BeyondTrust

Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

Welcome to Security in Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Vulnerability Scanning From a Virtual Machine

Posted March 30, 2011    Morey Haber

Virtualization offers a wide array of benefits from power and environmental constraints to physical space limitations and disaster recovery efforts.  As leaders  for Unified Vulnerability Management, we realize these benefits offer a significant value  to our install base and we are in full support of virtualization for our solutions.

Although virtualization is in many ways identical to running on physical hardware from a software perspective, there are certain caveats that are unique to a connection sensitive application such as a vulnerability assessment scanner. Having an extremely diverse customer base including some of the largest deployments of vulnerability assessment, Retina has had a significant amount of  in various  environments and the challenges that can go along with them.

As virtualized environments and configurations vary widely, we can provide some guidance for scanning from these environments and anomalies you may encounter. Regardless of the scanning solution, best practice guides, minimum prerequisites, and user documentation should be adhered to during the installation of the products. eEye has developed a set of recommendations that will optimize the solution in a virtual environment and minimize any potential run times errors or scan anomalies:

Dedicated Network Interface Cards

Retina should have a dedicated physical NIC for its scanning jobs since UDP packets by nature can be dropped during high utilization from another application sharing the NIC. It is our experience that highly utilized virtualized systems favor established TCP connections over half-open or SYN only connections as well. This can have an undesirable effect on scan results too.

MS SQL Database

MS SQL should not be virtualized unless database considerations are taken for virtualization and best practices implemented per the virtualization vendor. MS SQL server requires a significant amount of resources to function correctly. In our experience we have seen a few cases where the management components, and especially MS SQL instances, have been given far inadequate amounts of resources. This always results in poor performance.  Disk speed and utilization is also a contributor to performance. MS SQL is by nature disk intensive and performs best when delivered by a RAID array or SAN solution.  Bottom line, virtualization of a machine does not change the resources required for it to function properly. Under powering SQL or management components can have a drastic impact on performance and user experience.

Dedicated Virtual Machines

Virtual machines for scanning and management components should not be shared with other applications. The Retina Network Security Scanner, Retina CS, and MS SQL are all enterprise ready solutions. Enterprise class software is optimally designed to run on enterprise class hardware. Shared resources generally lead to overburdened machines and again poor performance and user experience.

Industrial Virtualization Suites

There are many options when selecting a virtualization suite. We do not recommend one particular suite over another but do recommend choosing an industrial grade, server level, solution with commercial support and maintenance.  VMWare ESX, Parallels, Xen, and MS Virtual Serverare all acceptable technologies. Using workstation or other non-industrial virtualization technology is not recommended.

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

Restricted Area Sign

Implementing Least Privilege for Windows the Easy Way

Posted July 31, 2014    Morey Haber

The concept of least privilege states that asset users should have the lowest level of access privileges required to effectively conduct their jobs. Implementing least privilege can bring several benefits to your organization, including: Increased security by reducing the attack surface available to users and to potential attackers who compromise user systems via phishing, malware,…

Tags:
, , ,
gartner market guide image - aug 2014

Introducing the Gartner Market Guide for Privileged Account Management

Posted July 29, 2014    Chris Burd

Gartner recently released a new Market Guide for Privileged Account Management (PAM), and we’d like to share a complimentary copy with you. The report includes PAM market analysis and direction, vendor overviews, and recommendations for selecting PAM solutions for your environment. BeyondTrust is one of two representative vendors (out of 20) to address all solution…

Tags:
, , , , , , , ,
Integrating Least Privilege and Password Management to Solve Account Security Challenges

Integrating Least Privilege and Password Management to Solve Account Security Challenges

Posted July 24, 2014    Morey Haber

There is a reason all BeyondTrust Privileged Account Management (PAM) solutions share the PowerBroker name: They all inherently enable you to reduce user-based risk and can be integrated under a centralized IT risk management platform. Here’s one common use case that demonstrates how this integration changes the playing field. Consider the challenge of privileged access:…

Tags:
, , , , ,