Choosing the right cloud security package for your business

These are the questions you need to ask yourself when deciding on the right cloud security solution for a growing organisation

What is cloud-based security?

Cloud based security provides businesses with an external security service that aims to protect the entire business from malicious attacks, hacking and viruses. Rather than a business installing and maintaining security software on each individual computer, security-as-a-service provides a blanket of protection for the entire business and protects its desktop computers, servers and mobile devices.

Cloud based security software may operate entirely independently from business hardware or it may run off a light-weight piece of software on companies’ computers that is auto updated with latest virus definitions.

Once installed, the service is kept up-to-date automatically by the cloud software provider, reducing the risk of a business running out-of-date security software with known vulnerabilities. Before setting up cloud security, you should complete a cloud risk assessment to identify your networks vulnerabilities.

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Are you able to keep your computers secure?

Internet and computer security is becoming a major challenge for small businesses and the rapid growth of cloud adoption by major businesses is making the task more complex. Large corporations have the advantage of operating internal IT departments who can cover security as part of their business services, but smaller businesses rarely have the resources to keep all systems secure.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the when multiple devices, such as laptops, tablets, home PCs and mobile phones, are used to access business services over the internet. When choosing a cloud security package, you need to make sure that the service offers a level of protection that’s more than adequate for your needs.

Do you require endpoint security?

Endpoint security protects a company’s central servers from intrusions and attacks from external devices.

Cloud based security services essentially provide a third party firewall that sits between the company’s resources and the internet. These services protect documents, emails and servers from malicious software and data breaches.

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Can your business survive a security breach?

A survey by the Ponemen Institute found that over 85 per cent of businesses had experience a data breach event but fewer than 43 per cent of companies had implemented a strategy to manage breaches. Even after experiencing a breach, 46 per cent of companies failed to upgrade their business security, with a lack of encryption technology on portable devices being a major problem.

Data breaches can be extremely costly for businesses and if IT systems are lost completely a business may never recover. Many companies strive towards operating a paperless office and are totally reliant on computer servers to store company and customer data. A major breach can close a business down overnight, so important steps need to be taken to prevent this from happening.

Do you take payments over the internet?

If your business takes payment by credit or debit card it should ensure that payment systems are secure. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has developed a standard for companies that handle take payments via the major credit cards.

Although compliance with PCI DSS is not required by law, some government bodies will shield a business from liability in the event of a data breach if they meet the standards.

To achieve PCI DSS compliancy a company must pass penetration tests and demonstrate that they have a system of vulnerability management in place. Ideally, a business’s security should be level 1 compliant with PCI DSS; several cloud based security systems provide this level of protection.

Are your employees safe?

Almost half of all security breaches reported by Ponemen were caused by lost or stolen portable devices, such as laptops, mobiles and memory sticks. Business servers are only as secure as the weakest link and a stolen device can give a hacker direct access to all company data.

Data encryption and two-step authentication can greatly reduce security risks following portable device theft. For example, Panda Cloud Office Protection provides Device Control real time protection for all connected devices.

What can you afford?

Internet security is constantly evolving to combat ever more resourceful and determined hackers. Company data is a highly valuable commodity on the criminal market and hackers are developing more advanced systems to detect and circumvent software vulnerabilities. Cloud security services provide companies with a level of protection that is usually only available to large corporations, and are well worth the investment.

Now that Microsoft have fully launched Office 365, businesses accept that cloud networking is standard practice; few people really understand the risks of opening up their networks to so many providers.

That said, it’s important that you choose a cloud security software package that is going to be affordable for your business in the long-term.

Most cloud security services are paid for via a monthly subscription fee, which spreads the cost of the package and eliminates hefty upfront costs – the key, though, is to ensure that you opt for a package that you’re going to be able to afford now and in the months and years to come.