Is virtualization a security risk? The CIO verdict

Last updated: 21 March 2014

As part of our recent look at CIOs’ views on all things security, we asked the world’s IT leaders for their views on virtualization.

As one of the most successful technologies of recent years, virtualization was simply too big a subject to ignore. It is commonly accepted that virtualization brings with it some element of risk, but the extent of the threat is a bone of contention: and so it proved with our CIO respondents.

Here’s a handful of the most interesting findings:

  • Over 90% of the respondents said that they were employing some form of virtualization, and this increased to 96% in large organisations of over 500 employees
  • Server virtualization was most common, with 78% of organisations using it
  • Not all were convinced by its effectiveness: less than half said that their virtualization strategy was either ‘very successful’ or ‘extremely successful’
  • They were more convinced by the security of their virtualization policies, with only 11% believing that their efforts were leading to a high or very high risk to the business, although this perceived risk was almost double in the US, at 21%
  • More than half believed there was little to no risk caused by virtualization

Despite this, and encouragingly, the perceived safety of virtualization has not made CIOs complacent about future initiatives in this area. Just 15% of those questioned said that they would accept an increased level of risk in return for enabling mobility and/or virtualization within their business.

It is encouraging to see that, despite the current hype around these kinds of emerging technologies, CIOs remain committed to maintaining high levels of security. Yet, with new innovations constantly entering the market, it is essential that IT leaders keep track of the threats posed by new technology, whether virtualization, the cloud, or indeed the next big thing on the horizon.

To read the full findings of our research, you can download the full whitepaper (free of charge, of course) here.  Let us know if you agree with our results or if you are seeing different attitudes.