A virtual machine is, in most respects, the equivalent of a physical server. Employ the same security measures in virtual machines that you do for physical systems.

Follow these best practices to protect your virtual machine:

Patches and other protection

Keep all security measures up-to-date, including applying appropriate patches. It is especially important to keep track of updates for dormant virtual machines that are powered off, because it can be easy to overlook them. For example, ensure that anti-virus software, anti-spy ware, intrusion detection, and other protection are enabled for every virtual machine in your virtual infrastructure. You should also ensure that you have enough space for the virtual machine logs.

Anti-virus scans

Because each virtual machine hosts a standard operating system, you must protect it from viruses by installing anti-virus software. Depending on how you are using the virtual machine, you might also want to install a software firewall.

Stagger the schedule for virus scans, particularly in deployments with a large number of virtual machines. Performance of systems in your environment degrades significantly if you scan all virtual machines simultaneously. Because software firewalls and antivirus software can be virtualization-intensive, you can balance the need for these two security measures against virtual machine performance, especially if you are confident that your virtual machines are in a fully trusted environment.

Serial ports

Serial ports are interfaces for connecting peripherals to the virtual machine. They are often used on physical systems to provide a direct, low-level connection to the console of a server, and a virtual serial port allows for the same access to a virtual machine. Serial ports allow for low-level access, which often does not have strong controls like logging or privileges.