With the advent of Cloud Computing, one thing that is worrying the Small and Medium businesses is the issue of security. The SMBs fear the loss of security and data privacy in the cloud. The long debated battle can only be subjudice once they use the cloud and find that they are in a more secure and private environment than they were on their premises. Cloud computing has definitely had significant impact on the way we compute at home and in business.
The reach of internet has opened markets and new opportunities for SMBs. This has leveled the playing field and brought possibilities of competing with large enterprises. Until now these advantages did not extend to the challenges of growing variety and number of security threats in SMBs. Before cloud, SMBs were adopting point products such as email security, network security, desktop and server, antivirus, anti-spyware, web security appliances, data loss prevention software which were expensive to deploy and manage. Also these applications add unnecessary complexity in SMB IT infrastructure.
Vikram Jain, Sr. Principal, Technology Consulting, Advaiya informs, “With cloud based services SMBs are adopting these services from cloud in the form of a service or part of bundled product – like with cloud based email service, anti-virus and anti-spam are bundled. Also many IT providers are offering SMB focused products which are easy to deploy, manage and are inexpensive in comparison to traditional security appliances or software.”
Rohit Shrivastava, Founder Director, ClubHack Lab shares, “Varied sections of cloud are being used by SMBs today. They generally tend to go for public cloud, online but as a consultant I personally advise SMBs to have a private cloud inside their own network that give the flexibility of having the cloud, features of cloud and still having it in house so that they feel comfortable. We consult companies to set up a private cloud and these private clouds can leverage all the features of a cloud and still give them the freedom that data is inside the company and are not scared of that.”
“SMBs are skeptical using the cloud because there is lot of data present in the cloud and the fact is you do not know which city, server the data is laying. That is the biggest scare that people have today. One of the thing people have adopted now to have a private cloud and is safe and secure. But the features are limited to certain extent in private cloud,” he adds.
Contradicting all the fears of adopting cloud among the SMB, Sumedh Thakar, Development Manager, PCI Solutions, Qualys, feels, “SMBs are adopting the technology at a very high rate that might be wireless card readers, mobile phones, and to enable that business cloud base approach is much easier to deploy and cost effective because cloud solution shared infrastructure, tend to be less expensive compare to an enterprise solution.”
With the advancement in cloud technology Small and Medium sized Businesses are adopting various cloud based security services ranging from cloud based anti-virus, anti-spam, desktop OS updates and management applications, Mobile application management, disaster recovery and data loss presentation applications. Also SMBs are adopting security services bundled in Software as Services (SaaS) like email, office productivity, and secure collaboration.
To select security software that meet their needs, SMBs need to focus on five components for selection:
- Scalable: Solutions should be scalable without the high cost of administrative console or other required elements. As SMBs grows, the solution should grow based on growing needs.
- Simple: Solution should be easy to setup, configure and maintain and should be able to integrate with existing infrastructure like organizations Active Directory.
- Integrated: Solution should take advantage of existing infrastructure (Application servers, Active Directory) and provide additional value to SMBs
- Automatic Updates: Based on changing threat landscape, solution can be set up to ensure updates are automatically applied. Updates need to affect not just the consoles, but software on user machines (PC, notebooks, devices) as well.
- Compliance: SMBs should adopt a solution that addresses some level of compliance regulation. This will be an added advantage for SMBs
Cloud service providers are doing everything to entice the SMB market. Vendors are developing varied app stores to make it easy for SMB to pick and choose the apps they need to get business done. With plethora of solutions present in the market, SMB will benefit from adopting the solutions in many ways:
- Cost effective: Adopting cloud solution does not involve any upfront capital investment and can start for small users. As SMBs expand their business they can take up more services in a pay-as-you-go model in cloud.
- Reduce management overhead: As skilled IT resources are scarce, SMBs struggle to manage on premise IT security in an efficient manner. SMBs cannot possibly match the skills of a professional cloud based security solution. Moving to cloud reduces this overhead and can cause significant reduction in overheads.
- Speed of Deployment: Deploying a cloud solution is faster than on premise solution as this not require and hardware investment, software acquisition and detailed design and planning.
- Real-time visibility: With cloud based security solutions organizations IT staff and executives get real-time visibility of what’s happening, what is the status of their network, what are the new threats evolving, also they get real-time alerts to take the proper response.
Some of the big segments that are adopting the cloud solutions are Banking, Finance, ITES, Software services.