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Kaspersky to protect virtual machines running on VMware

New product designed to allow the IT department to manage the protection of virtual and physical endpoints with one console

Kaspersky Lab has launched Security for Virtualization, designed to centralize the protection of virtual machines running on VMware, the company said on Tuesday at the Cebit trade show.

There are two approaches to protecting operating systems and applications that run on VMware-based hosts: agent or agentless security software, according to Peter Beardmore, Kaspersky's senior director of product marketing.

Using the agent-based approach, for which Kaspersky also offers products, the security software is installed on each virtual machine. That works, but there are drawbacks, Beardmore said.

For example, a phenomenon called AV storm can occur when the antivirus software running on each virtual machine on a physical host wants to update its malware signature database at the same time, which in turn causes a drop in overall performance on the host.

Also, having software running on each virtual machine eats storage and memory capacity, and when a virtual machine comes back from being inactive there is a "window of opportunity" for hackers to strike before the software has been updated and the machine scanned, according to Beardmore.

Kaspersky's Security for Virtualization uses the agentless approach, which sidesteps those drawbacks by running one instance of the antivirus software to protect all the virtual machines on a host or in a cluster, according to Beardmore. The software, which runs on its own virtual machine, automatically detects, scans and protects every virtual machine.

The management is also centralized. Using Kaspersky Security Center, the IT department can manage the protection of virtual and physical endpoints, including smartphones, with one console.

Kaspersky Security for Virtualization will start shipping in the middle of April, but the company isn't ready to announce pricing, according to Beardmore.

"Beyond this year we are going to extend our coverage into other virtualized operating systems including Hyper-V and Citrix," said Beardmore.

In addition to expanding its reach in the virtual world, Kaspersky is also planning to expand its portfolio of products to the mobile device management market. A product for this market will be detailed during the second half of the third quarter and start shipping early in the fourth quarter, Beardmore said.

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