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Benefits of Choosing a Cloud Based Web Filtering Solution

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Wed, Nov 30th, 2016

In 2001, author Jeremy Rifkin released the book, The Age of Access, which introduced the idea that we are entering a new era in human civilization and business in which ownership of assets is no longer a winning strategy. He argued that as long as you have access to an asset, who owns it is irrelevant. Says Rifkin, “Ownership of physical capital, however, once the heart of the industrial way of life, becomes increasingly marginal to the economic process. Concepts, ideas, and images—not things—are the real items of value in the new economy.”

Consumers have enjoyed the benefits of subscribing rather than buying when it comes to items such as a cell phone or a TV satellite dish for many years. The cloud is now allowing this on a grand scale when it comes to server infrastructure. A business doesn’t need to own a datacenter any longer, it just needs access to one. As Forbes Magazine wrote in 2014, “The world’s most advanced technologies are not only available to large enterprises who can afford to maintain an expensive IT staff, but can be accessed by anybody with an internet connection.”  Somehow we have reached a time in which on premise datacenter with a full IT support staff is no longer an inherent advantage for larger enterprises.

The exponential growth of cloud computing providers such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure illustrate the fact that enterprise organizations recognize the value that the cloud provides today. In similar fashion, Software as a Service, or SaaS providers such as Salesforce.com and Office 365 have firmly established application cloud hosting as an attractive alternative to on premise hosting.

Cloud computing is  transforming the enterprise IT landscape at a rapid pace. Business applications, infrastructure and platforms are increasingly migrating to the cloud. Traditional IT hardware expenditure and  maintenance is giving way to services that can be turned on or off on demand. These services can scale elastically as the business needs change.  Enterprise security, particularly web and email security, is rapidly being adopted as a cloud based service.

What about web content filtering?

Let’s review some of the heralded benefits of cloud computing and see how they apply to cloud based web filtering solutions.

Reduced CapEx

As Rifkin surmised, owning a datacenter full of hardware is no longer an inherit advantage.  Hardware requires an upfront investment in equipment.  The problem with purchasing equipment is the fact that you have to buy for tomorrow which means you must overprovision your hardware in order to meet the forecasted needs (also called an educated guess) four or five years from now.  The allure of the cloud is that organizations only pay for the resources they currently use, allowing them to divert investment capital to revenue generating projects.  Costs simply adjust as demand fluctuates.

Cloud-based service clears away the concerns over cost of ownership

When you subscribe to a web filtering service, you don’t pay any upfront costs for hardware.  You don’t have to predict what your demand for filtering services will be in five years.  Cloud-based service clears away the concerns over cost of ownership by having a fixed and predictable cost.

Many government and education organizations can’t take advantage of variable cost cloud structures due to strict annual budget practices they must follow.  Cloud based web filtering provides the best of both worlds in that it doesn’t require CapEx spending, but at the same time, offers a predictable subscription rate that can accommodate inflexible budgeting.  Cloud based solutions can provide enterprises with superior web and email protection at a 60% lower overall cost and simultaneously eliminate all the hassles of managing their own equipment.

Fluid Elasticity – what if your school system decides to implement a new tablet initiative?

Cloud computing is about agility and flexibility such as the ability to meet work flow demands in real time by increasing and decreasing capacity as needed in automated fashion.  It’s about having the facility to leverage your resources on a global scale that until now has been unimaginable. 

Many organizations are beginning the process of upgrading the datacenter to 10 Gbps.  If your web filtering appliance only accommodates 1 Gbps then you are forced to invest in another appliance.  What if your school system decides to implement a new one-to-one laptop or tablet initiative?  Can your current appliance handle the doubling or even tripling of your filtering requirements?  With a cloud web filtering solution, there is no worry about physical interfaces or scalability.  Cloud based web filtering will help your organization become more agile.

Greater Redundancy

Many businesses can’t justify the levels of redundancy that they would like for their enterprise.  Cloud computing allows small business the opportunity to take advantage of multiple redundancy layers that they could only dream of.  The same is true of web filtering.  Without a redundant solution, an appliance failure could result in malware infiltration, ransomware and phishing redirects.  For a school system it could result in hundreds of angry calls from parents inquiring as to why their children are surfing questionable web content.  Even if you have a redundant solution such as an active/passive cluster, it means that half of your invested resources are simply sitting idle, resulting in nonproductive capital. 

The cloud offers natural redundancy.  There is no need for multiple appliances.  A web filtering cloud solution just works.

Greater Labor Efficiencies and Productivity

The last thing your IT team needs is the added responsibility of updating the firmware and OS of another appliance.  In today’s hyper competitive economy in which IT must serve as a value added leader for their organizations, you don’t need your IT talent laboriously updating and troubleshooting devices.  With a cloud solution, you always get the latest and greatest release automatically, so that your IT teams can focus on value added projects.

This transition to cloud services is allowing businesses to focus on their customers and solutions and not on managing IT appliances or software. Web and email security, delivered as a cloud service is rapidly replacing on premise proxy servers, anti-spam appliances, web malware appliances, data loss prevention appliances, etc.

Distributed Organizations & the mobile workforce

The ubiquitous nature of the cloud is perfect for distributed enterprises and the mobile workforce. These organizations including retailers, hospitals, banks and even managed security service providers often deploy the best network security at head office, but often provide only minimal protection at retail outlets or local branch offices. To prevent data breaches and targeted attacks, distributed organizations of all sizes need the highest levels of security at every location, even where there are no onsite IT personnel.

Cloud based security is facilitating fast and agile deployments with little or no follow-on maintenance for enterprise IT. The cloud is inherently resilient with no single point of failure. The elasticity of the cloud allows enterprises to future-proof their security requirements without having to invest upfront in over-provisioned appliances. By eliminating the need for any hardware or additional software, upfront capital expenditure is negligible for cloud based security.

TitanHQ sets the standards for cloud-based web security,  delivering a range of cloud security services that protect business email, IT infrastructure, compliance and data integrity.  With new threat variants  emerging almost daily, businesses have realized they don’t have the IT skills or budget to continually  invest time and money to fighting these threats. However, dedicated cloud security services  such as WebTitan Cloud  for web filtering  can devote experienced security personnel and massive processing power to fighting these emerging threats. These efforts are then seamlessly implemented to protect our business clients in real-time. 

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