A few years ago, Alcachua County, Fla., faced budget cuts, but the IT staff knew that the threat landscape for malware was growing worse by the day.
Marty Albanese, network security analyst for the Alcachua County Board of Commissioners, says the county couldn’t afford to continually purchase and maintain servers for security. The IT team turned to a combination of Panda Cloud Office Protection and Panda Cloud Systems Management to run IT security.
Cloud Office Protection handles the anti-virus software, and Cloud Systems Management performs patch management and enables the county to remotely manage computers and mobile devices from anywhere. “We found that we could have both Panda products for less than what we were paying for our old anti-virus software,” Albanese says. “Plus, the Panda software uses fewer system resources, so our users report that they are getting much faster response times.”
Albanese says the county hasn’t experienced an infection in the four years it has been running the Panda cloud services. “Panda Cloud Systems Management also lets me manage devices on any platform from a single console,” he adds.
Frank Dickson, an industry principal for Frost & Sullivan who covers network security, says cloud-based security services appeal to organizations because IT budgets have not kept pace with the threat landscape. “With the exponential growth of new threats and attacks, organizations see cloud-based security as an efficient way to provide security,” he explains. “They can buy Security as a Service and don’t have to maintain the hardware and software and upgrade the equipment every three to five years.”
David Boling, IT director for Rowan County, N.C., says his staff uses the cloud-based management capabilities in its Cisco Meraki wireless network to manage many of its security issues.
“What’s great about Cisco Meraki is that the wireless network traffic runs over the county’s network the way it has in the past, but the management and configuration features are run over the cloud,” Boling explains.
Boling’s team uses the Cisco Meraki management features to set firewall rules for all inbound and outbound traffic; to set emails rules to allow Gmail but block Hotmail, for example; and to prioritize network bandwidth. The management tool also has a mobile device management feature, which enables Rowan County to track mobile devices and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices.
“We never have to update anything,” Boling says. “All the new security features are updated in the cloud, and we can just click on the ones that we want to add.”
Service provider Webroot offers three important reasons IT departments should consider moving security gateways to the cloud: