How have tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices changed the kinds of security measures solution providers and their companies implement to protect their companies?
Businesses are increasing their dependence on technology. More than 95 percent of U.S. SMBs regularly use up to five pieces of technology in their day-to-day work, according to a recent survey by AVG. Security is more important than ever as BYOD blurs the traditional definition of a security perimeter.
The traditional security appliance with antivirus and firewall no longer offers sufficient protection. Mobile devices used by employees now require intelligent endpoint protection that is continually managed by cloud-based policies as they move at will outside your company’s perimeter and control. Significantly, the perimeter of your organization now extends and may include your employees’ own personal devices.
While it is clear that SMBs are juggling the same challenges as their larger counterparts, many are making complex technology decisions without the benefit of an IT department or outside expertise to guide them. A substantial proportion of SMBs in the United States (42 percent) say they are dealing with IT issues—including security—themselves, according to AVG’s research. Thus, the biggest danger today is when a company acts as if a 2012-2013 perimeter is the same as it was in 2005 or 2000, before smartphones, tablets and flexible working took off.
What can solution providers do to help their customers keep their hardware and networks safe after the initial sale?
A good starting point in any customer engagement is a complete audit to identify immediate and potential issues and weaknesses; understand where the customer’s perimeter is, and where it’s going to be in the future. The right provider should be able to tailor its support according to the customer’s exact needs.
This is where cloud services are becoming indispensible for small businesses and their providers. Cloud services, such as AVG’s CloudCare platform, can easily help identify customer needs. As well as remote management, the cloud gives service providers the flexibility to expand or contract IT resources according to their customers' ever-changing situation. If the customer needs extra security for a short time, for example, it’s simple to configure temporary additional protection and then switch it off when demand is over.
Purely on a non-promotional level, what should a reseller look for in a security vendor/partner, be it network or hardware? What questions should they ask?
For small-business resellers struggling with shrinking margins on traditional hardware and software, it is clear that their success at making the transition to a managed services model will decide whether they stand or fall. The opportunity is to relieve small-business managers of the burden of IT management and become indispensable in the process.
David Haadsma is Senior Director of Product Management, Cloud Services, at AVG Technologies USA. Guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.