Anthem. eBay. JPMorgan Chase. Target.
These organizations have become synonymous with massive data security breaches accounting for hundreds of millions of compromised records. But they’re not alone. Companies of all sizes have fallen victim to cyberattacks that have exposed names, social security numbers, credit card data and other sensitive information.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 783 data breaches were reported to regulators or in the media during 2014, representing a 27.5 percent jump over 2013. So far, 2015 hasn’t fared any better — breaches at the Office of Personnel Management, IRS, National Guard and UCLA Health System have put millions more records at risk.
While some organizations have been criticized for weak security practices, the fact is that preventing a data breach is an immense challenge. Organizations are spending more and more on data security and still not keeping up with the latest threats.
Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable. According to a report from Endurance International Group, more than 80 percent of SMBs are concerned about cyberattacks and 63 percent have implemented security measures. However, 83 percent of small business owners handle security themselves.
“This is not smart for several reasons,” said Krystal Triumph, IT and Telecom Specialist, Atlantic-IT.net. “Even if you invest in the latest security tools, do you have the expertise to configure, deploy and manage them? The tools you purchase require constant updates and maintenance, which means you need dedicated IT personnel with up-to-date training on the latest threats and security technology.
“And even if you have that expertise, do you need that distraction from your core business?”
Taking It Outside
The rising volume, variety and complexity of security threats — and the lack of in-house expertise to deal with them — has led to a steady increase in demand for cloud-based security services. Infonetics Research projects that the cloud security services market will reach $8.1 billion in 2015 and grow to $11 billion by 2018. Managed firewall services account for 30 percent of that revenue.
Managed firewall services allow resource-strapped organizations to turn over the responsibility of administering and monitoring the firewall to a third party in order to minimize the risk of a breach. Security controls and policies are customized to meet the needs of the individual organization from the perspectives of both business operations and regulatory compliance.
“Firewall management doesn’t just require significant expertise — it’s resource-intensive as well,” Triumph said. “The device itself must be kept up-to-date and patched, and policies and configurations must be maintained as the business and technology environment changes. Network traffic needs to be monitored in order to identify and respond to threats.”
Atlantic-IT.net has introduced a managed firewall service that enables SMBs to outsource this core security function. Customers gain all the benefits of a cloud-based solution backed by a local provider who understands their business requirements.
“With Atlantic-IT.net’s managed firewall services, a team of security experts will manage important security functions such as monitoring, traffic inspection, access controls, software updates and troubleshooting,” said Triumph. “Few organizations have the manpower to handle these tasks on a day-to-day basis.”
Reduced Cost, Greater Reliability
Organizations can take advantage of managed firewall services using a traditional on-premises firewall or a network-based firewall, which is essentially a cloud-based firewall deployed through a service provider’s infrastructure. With a network-based firewall, organizations gain significant cost savings and flexibility.
“Purchasing, installing, upgrading and maintaining hardware and software become the responsibility of the service provider. Because you’re subscribing to a firewall service, capital and operational costs are more predictable,” Triumph said.
Atlantic-IT.net’s managed firewall service utilizes a device capable of handling multiple Internet connections for highly reliable connectivity. Organizations can connect to two different Internet providers or utilize a 4G cellular network for redundancy. Connectivity is also monitored and managed by Atlantic-IT.net.
Security is more challenging than ever as organizations of all sizes struggle to fend off highly sophisticated threats that emerge each day. Few SMBs have the budget to hire and retain a team of security specialists capable of implementing and managing a robust security system that can keep up with ever-changing threats. Dispersed workforces often require remote network access using employee-owned mobile devices, making the IT environment more complex and tougher to secure.
“A reliable network firewall is a critical first line of defense against cyberattack, but many IT managers are finding that managing the firewall is no longer a do-it-yourself proposition,” Triumph said. “Atlantic-IT.net’s managed firewall service helps organizations boost security and meet regulatory compliance requirements while taking advantage of the efficiency and flexibility of the cloud.”