Tech Strategy Trends

Oct 2 2009   10:16PM GMT

Protecting Windows from the Cloud

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Small and medium businesses (SMB’s) have smaller budgets and fewer personnel resources than large enterprises, but they still face the same network security threats and compliance requirements.

One option for SMB’s is to basically outsource the maintenance of the security infrastructure while retaining administrative control over the actual implementation of security. Companies contract outside resources for a variety of services from janitorial duties to physical security of office facilities. Why not contract network security as well?

The evolution of the Internet has given rise to the concept of “cloud computing”. Put simply, cloud computing means that the software is centrally located and managed somewhere out there on the Internet, affectionately known as the cloud.

Panda Security offers Panda Managed Office Protection which basically provides a cloud-based, managed security infrastructure that lets Panda handle the expense and the grunt work of keeping the servers online and up to date, while enabling customers to manage security policies and administer the implementation of security through a web-based console.

I had an opportunity to test out PMOP and I was pretty impressed. There are two things in particular that really stand out in my opinion: peer-to-peer updating, and Collective Intelligence scanning.

Administrators can configure the endpoints to acquire updates from other endpoints on the network in a peer-to-peer framework rather than having every client update from a single source or bogging down the available network bandwidth by having all of the endpoints download the updates directly from Panda. For SMB’s with a limited bandwidth pipeline to the Internet this feature can ensure that security updates don’t cripple the network.

With Collective Intelligence the majority of the malware scanning is done in the cloud on the Collective Intelligence servers. That reduces the resource consumption and performance impact on the endpoint systems, and also provides virtually limitless resources to analyze malware samples and develop signatures on the fly.

I think PMOP may be just what many SMB’s are looking for. PMOP is a sort of hybrid solution between a locally installed enterprise security solution and a fully managed security service. It provides a cost-effective solution for SMB’s to get enterprise-class security without relinquishing complete control of security to a third-party.

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