By Michael Przytula - Director, VInet Solutions // 9 September 2009 // Related Categories: Security
Written by VInet Solutions (a PowerBuy partner who sells and supports I.T. for small business)
When it comes to IT security, everyone always wants 'the best' but with so many companies, products and approaches to solving the ever increasing array of potential IT security issues around today, deciding which one is right for your business can be extremely confusing.
When trying to make the right decision, understanding the fundamentals of each solution approach is key. There are 3 major approaches available to SMBs today.
1. Software-based approach - Scalable but time-consuming
Software-based solutions typically run on your server or individual workstations (or combination of both) and analyse data as it enters or is opened on the computer. These solutions, such as Trend Micro's Worry-Free Business suite, offer a compressive multi-layered approach to anti-virus, malware and anti-spam. Once installed, each device on your network with the product installed will keep itself updated via the central network server to protect you against the latest and greatest Internet threast. These solutions are easily scalable and upgradable, so you can add more users and more capacity as your business grows by simply buying extra licenses. They also scale to protect your mobile users while out of the office as the software runs locally on each device.
The down side to these solutions is you need to ensure you monitor them regularly to ensure all aspects of the solution are working, that each piece of desktop software is up to date and no-one has decided to disable the software on their desktop or notebook. Remember, your network is only as secure as its weakest link!
2. Hardware-based approach - Quick to install but can be expensive
Hardware-based solutions are physical devices that lie between your company network and the Internet, having every piece of data flowing to or from passing through it. These solutions, such as Cisco's SPAM and Virus Blocker Security Appliance, are often more expensive but quicker to install. They don't require you to deploy any software on your devices and as such don't have as much management/moni
The downside is they are generally only purchasable in fixed sizes (25 users, 50 users, 100 users etc) and often not upgradable. If your business is growing fast you may need to physically replace an entire device when you outgrow the capacity of the original one or purchase a more expensive unit up front with capacity you may not need for a few years, if ever.
3. Hosted approach - Cost effective but only for Internet-borne threats
Hosted Services provide a very low cost of entry, generally being available on a per-user monthly fee-for-service model at a very low cost ($2-$5 per user per month). Hosted Services are most popular for scanning email traffic for nasty or unwanted content and stopping it even before it gets to your network. They generally provide a very high scanning accuracy rate, are very fast and can scale up very quickly as your business grows. These can be great stand alone solution but can also be used in conjunction with a hardware and/or software solution as a second line of defence. A hosted service is ideal if you are an organisation that is susceptible to large amounts of SPAM.
Hosted Services however provide your internal network no protection from threats that penetrate your perimeter in other ways, such as may occur when connecting a notebook to a public wireless hotspot without out-of-date software or using an infected compact disc.
Which solution is right for you?
It really depends on where you are, where you're going and how much the security of your network is worth to your business. Now you know the three different approaches you should be able to have an intelligent conversation with your IT support organisation on what is right for you. Alternatively feel free to contact us at VInet Solutions on 1300-733-441 and we can help point you in the right direction!
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