5 Proven Benefits of Managed Cloud Security
How does cloud security work? Broadly, cloud security is a multi-layered approach that combines people, processes, and technologies to protect cloud resources from a wide range of threats. Business-managed cloud security offers many compelling benefits that have led to the continuous growth of this industry.
What is managed cloud security?
Managed cloud security is an IT model that outsources monitoring and security operations for cloud-based infrastructure and software to third-party providers. Outsourcing these tasks frees up internal IT teams to focus on more proactive projects and initiatives. Managed cloud security often integrates automation to protect the company from data breaches, implements real-time threat alerts, and maintains regulatory compliance.
- Local vs. cloud-based: The decision to use enterprise managed cloud security services can be part of the broader IT strategy. Organizations of all sizes are leveraging more cloud-based resources for software applications, infrastructure, and password storage to improve both security and scalability.
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What does it cover?
Outsourced security services vary according to the needs and preferences of each organization. Most leading providers of cloud security managed services offer the following options:
- Security monitoring: Business-managed cloud security services include continuous monitoring of an organization’s cloud assets so that threats and security incidents can be responded to quickly. 24/7 monitoring also provides complete visibility into user activities.
- Technical support: This broad category of services includes the human element of managed cloud security that assists clients with configuration and cybersecurity problems on demand. The best cloud security service providers maintain teams of highly qualified security professionals to support their customer care, operations support, and training programs.
- Reporting: Managed cloud security providers typically offer a variety of reporting options that are enhanced by their automated monitoring capabilities and in-house expertise. This includes incident and vulnerability reporting, security system performance reports, and regulatory compliance reports.
- VPN oversight: The uptick in remote and mobile working has led to more employees logging into unsecured WiFi networks in public venues like cafés, hotels, and airports. A virtual private network (VPN) protects employees on unsecured WiFi networks from hacking by routing all data through a secure portal. A managed cloud security provider can monitor VPN performance to ensure smooth operation. This is essential for protecting employees who leverage BYOD policies to perform work on their device while traveling.
- Antivirus configuration: Threats from malware and viruses are ongoing cybersecurity concerns, so selecting and maintaining the right antivirus software to detect, quarantine, and eliminate infected files is vitally important. Outsourcing antivirus configuration to a business-managed cloud security provider takes the guesswork and manual updates out of this important process while ensuring a cost-effective and scalable solution is deployed. The managed cloud security provider will also ensure home-based workers and BYOD devices are covered by the latest antivirus protection.
- Vulnerability testing: Uncovering system vulnerabilities can be difficult even for on-premises data centers, but dynamic cloud platforms with reconfigurable virtual machines make this task even more challenging. Managed cloud security organizations can provide the tools and expertise necessary to implement effective vulnerability and cloud penetration testing practices to proactively identify risks, weaknesses, and gaps.
- Compliance: Industry regulations, including PCI-DSS, GDPR, and HIPAA, require organizations with cloud-based assets to monitor and control their data and activities closely. Cloud security managed services provide in-depth regulatory expertise and reporting capabilities to ensure your organization complies with all relevant standards. The service provider might also perform regular audits and incident response planning to enhance regulatory compliance.
5 proven benefits of managed cloud security for businesses
About 20% of organizations still assess their cloud security posture manually. There might be a logical reason to pursue this strategy, but any company considering a managed cloud security option should understand that it:
- Automates certain processes: Managed cloud security automates processes to reduce reliance on humans, thereby freeing up time for cybersecurity workers. Along with automatic security monitoring and threat alerts, automation can also be used to streamline incident responses, vulnerability testing, and reporting processes.
- Centralizes your security system: Many businesses are utilizing multiple cloud platforms to improve their scalability and flexibility. This can make it more difficult for in-house IT teams to maintain visibility across the various platforms. Enterprise managed cloud security services manage this complexity by applying consistent monitoring practices and eliminating the silos between data sets.
- Adapts to new threats/needs: Third-party service providers that specialize in cloud security stay up to date with the latest technology and threats, which makes it easier for them to pivot quickly when security conditions change. They also have a wider arsenal of security tools at their disposal so that they can deploy new services or security strategies with less ramp-up.
- Minimizes downtime: Cloud security managed services include continuous remote monitoring to track vital systems and detect security issues immediately. The real-time responses enabled by outsourced cloud security lower the risk and cost of downtime that can stall productivity and customer responsiveness. Vulnerability testing performed by cloud security specialists maximizes uptime by catching issues before they lead to more serious problems.
- Mitigates the risk of cyberattacks: The quantity and sophistication of cyberattacks targeting businesses continue to grow. This includes phishing and brute-force attacks that prey on poor password security and DDoS attacks that can lead to revenue and reputation loss by shutting down infrastructure. The proactive monitoring and threat detection benefits of managed cloud security reduce the probability of success for cybercriminals while instilling systems that make it easier to recover if the business is directly impacted by a cyberattack.
Drawbacks of managed cloud security
While the benefits of managed cloud security are numerous, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Using a managed cloud security provider means giving up control of your cloud security practices and policies to a third party. This can reduce internal visibility and make it more difficult to implement new ideas, tools, and practices quickly. The added expense is another consideration. Although upfront costs and subscription rates vary, they might be viewed as additional expenses that wouldn’t be necessary if the in-house IT team continued to take responsibility for cloud security.
Who offers managed cloud security?
The global managed security market is expected to exceed $50 billion by 2028, with double-digit growth each year. So far, the industry has been dominated by familiar names like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, but the growth and diversity of this emerging field have opened the door to new entrants. As more companies adopt cloud services and cyber threats persist, organizations of all sizes are realizing the benefits of cloud security managed solutions to ensure their operations continue to run smoothly.
The diversity of the business-managed cloud security market has created niches where smaller companies have emerged as top providers for their specialties. While some are highly ranked based on their breadth of services, others have focused on areas like advanced threat protection, DevOps security, or compliance to meet the unique needs of each customer.
How to choose the right managed cloud security provider
Cloud providers often offer their own managed cloud security services, which can make the selection process easier. Some organizations operate on multiple cloud platforms or choose to separate their security services from operations to establish more independent and flexible solutions. Choosing the right managed cloud security provider for your business comes down to aligning your greatest areas of need with their areas of expertise while continuing to meet your requirements for scalability and cost.
How much does managed cloud security cost?
There’s no set price tag for managed cloud security services since it depends on the services ordered, the size of the company, and the pricing structure of the provider. Much like other types of outsourced IT, subscription models are offered with relatively low upfront costs. Tiered pricing based on the number of users and bundled pricing based on the types of services ordered are two of the most common models.
The future of managed cloud security
Cloud-based computing services are here to stay, which has made the decades-old model of local computer assets with localized security obsolete. Secure cloud servers with AES 256-bit encryption and zero-knowledge architecture to ensure no one can access private information have proven to be the safest password storage method for individuals or businesses. As the full scope of cloud-based security tools improves, the benefits of managed cloud security will continue to outweigh the drawbacks.
A security audit is an effective way to assess your business's cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses. It can also be faster and easier than you think when you learn how to conduct a security audit in five steps.
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