SMBs, the cloud awaits: Managing growth and security challenges

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September 26

Starting with a handshake, most business is done with a phone and a PC. But success brings growth, complexity and an increased need for effective endpoint protection. Can the cloud help?

In today’s fast paced business environment, entrepreneurs can be propelled from running a “one-man show”, to managing dozens or even hundreds of people in short order. Not only that, each employee is equipped with multiple devices: PCs, smartphones and the requisite connectivity behind their productive tasks.
At some point, computing power needs to move on from PC’s to server infrastructure, this represents a shift in scale. And logically, both protection of infrastructure and the business processes they support have also been scaled. Right?

Welcome to a more complex threat landscape
The shift from computing via a network of PCs, to servers (on- or off-site) marks the first of many, which parallel the growth of a small business, towards being medium sized. The (simplistic) change in scale described here demonstrates a jump in the complexity and expense of managing IT systems in general and securing them, in particular.

Now, changing business requirements may have forced new investments in infrastructure for some businesses sooner than others, but at some point, the opportunities to control the scale and costs of IT infrastructure will bring into focus Software as a Service (SaaS), a centrally hosted licensing and delivery model where a customer is provided software on a subscription basis. Residing in the cloud, the SaaS model generally allows for constant scaling of services based on need.

If the Cloud is a natural fit right now, you must simultaneously recognize that you have expanded both the range of threats you may face and have widened the impact those threats may have on your infrastructure, processes and business continuity. There are critical decisions to make since the threat surface faced by typical small and medium-sized business (SMB’s) operations share exposure to the same malware threats as a global enterprise does.

Luckily, at the scale of an SMB, cybersecurity options exist that retain many of the features and technologies applied to enterprise protection, but bundled for increased efficiency, streamlined user interface and better control of costs.

At ESET, this is satisfied by ESET Cloud Administrator (ECA), a cloud-based remote management tool providing user-friendly control over network security for SMBs. It gives customers the ability to manage their company’s network security without the need to buy, install or maintain any additional hardware.

Let’s consider scale
By opting to take the step towards cloud administration of your security platform, efficiencies begin to take shape across your network. But, not all networks are the same. Neither are the processes they enable, nor the operations they are built to support. In order to offer a better fit for the wide diversity of SMB business models, we start by onboarding SMB customers via our ESET Business Administrator platform (EBA).

Once a customer has created an account in EBA – completely free of charge (no approval needed except basic registration confirmation email), they will be able to instantly create a free trial. From there, they can manage licenses for various cloud bundles. This means packages of licenses including: ESET Endpoint Protection Advanced Cloud (EEPAC) and ESET Secure Business Cloud, which in turn activate ECA.

Signup to EBA to try ESET Cloud Administrator


First steps to cloud security?
Keeping it simple is key; SMBs rise and fall on fulfilling their growth potential.

Since your company laptops are likely to be on the move, you will need the ability to protect endpoints remotely and have central management of security products. PCs, servers and other devices multiply the threat surface, so having clear visibility of threats – without direct inspection of each device is essential to keep down work load, saving precious time of IT staff.

Unlike on-premise remote management, which requires expensive hardware and skilled IT staff, management of cloud solutions tend to be more streamlined. The rapid deployment and ease of use make it possible to quickly focus on securing your employees, both new and old. And, since each and every user demonstrates different usage behaviors and device preferences, their needs must be reflected in both the software -known and perhaps unknown to you- and the security policies they are assigned.

Logically these behaviors should be reflected in how the endpoints are grouped. In ECA they can be arranged into static groups (based on whatever criteria you set), or automatically made into dynamic groups (e.g. by OS, by issues etc.). ECA’s dashboard provides streamlined functionality with an overall view of the network’s status and the ability to make single-click actions directly from its graphic elements. New incidents will appear in an overview dashboard, showing the most critical issues on the network so admins know what is happening.

IT administrators can also create customizable dashboards for their needs and all the graphic elements on ECA’s dashboard are clickable so they can drill down right to the issue they are inspecting. The dashboards also enable efficient remediation and reporting.

Back to security and forward to scale
Protect what you’ve already got as efficiently as possible. Deployment of security products to endpoints via ECA is as easy as installing it. ECA’s live installer downloads all the important elements, and after successful installation, your machine seamlessly starts reporting to ECA. Thus, your remotely manageable network is now created.

ECA is hosted on 3rd party data center servers that are chosen by ESET and its local partners to meet local regulatory norms. This, along with ECA’s reporting architecture, ensures that you have enough data to meet the necessary threshold for local compliance.

If you are reading this blog then you have taken the first step in protecting your business as efficiently as possible. For the majority of SMBs that means effectiveness, simplicity and focusing on core security processes. So, if you are looking to manage your company’s network security without buying, installing or maintaining additional hardware, while simultaneously freeing the hands of your IT staff by giving them a simple tool to monitor and manage security products, then ESET Cloud Administrator is your platform.