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While many sectors in the UK suffer in the grip of recession, the reverse is true of the “dark economy”. Last year 23 million cybercrime attacks were detected, and in 2009 the onslaught shows no sign of abating.
Cybercriminals are becoming more professional, experienced and ingenious in their quest to profit from fraud, phishing, scamming and more. The challenge for many of those responsible for protecting their IT systems is to stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals while responding to the boardroom’s operational cost-cutting initiatives. To deliver against both of these challenges it is likely that the use of hosted security services will grow significantly.
Last year, analyst firm Gartner predicted in its report Cloud-Based Computing Will Enable New Security Services and Endanger Old Ones that the market for security-as-a-service could more than triple in the next five years, and in 2009 this forecast is being realised.
These services work on the same principle as supplying clean drinking water to homes. Before the water reaches the glass it has been cleaned, checked by experts for harmful substances and if any are found they are removed, ensuring only safe water is drawn from the tap. For the maintenance of this service you pay a set ongoing fee.
Similarly, with hosted security services all crimeware programs and other undesirable content (including viruses, worms, Trojans, spam, etc) is found and filtered out in the cloud at the datacentre, so they never touch the company’s network, ensuring a continually clean data stream into the company.
A hosted security service delivers network security that is kept up-to-date around the clock and is capable of fending off existing and new crimeware threats. Importantly for the person responsible for the network, this does not mean giving away control of security settings, as they are typically able to view settings via a web portal at any time and adapt policies within the company.
The great thing about hosted security services is that they can deliver value for small, medium and large businesses alike (as well as deriving value for resellers and systems integrators).
The customer does not have to invest time or money in building up security know-how or hardware, and they can get the benefit of the expert knowledge of the vendor hosting the service. This way even small and medium-sized businesses can afford the level of protection expected within a much larger enterprise, but they are only paying for the services they specifically require.
These hosted security services provide resellers and systems integrators with the opportunity to expand their portfolio with a profitable revenue stream that can open doors to cross-selling opportunities for added-value consulting services around the offering.
Not only is it easy to set up, deploy and manage these services for customers, they are also highly reliable. Furthermore, they have been proven to reduce IT security system costs by 30% or more, while relieving the burden on internal IT staff and increasing system and staff productivity.