There’s a lot of talk about cloud security be it (1) security for the cloud, which protects your cloud initiatives such as data stored in the cloud or (2) security from the cloud, also known as security-as-a-service (SecaaS), which uses the cloud to deliver some aspect of protection, like messaging, anti-virus or web security. Though proven and effective, many SMBs overlook SecaaS because the cloud still feels like an unknown for many, and we naturally fear what we don’t understand.
Today, SMBs can’t afford to be dismissive when it comes to security. The harsh reality is SMBs have never been targeted with attacks like they are now. In the first half of 2012, 36 percent of all targeted attacks were aimed their way. Cloud-hosted security makes threat protection easier, faster and more manageable for SMBs. These services can detect new malware very quickly and effectively reduce the gap between when malware is available and the security software has been updated with the latest definitions. It allows SMBs to defend against today’s threats in real-time by leveraging the latest threat intelligence in the cloud, which is critical to thwarting targeted attacks.
Advantages of Security-as-a-Service
What many SMB IT professionals fail to recognize is that moving security to the cloud is more than just a cheaper way to tackle a necessary expense. It takes just minutes for a virus or targeted attack to destroy a business, but with cloud-hosted security SMBs can quickly and effortlessly protect their business – these solutions are easy to install and easier to manage. Most security issues occur because systems haven’t been patched and aren’t properly configured. By using cloud-hosted security, everything happens seamlessly over the Web and updates take place automatically, so SMBs know they’re always protected against the latest viruses or malware.
Of course, the cost savings of moving security to the cloud should not be overlooked. Without the need for special hardware or servers, there are lower upfront costs. Fewer IT resources are needed to deploy software and clean infections, and less IT time is spent on updating. This frees up IT time to focus on strategic initiatives and worry less about security, their time is used more efficiently. This infographic nicely sums up the advantages of cloud-hosted security.
Secure businesses poised for growth
With cloud-hosted security, protection also can easily stay in step as the business grows. In fact, it can drive business growth.
For many small businesses, growth is largely based on landing contracts with larger corporations. Changes in the threat landscape have made that harder to obtain for SMBs that do not have their security house in order. We’re seeing an alarming trend where the small business increasingly is not the final target of an attack – it’s just a stepping stone. The bad guys are sneaking in the back door, through their small business partners, to infiltrate bigger corporate targets. Consequently, we’re seeing large companies implement major policies surrounding the security of potential small business partners.
Cloud-hosted security makes it that much easier for SMBs to acquire and manage the protection they need to seize on the growth opportunities of a large corporate contract. SMBs who can illustrate they have proper security in place can leverage it in the selling process to get additional business.
What to look for in a cloud-hosted security solution
The biggest issue SMBs face when making information protection decisions is finding simple solutions that are built for SMBs, rather than feature-sparse version of enterprise products. Typically, cloud-based solutions are inherently simpler for SMBs to deploy, but they still need to do their homework.
Consider these tips when evaluating cloud-hosted security solutions:
- Manageability. Is the management console simple, intuitive, and easy for admins to use with little training? Can the solution be managed alongside other information protection products like backup?
- Reputation. How is the service provider’s reputation and how long they have been offering cloud services? This should trump size. Look for a cloud provider with reputable technology built for SMBs that knows the industry inside out.
- Service. With cloud-based solutions the best way to ensure good service is to negotiate a favorable SLA that will ensure the most up-to-date protection. SMBs should look for vendors who publish their performance and who have clear financial penalties for underperformance.
- Cloud-ready when you are. Lastly, for small businesses that don’t want cloud just yet, look for on-premise security solutions that also have a cloud-hosted option that you can easily switch to when you’re ready to move to the cloud.
Learn more about cloud-hosted solutions at http://bit.ly/UhKWI7.