According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are at a greater threat when it comes to cyberattacks than large corporations. While larger companies may have more at stake, SMBs typically have fewer resources to prevent and treat online threats, making them an appealing target. But many traditional endpoint security software systems are too large, complex and expensive for SMBs to make use of. Cloud endpoint security, however, offers the right price and ease of use for many SMBs, making it an excellent alternative to traditional systems.
What is Cloud Endpoint Security?
Cloud-based endpoint security software, like traditional systems, is meant to protect your endpoint devices and provide network security. These devices include laptops, desktops, servers, mobile devices and any other technology that connects to the internet. Cloud-based solutions are hosted by the vendor with businesses accessing it through the internet, rather than their own in-house servers. This method of deployment comes with a series of benefits which small to medium businesses may find particularly useful.
Benefits of Cloud Endpoint Security
The following is a list of benefits from cloud based endpoint security solutions:
1. Fewer In-House Resources Required
This first benefit is true of all cloud-based software when compared to their on-premise counterparts. Typically, with on-premise solutions, your business is entirely responsible for hosting and maintaining your software. This means you need a dedicated server (or several) to host the software and monitor your endpoints. Along with the actual cost of the server, you have to also consider the costs of running and maintaining it. You need to pay for a secure space, electricity for both the server and the costs of cooling along with the staff to maintain it.
If your staff is already skilled enough to maintain and configure your software solution, then this isn’t much of an additional cost. However, if you have little to no IT team, you’ll most definitely need to hire more staff to perform this task. Cloud-based products are instead hosted on the vendor’s servers. This eliminates the need for hiring extra staff, procuring space and paying a higher electricity bill.
2. Fewer Resources and Commitment Upfront
Most on-premise systems require you to pay the full amount of the software upfront. This can be as high as $50,000 USD for some software systems. For large corporations, this investment can easily be recouped and may not be such an issue. But for small and medium-sized businesses, making such a large investment in any one product is extremely risky. Cloud-based solutions are typically offered for a small monthly fee, which makes these systems much more accessible to smaller businesses.
Cloud systems are also incredibly easy to set up and can be installed and running within minutes. This vastly reduces the downtime that traditional endpoint security systems necessitate during installation.
In addition, cloud endpoint security solution contracts are usually around one to three years. This makes them a great choice for a business unsure if an endpoint solution is the right choice. After a year, you could then reassess if the vendor you’ve chosen fulfills your requirements.
3. Continuous Monitoring
With a true cloud endpoint security system, a vendor can monitor its customers’ networks and analyze the cyberthreat data. With this information, your vendor has a much better understanding of the same threat targeting multiple networks. They can then use this data to build their database and improve their detection heuristics, which aid in catching zero-day threats. This helps build a stronger product for every customer.
However, we understand that not every company sees continuous monitoring of data as a benefit. But even without this feature, companies can still benefit from some features the cloud provides.
4. Flexible Options
The discourse surrounding cloud vs traditional products often makes it seem as if they are two mutually exclusive options. But there are actually many options in between. Many vendors today offer specialized solutions that utilize the cloud to provide maximum security to your business without requiring any data transmission out of your network.
These products allow businesses to receive up-to-the-minute information from the vendor’s database on new malware and other online threats. Without the cloud, traditional endpoint security software can take up to four hours to detect and prevent new malware. But with access to your vendor’s database, your system can block malware in under a minute. This way, you’re able to reap all the benefits of cloud based endpoint protection without risking any data loss.
5. Automatic Backups
Just like with cloud based endpoint security software, traditional solutions can keep audits of exactly which users and devices have accessed privileged levels of data. But with a traditional system, the safety of these records depends on how often you back up your data. With 140,000 hard drives failing each year, it’s important to explore different ways in which you can back up your security logs.
Cloud endpoint security software stores your logs on their servers, so even if your hardware malfunctions your data is safe. Moreover, if an internal threat accesses an unauthorized level of data, traditional systems make it much easier for the attacker to tamper with log history. The attacker may attempt to destroy physical hardware or, on some systems, even rewrite the logs to misdirect an investigation.
6. More Effective Patch Management
Patch management functionality ensures that all the software on your endpoint devices is up-to-date. Patches are created when a developer discovers a weakness within their product to remedy the vulnerability. Patch management is done best when executed quickly, so little time passes while your system is susceptible to attacks.
With access to the cloud, your system can see which patches are available much quicker than with a traditional system. Many vendors can also use the cloud to deploy these patches either on a schedule or automatically. The cloud also enables patches to be executed on devices outside of the company network. This is a great feature to have if your employees regularly work outside of the office for multiple days at a time.
7. Monitor Your Endpoints From Anywhere
Cloud endpoint protection software allows your system administrator to monitor company devices from anywhere. This allows businesses to maximize their IT staff if they have several offices. Instead of hiring personnel in each location, you can manage all your IT staff in one office. With cloud-based endpoint protection, your system administrator can configure settings, install patches, approve devices, audit users and more from anywhere there’s internet access.
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of cloud-based endpoint security, it’s time to start the lofty process of selecting a solution to invest in. The selection process for any type of software can be difficult, but if you start with careful and thorough research, you’re far more likely to have a successful implementation. For more resources, check out our Endpoint Security Software Buyer’s Guide. It contains all the information you need to get started, including a descriptive list of features, implementation goals, benefits, questions to ask vendors and advice on comparing vendors.
With enough time and thoughtful consideration, you’ll be able to select a cloud endpoint security solution perfect for your business. Cloud-based solutions can provide your business with the security you need without worrying about additional IT staff, long contracts, lengthy implementations and all the other unavoidable baggage associated with traditional systems.
Will your company make the switch to cloud endpoint protection? Let us know by leaving a comment below!