualization. Additionally, 29% of the respondents report that scaling server virtualization is a concern and 32% report that bandwidth and traffic engineering are pressing issues. The results show that virtualization comes at a cost and that traditional networking architectures are not always best-suited to handle the demands of a virtualized environment. Application security can fail when subjected to data center-wide server virtualization and application mobility.
Respondents view targeted attacks and security breaches as the biggest threats to the next-generation data center. When asked to rate security challenges, 77% rate threat protection (i.e., intrusion prevention) as "critical" or "important." 26% view targeted attacks as their biggest concerns and 24% think security breaches are their biggest concerns. However, although half are relying on the same security model for virtualization they used with physical servers, 18% have not decided this is the best approach when securing virtual servers.
In the survey, 40% of respondents said that moving virtual machines is challenging because it introduces operational complexity and 25% indicated a concern with securing trust boundaries.