A single network security breach can bring almost immeasurable devastation to a business—from unhappy customers and a damaged business reputation to lost revenue and even the risk of legal action. (We all remember the Sony PlayStation Network Security Breach in 2011 that impacted over 77 million accounts – ConsumerReports on topic). Are you willing to bet everything that your existing in-house IT team capable of protecting you from every potential threat?
If you’re like most businesses whose IT staff is simultaneously working on any number of different projects, you’re putting the security of your network at great risk. Given what’s at stake, it’s easy to see why many businesses are looking outside of their existing in-house IT team for a network security alternative, and are exploring hosted network security solutions. Also called “cloud-based” security, hosted network security solutions offer a variety of business benefits, including:
Access to a team of experienced professionals: Who would you rather have perform a tedious surgery on your young daughter—a practice of specialized, full-time doctors with access to the latest information and resources, or a handful of medical professionals who are “pretty good” when it comes to the surgery, but also regularly focused on treating colds, coughs and other common ailments? If you’re like most people, you’d demand the specialists, and for good reason—it’s their core business.
It’s the same situation when it comes to your business’ network security. Hosted network security providers are in the security business, working around the clock to detect, prevent and neutralize network security threats, while your in-house IT staff is likely pulled in any number of directions. For most businesses, it’s a wise investment to focus on your core business and leave the always-changing world of network security to a team of experts, like those who work for hosted network security vendors.
Reduced capital expenses and ongoing costs: Handing network security in-house may initially seem like the more affordable solution, but the reality is that costs quickly add up. When you consider the costs associated with recruiting, hiring and providing ongoing training for security staffers, along with the investment in equipment, premises-based appliances, and location-based customer support, it’s easy to see how the cost of in-house network security services is less affordable than it may initially seem.
Hosted network security offers a truly affordable alternative, by allowing you to sidestep the need for additional hardware and avoid ongoing staff-associated expenses. Hosted network security services typically have a predictable monthly fee that includes everything–from monitoring and threat detection/ removal to software patch updates and other necessary bug fixes—so you can budget accordingly.
A watchful human eye: Network security threats don’t take off nights, weekends or holidays—but in-house professionals who are responsible for your network security often do, and the reality of staff vacations and unexpected illnesses or outages can leave your network vulnerable. Even if you’re using network monitoring software to augment your IT staff, consider this: the most advanced network security monitoring software still needs a human being to accurately assess the threat and take appropriate action.
If your business is like most, you don’t have the budget available to hire in-house IT professionals to monitor your networks’ security 24/7/365. But hosted network security offers a viable alternative. Good hosted network security providers offer 24/7/365 human monitoring of your network’s security, so that no matter if a threat is detected at 2:30 in the morning or at 6PM on Christmas Eve, it can be quickly managed. Hosted security providers have the manpower and resources in place to monitor your network every moment of every day, giving you the utmost in protection.
Centralized control: The old adage, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is never truer than when talking about network security. All it takes is one unprotected desktop or a forgotten out-of-date firewall to put your entire network in jeopardy, no matter how secure every other element of your network may be.
Hosted network security solutions ensure that every link in the network chain is secure by implementing a centralized, standardized approach to network security controls. The end result is a cohesive network that presents a united front against hackers, from its servers to its endpoints. Additionally, most hosted network security providers will work with your business to customize option to meet your specific security policies.
From Small Businesses to Large Enterprises, Cloud Network Security Makes Sense
Cloud or hosted network security solutions offer a variety of business benefits. For many businesses, having instant access to a team of IT professionals who are constantly updated on the latest security threats and threat mitigation best practices is the biggest benefit—for others the lowered ongoing costs and reduced capital investments are the main reason to consider hosted network security. These benefits, along with 24/7 human monitoring and the ability to centralize and customize control of your network security, make hosted network security an attractive and viable alternative to in-house network security for businesses of all sizes.
Written by Dan Toomey, the Director of Product Management for the Cloud & Managed Services Division of XO Communications. XO is one of the largest telecommunications companies that focuses on providing enterprise solutions to small, large and enterprise level businesses.