Cloud-based security: Is it for you?
By Sumit Bansal January 26, 2015
- As an SMB grows, needs evolve and certain aspects of its business will be prioritised
- Cloud-based security can help in different ways in different stages of growth
MANY small and medium businesses (SMBs) today face security challenges. These include not having the resources to manage their security, and tight budgets preventing them from investing.
The good news is, SMBs have options when it comes to security solutions on the market.
One such solution is cloud-based security, which has proliferated in recent years, as compared with traditionally used on-premises security solutions. In fact, Gartner expects the cloud-based security market to hit US$4.13 billion by 2017, its usage driven mostly by SMBs.
But is cloud-based security the right fit for your organisation? As an SMB grows, its needs evolve and it may prioritise certain aspects of its business over others.
These are the various growth stages of SMBs, the business concerns they face, and how a cloud-based solution can help:
Many startups do not have sufficient manpower and security resources to manage their security posture. This makes them vulnerable as startups are not immune to cyber-attacks.
A Ponemon Institute study commissioned by Sophos found that 87% of SMBs suffered cyber-attacks in 2012 and 31% of SMBs do not have one person in charge of making security decisions.
Yet startups often deal with sensitive data from their customers, as employees transmit data through emails, the cloud, and in between devices.
A cloud-based security solution can help startups, with its technical capabilities. To safeguard against threats, the adopted solution should have robust security features such as web security, web control, controlled access to corporate accounts, mobile control, and the ability to remotely lock and wipe devices.
The budget-conscious SMB
As an SMB grows, it may face cash flow pressures and prioritise maximising its budget. Within its IT department, the SMB incurs periodic maintenance cost to a security vendor.
It also faces the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware and servers if an SMB uses an on-premises solution.
A cloud-based solution can help reduce IT expenditures for SMBs, since it does not utilise any hardware or servers. There is no upfront cost should an SMB migrate to a cloud-based solution, and this enables SMBs to reduce their overall IT costs.
The fast-expanding SMB
SMBs that grow rapidly will have acquired more customers. They will have more employees, such as members of the sales team, working on-the-go and adopting the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend.
The rise of the mobile workforce means that it is more difficult to ensure the security of each roaming employee and the multitude of devices they own.
A cloud-based solution will be suitable for the swiftly growing SMB, as it ensures that each and every device and endpoint is well-protected.
Overall, this ensures that the SMB’s operations run smoothly while it focuses on business goals such as rapid expansion.
The mature SMB
Once an SMB is past the growth stage, with the right IT security people in place, its main concern shifts to managing employees and the company’s infrastructure.
Every vendor has different offerings when it comes to cloud security, and it is crucial to choose one that is sustainable and easy to use.
Some areas to consider include long-term viability, customisation of the solution, upgrade options, how to implement them, and what support is provided for the solution.
As long as the solution is easy to deploy, organisations will be able to enjoy cost savings and have better management and control of their IT security in the long term. Most importantly, the solution must be easy to manage, such as by managing the organisation’s security from a single console.
Overall, cloud-based solutions have the flexibility to cater to SMBs at their various stages of growth from being able to assist startups with their technical capabilities, to being user-friendly for mature organisations.
Sumit Bansal is director for Asean at UK-based cybersecurity specialist Sophos.
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