Security as a service

Introducing Security as a Service

June 21, 2017


When we say “Security as a Service,” we’re not talking about a rent-a-cop with a taser. We’re talking about managed technology services offering you a hand in keeping your data safe, your networks running, and hackers outside your business – where they belong.

Security as a Service, sometimes shortened to SaaS or SecaaS, is the latest trend in digital “as-a-service-models.” SaaS vendors help provide protection in the cloud from hackers who want to steal your data, access your credit or bank accounts, or use your digital footprint as a stepping stone toward shutting down critical infrastructures around the globe.

In 2017 cyber-terrorism is a growing threat worldwide. SaaS providers offer added protection to give you a little peace of mind that you’ll survive the next malware attack.

The Problem

Check out these headlines:

  • January 10, 2017: Los Angeles College pays hackers$28,000 ransom to get its files back
  • February 17, 2017: IRS warns tax pros of new scams to hack into their software accounts
  • March 3, 2017: UK’S largest hospital chain hit by previously unseen malware
  • April 4, 2017: North Korea-linked hackers are attacking banks worldwide

This threat is real. The LA Times predicts hackers will grow increasingly bold this year, and businesses need to step up their game to prepare. Unfortunately, very few companies are ready for an increased emphasis on data infrastructure attacks; many of these breaches occur from one very simple mistake – opening an email.

The problem stems from the fact that much of the on premise legacy hardware is running a lot of outdated software versions. There are mobile devices that travel everywhere, cloud-based applications like email, or even, IoT sensors that capture data and send it…somewhere for analyzing. Monitoring and patching all of these tools to keep them secure is a full-time job. The risks are constantly evolving, so your technology team must stay on top of the latest threats.

But what if your business is too small to hire an IT expert?

From the enterprise-level business to a small start-up, companies are increasingly turning to an outsourced IT security expert to keep their mission-critical systems hack-free.

Download the white paper: Managed IT Services For Small Businesses to learn about the services a MSP (managed services provider) can offer.

SaaS to the Rescue

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) means that a managed services firm with technology experts will monitor and keep your digital processes secure. SaaS can encompass everything from:

  • Security consulting.
  • Monitoring your network infrastructure for vulnerabilities.
  • Installing and upgrading anti-malware software.
  • Data loss prevention.
  • Firewall management.
  • Network access control.
  • Encryption.
  • Threat management.
  • Other tailored security services.

SaaS providers can benefit your company by maintaining an accurate list of malevolent IP addresses that are generating spam, distributed denial of service attacks, or other malicious activities designed to harm your business assets. SaaS providers can also provide system-wide backups and business continuity or data recovery services.

As our technology infrastructures become increasingly complex, and security threats outside our organization increase, many companies are turning to SaaS to help lessen the burden of monitoring and maintaining all of the hardware, software, and mobile digital technology that help run today’s business models.

What Business Models fit SaaS

As we mentioned, small to mid-sized businesses often adopt SaaS when they cannot afford a full-time resource to monitor their digital infrastructure. But enterprise organizations are also purchasing SaaS subscriptions to shore up their existing IT teams. It’s the “two heads are better than one” idea. Adding the additional levels of expertise means that you don’t have a generalist focused on multiple issues, you have one team devoted to security 24/7. This frees up your internal IT staff to tackle other problems or challenges, or roll out new services.

Mid-market companies often don’t have the budget to procure a variety of security products and the technology staff to maintain them. Help Net Security surveyed mid-sized companies and found:

  • 82% of mid-market companies devote 20 to 60 hours of in-house IT resources each week to network security maintenance.
  • These businesses spend an average of $178,000 annually on IT security services.
  • Network security spending is growing twice as fast as general IT spending.

The bottom line is that everything seems to be on the rise, from hacker attacks, compliance regulations, infrastructure complexities, and costs. Security as a service offers these businesses an affordable alternative with significant advantages over traditional in-house IT resources.

Want to find the best solution for your needs? Get a free assessment.

How SaaS Works

SaaS relationships are governed by a service level agreement (SLAs) that offers customers a monthly budget-friendly line item. Typically these managed service provider SLAs include monitoring, management, and reporting under the typical monthly subscription service.

Approach these negotiations with the goal of developing a mutually beneficial relationship between both parties. Define measurable deliverables and dispute resolution, with a 30-day termination notice, along with making sure you fully understand all the costs and terms associated with what is essentially a subscription service.

These SaaS customers won’t have to install on-premise hardware; instead, their web traffic will be rerouted to the SaaS provider, where it will be scanned for malware or links to unsafe sites.

SaaS includes vulnerability scanning, which is a particularly good model for any size business. This process scans:

  • Digital devices such as mobile phones or Internet of Things sensors.
  • Configurations across the cloud and on-premise.
  • On-site hardware such as servers.
  • Virtual or cloud-based machines.
  • Encryption and compliance, including HIPAA.

Conclusions

It was inevitable that IT security teams would begin leveraging the Internet to provide essential services to customers. The cloud environment offers a greater economy of scale for small to mid-market business, and the scalability and convenience of these services have served as a model for all kinds of cloud-based services (IaaS and PaaS, for example) that businesses in all sectors have been able to take advantage of.

The biggest change to cloud computing these days has been the increasing complexity of the interoperability between systems. At each link in the chain, you expose your company to a rising tide of hacker threats that must be mitigated in order to keep your business running. This is why SaaS models are here for the future – they offer affordable IT security at a time when we need it the most.

To find out more, buy the book ‘Easy Prey: How to Protect Your Business From Data Breach, Cybercrime and Employee Fraud’.

 




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