Well-Architected Design: Security Overview


VMware Cloud is a suite of cloud-based services and solutions provided by VMware, a leading provider of virtualization and cloud computing software. VMware Cloud offers a range of cloud infrastructure and management solutions, including compute, storage, networking, and security services. Security is a critical aspect of VMware Cloud, and VMware provides a range of tools and capabilities to help customers secure their cloud environments. VMware Cloud Security focuses on protecting cloud-based workloads, applications, and data from cyber threats and other security risks. Some of the key security features and capabilities provided by VMware Cloud Security include:

Identity and Access Management: VMware Cloud Security provides identity and access management capabilities, including single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and role-based access control (RBAC).

Network Security: VMware Cloud Security provides network security capabilities, including virtual firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, and network segmentation.

Encryption and Key Management: VMware Cloud Security provides encryption and key management capabilities, including data-at-rest encryption, encryption for data in transit, and key management for encryption keys.

Threat Detection and Response: VMware Cloud Security provides threat detection and response capabilities, including security analytics, threat intelligence, and incident response.

Compliance and Auditing: VMware Cloud Security provides compliance and auditing capabilities, including support for regulatory frameworks such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR, and auditing capabilities to track and report on security-related events.

By leveraging these security features and capabilities, organizations can better protect their cloud-based workloads, applications, and data. VMware Cloud Security also provides a range of tools and best practices to help customers ensure that their cloud environments are configured and managed in a secure and compliant manner.

Security Concepts

Security is the practice of protecting assets, including people, information, and physical property, from threats such as theft, damage, or unauthorized access. Security concepts are the fundamental principles and practices that form the foundation of a comprehensive security strategy.

The following are some key security concepts that should be understood when designing and operating any IT Infrastructure:

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is the principle of protecting sensitive information from unauthorized disclosure. This includes data such as financial information, personal information, and intellectual property.

Integrity: Integrity is the principle of maintaining the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life cycle. This includes ensuring that data is not modified or corrupted in transit or at rest.

Availability: Availability is the principle of ensuring that authorized users have access to the resources they need, whenever they need them. This includes ensuring that systems are up and running, and that data and applications are available.

Authentication: Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or device. This includes using passwords, biometric data, or other methods to confirm that a user is who they claim to be.

Authorization: Authorization is the process of determining what actions a user or device is allowed to take. This includes granting access to resources based on the user's role, level of clearance, or other factors.

Risk Management: Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks to an organization's assets. This includes identifying potential threats, assessing their impact, and implementing controls to mitigate the risk.

Incident Response: Incident response is the process of responding to security incidents, including identifying and containing the incident, investigating the cause, and taking steps to prevent future incidents.

Scope of the Document

This document is limited to detailing features encompassing IAM, Network Security, and Workload Security.

Intended Audience

This information is intended for VMware Cloud architects, administrators, and users who want to understand VMware Cloud Security and approaches used to implement security in the cloud

Shared Responsibility Model

VMware shared responsibility is a security model that defines the security responsibilities of both VMware and its customers in a shared IT environment. The shared responsibility model helps to clarify the responsibilities of each party and ensure that security risks are addressed appropriately.

In the shared responsibility model, VMware is responsible for the security of the cloud infrastructure, including the underlying hardware, storage, and networking infrastructure. VMware is also responsible for maintaining the security of the hypervisor and other virtualization components.

Customers are responsible for securing their virtual machines, operating systems, applications, and data that run on the cloud infrastructure. Customers must ensure that their applications and data are protected against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats. Customers are also responsible for ensuring that they comply with industry regulations and standards.

The shared responsibility model is important because it ensures that both VMware and its customers understand their roles and responsibilities in securing the IT environment. By working together, VMware and its customers can ensure that the cloud infrastructure and applications are secure, compliant, and protected against potential threats.

For more details, please refer to the VMware Shared Responsibility Overview.

Understanding of VMware Cloud Security Features

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Identity and Access Management (IAM): IAM is a critical aspect of VMware Cloud Security. VMware provides a range of IAM capabilities that can be used to secure access to cloud-based workloads, applications, and data.\

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Some of the key IAM capabilities provided by VMware Cloud Security include:



Single Sign-On (SSO)

VMware Cloud Security includes a SSO solution that allows users to access cloud-based applications and services with a single set of credentials. This simplifies access management and improves security by reducing the need for multiple usernames and passwords.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

VMware Cloud Security provides MFA capabilities that can be used to add an extra layer of security to cloud-based applications and services. MFA requires users to provide additional authentication factors, such as a one-time password or biometric data, in addition to their username and password.

