The adoption of cloud-based services has steadily increased over the past several years as businesses have become more aware of its benefits. The cloud tools and applications utilized by businesses vary depending on the business’s needs and the economic sector. Some of the common ways that businesses use cloud services include high-performance cloud computing, cloud data storage, and cloud-based telecommunications.
In recent times, however, another cloud-based service that is increasing in popularity as it becomes increasingly adopted is Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS). SECaaS is a security management model whereby businesses outsource their network security to a third party, typically a cloud service provider. With this model, the cloud service provider assumes the security for the business, while the business pays a regular fee to the service provider for the security provided.
Depending on the needs of the business, the type of security coverage subscribed to may vary; this is usually addressed in the Service Level Agreement. Some types of security services that can be provided through the cloud are data loss prevention (DLP), email security, data encryption, identity and access management (IAM), and network security, among others.
There are several benefits gained by businesses using SECaaS rather than developing their own individual security framework; discussed below are the top five of these benefits.
Security provided through the cloud is generally cheaper than traditional security frameworks. Setting up traditional security protocol typically requires the purchase of the necessary hardware and software, licenses for the use of security software, and hiring skilled cybersecurity professionals. In addition to these capital expenses, there are operational expenses involved in maintaining the security framework; these expenses, if unchecked, can have a significant negative impact on a business’s profits.
With SECaaS, businesses have little to no capital expenses as these costs are assumed by the service provider, including the maintenance costs. Businesses only have to pay a regular fee to the service provider for the utilization of the protection services; this fee is typically much less than the cost of implementing a traditional security framework.
2. Security Updates
Network threats are constantly evolving as malicious individuals develop new innovative ways to compromise computer networks. Therefore, frequent regular application and software updates are necessary to ensure that the network remains fully protected from new threats. Using traditional security frameworks, the updates may not be performed in a timely manner or as frequently as needed thereby opening up the network to potential attack. Using SECaaS, however, businesses remain up to date on their security as the cloud service provider ensures that security updates are installed as soon as they are available.
3. Response Time
Time is of the essence once a computer network has been infiltrated by a virus or malware. The longer it takes to identify and neutralize the offending actor, the greater the damage that may be sustained by the network. Traditional security frameworks generally have slower response times than their cloud-based counterparts as skilled staff may be unavailable at all times of the day to respond to network threats. With SECaaS offering round-the-clock network monitoring, there is always an expert available to respond to and neutralize any network threats promptly. This quick response time ensures that damage sustained to a network as a result of its compromise is limited in scope.
4. Skilled Personnel
At present, there is a marked shortage of cybersecurity specialists who are able to develop and maintain security networks. It is estimated that by 2021, there will be at least 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions. With a shortage of this magnitude, most businesses may be unable to hire cybersecurity specialists with the right set of skills to protect their network. With SECaaS, however, businesses no longer have to worry about finding cybersecurity specialists; cloud service providers generally have cybersecurity experts on staff able to provide the necessary network security.
Some industries have regulations in place that dictate how data is stored and transmitted so as to ensure its security and privacy. In healthcare, data exchange and storage is guided by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regulates the management of card information by businesses. The adherence to these regulatory standards may be cumbersome for businesses; with SECaaS, the cloud service provider can provide the required level of security to ensure compliance with the appropriate regulations.