Securing Your Virtual Infrastructure

Between budget cuts and New Year’s resolutions, improving your security posture is probably near the top of your to-do list.  Much has been made of security concerns in a virtual environment, but it is always good to re-visit your configurations and make sure they are still on par with recommended best practices.  I began re-reviewing VI security best practices after reading at post by Bob Plankers at The Lone SysAdmin (Bob has been on my reading list for years – he has a great style and always brings fresh insights) on why you would want a second super-user account on your ESX servers.

We certainly all have our own opinions and operations procedures when it comes to configuring and hardening our environments, but I decided to take a look at what the experts had to say on this particular subject and other basic build and hardening recommendations.  Here is what I found:

VMware Security Resources

VMware Security Utilities

VI3.5 Security Hardening Whitepaper

Defense Informaion Systems Agency (DISA) ESX Server Security Technical Implementation Guide

DISA ESX Server Checklist

As a side note, DISA publishes many STIG’s at http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/.  Your tax dollars paid for these, so you might as well check them out.

NSA VMware ESX  Server 3 Configuration Guide

There are also numerous tips and scripts for locking down your virtual infrastructure in the VMware Community Forums (Start here: http://communities.vmware.com/message/941372).

So back to the question of second super user accounts: It seems that best practices are to create a second user account with sufficient access to the console, granting that user SUDO privledges, and then disabling the default root account.

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