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Cloud-based security: Is it for you?

Sumit Bansal, director for ASEAN at Sophos | Jan. 15, 2015
The article illustrates four key growth stages of SMBs, the different business needs faced such as the lack of IT manpower, budget constraints and the rise of a mobile workforce and how SMBs can tackle these security challenges.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Many small and midsized 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 to traditionally used on-premise 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:

The start-up

Many start-ups do not have sufficient manpower and security resources to manage their security posture. This makes them vulnerable as start-ups are not immune to cyber attacks. A Ponemon Institute study commissioned by Sophos found that 87 per cent of SMBs suffered cyber attacks in 2012 and 31 percent of SMBs do not have one person in charge of making security decisions. Yet start-ups 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 start-ups, 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-premise 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 are well-protected. Overall, this ensures that the SMB's operations run smoothly while it focuses on business goals such as rapid expansion.

 

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