Role-Based Access Control(RBAC)

VMware Cloud Security includes RBAC capabilities that can be used to control access to cloud-based resources based on user roles and responsibilities. RBAC allows organizations to assign specific permissions and privileges to users based on their job functions, which can help reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

Identity Federation

VMware Cloud Security includes identity federation capabilities that can be used to allow users to access cloud-based resources using their existing corporate credentials. This simplifies access management and improves security by reducing the need for additional usernames and passwords.

Identity Lifecycle Management

VMware Cloud Security provides capabilities for managing the lifecycle of user identities, including provisioning, de-provisioning, and revocation. These capabilities ensure that user access is granted and revoked in a timely and consistent manner, which can help reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

By leveraging these IAM capabilities, organizations can provide secure access to cloud-based workloads, applications, and data, while also simplifying access management and improving operational efficiency. VMware Cloud Security provides a range of tools and best practices to help organizations implement IAM in a secure and compliant manner.

Network Security

VMware Cloud Network Security refers to the set of security measures and controls implemented to secure the network infrastructure of cloud environments, specifically those running on the VMware platform. The network is a crucial component of cloud security, as it provides the communication pathways that enable workloads and applications to function. By implementing strong network security measures, organizations can prevent unauthorized access, detect and respond to threats, and maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and resources.

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Some of the key components of VMware Cloud Network Security include:




Micro-segmentation is a network security technique that involves dividing the network into smaller, more granular segments and applying security policies to each segment. This helps to limit lateral movement within the network and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive resources.

Network Security Groups (NSGs

NSGs are a set of policies and rules that control network traffic between virtual machines (VMs) and subnets within a cloud environment. NSGs can be used to restrict traffic based on source and destination IP addresses, ports, and protocols.

Distributed Firewall

VMware's Distributed Firewall is a firewall solution that provides granular control over network traffic within a cloud environment. It is distributed across the entire network infrastructure, allowing security policies to be applied to each individual workload or application.


A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure communication channel that allows users to connect to a private network over the Internet. VMware Cloud Network Security includes a range of VPN solutions that enable secure remote access to cloud environments.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)

IDPS are security solutions that monitor network traffic for signs of suspicious activity and respond to threats in real-time. VMware Cloud Network Security includes IDPS solutions that can help organizations detect and respond to threats quickly and efficiently.

Largely, VMware Cloud Network Security provides a comprehensive set of tools and capabilities for securing the network infrastructure of cloud environments. By implementing these solutions, organizations can reduce the risk of network-based attacks, prevent data breaches, and maintain the security and compliance of their cloud environments. For more detail, please refer to the VMware Well-Architected Design documentation for various network security designs.

Workload Security

VMware Cloud Workload Security is a suite of security solutions designed to protect workloads running on VMware-based cloud infrastructure. The goal of VMware Cloud Workload Security is to provide a comprehensive security framework that can protect workloads from a range of threats, including malware, viruses, and unauthorized access.

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Workload Security leverages most of the feature sets defined by Identity and Access Management and Network Security along with some advance features such as:



Data Encryption

Encryption is an important component of data security, as it can protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data at rest and in transit. VMware Cloud Data Security includes encryption solutions that can be used to encrypt data at the VM or application level.

Ransomware Recovery

VMware Ransomware recovery is a set of solutions and practices designed to help organizations recover from ransomware attacks in cloud environments. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data and demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. Ransomware attacks can cause significant damage to organizations, including data loss, business disruption, and financial loss.

Data Protection

Data protection solutions are critical for protecting sensitive data from loss, corruption, and theft. VMware Cloud Data Protection solutions provide a comprehensive set of tools for backing up and restoring data in cloud environments, including virtual machines, applications, and data.

Compliance Management

Compliance management solutions are critical for ensuring that cloud environments comply with industry regulations and standards, such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR. VMware Cloud Compliance Management solutions provide a range of tools for monitoring and managing compliance in cloud environments, including security assessments, audit logs, and compliance reporting.

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