The latest version of the Sophos Cloud platform is aimed at providing small to midsize businesses (SMBs) with a virtually effortless, cloud-based system for IT security. Even better, the service is the only one available that allows for single-console management of mobile devices and both Windows- and Mac OS-based computers.
Sophos presented supporting data from its recent survey that showed that 78 percent of SMBs currently support or had plans to support Macs on their networks. Also, 75 percent still have no mobile device management plan in place. Knowing this about its potential SMB customers helped solidify the need to provide effective, simplified support for both technologies into the new version of Sophos Cloud.
According to CBROnline’s interview with Sophos’ Global Head of Security Research, James Lyne, the new focus for companies has become security issues on disparate OSes and platforms for both mobile devices and the cloud:
There’s also just the continued theme of the fundamental new way that we’re all using technology – and I think this is one of the biggest challenges for the security industry as a whole over the next few years – so lots of focus on the cloud and mobile devices. What’s really different this year is that last year and the year before, everyone was talking about it – this year people are actually doing it. So people are having to find ways to live with the fact that they’ve adopted XYZ cloud application, they’re having to find ways to deal with the fact that they have all these mobile devices on all these different platforms, none of which have the security maturity that Microsoft has with its 20+ years of being compromised.
Sophos sees these issues as an ongoing struggle for both enterprises and SMBs, but the company sees a big niche with providing security to smaller businesses:
But SMEs are a particularly logical use case – A) they don’t tend to have a huge infrastructure in the first place for security, so it’s easier to transition and it’s easier to build up more security capability with someone like Sophos providing that for them, and B) they are generally more open to the idea of a cloud solution providing integrated, simple policies they can roll out, they’re more comfortable letting control to a security provider to do it for them – whereas larger enterprises might see that as a point of conflict, because they have to give up control.
A lot of these smaller companies don’t have a dedicated CIO or CISO – there’s a lovely phrase that came from one of our customers that is the ‘OIO’ – the Only Information Officer – which I love, because it’s true, even in a fairly moderately-sized SME, often its one or two people who are IT guys keeping the printers on, keeping the network up, as well as doing security. What I love about what we’ve been able to accomplish with the cloud platform is sensible defaults, you can provision the thing in about 2-3 minutes for a large office – I’ve done it in literally two minutes whilst listening to another conversation – which is how it should be for a small organisation, it should be that simple.
Lyne also sees that managing security on a variety of devices and OSes is just how it’s going to be, so companies must find a way to embrace the situation and provide security based on that reality:
When you embrace that conclusion, that this isn’t going away, the only logical place to do this is in the cloud, where you can see every device, whether they’re in a hotel or in XYZ, the corporate network and Android all alike. So we’re trying to protect everything from this, from the network, to the cloud, and everything in between, and give it to SMEs in a package where it’s simple and easy to access and simply deploy. That obviously sounds ridiculously hard, and it is hard, otherwise everyone would be doing it, but that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish.
The latest Sophos Cloud platform does this in a few ways. First, it prevents users from accessing websites that are infected with malware or other threats via a built-in web security feature. It also provides policy-based Web control to enforce proper Web usage among users. Sophos Cloud also “features user-based management, reporting and licensing.” This makes it easier for small IT departments or channel partners to provide SMBs with effective security service all controlled from the cloud.