A changing paradigm

Nitin Awasthi, Division Head-ICT at Infocomm, an ICT Services provider with its headquarters in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman and an office in Dubai, discusses changing priorities of SMB organizations in the region towards network security

Are SMBs prioritizing network security investments in the region?
Small and Mid-Sized Businesses until recently were allocating very low budgets for the IT and Network Security, but in the recent past many such Businesses have faced a large number of targeted cyber attacks or hacking that has caused damage or loss of critical business data and credibility.

As it is quite apparent that the growing volume of data and the company’s reputation are both critical to the Business, they are realizing the need to prioritize their own security like any other larger sized organizations and have started allocating more budgets to Information Security Investments.

Discuss the changing paradigm of network security necessary to address new threat landscape?
The cyber security threat landscape has changed significantly faster in the recent few years. Previously, basic virus protection and security controls were sufficient to deter threats.

The cyber security threat landscape is changing faster and organizations are witnessing an increase in targeted attacks against enterprises of all sizes in the past few years. Well-funded and technically adept attackers have the capability to bring an entire enterprise or sector to a halt – something that was unimaginable a decade or two ago.
In the past few years, we have seen mobile malware growing in popularity. Malware that compromises mobile operating environments such as Android is expected to rise in prevalence.

The emergence of new services and applications, advanced technologies including cloud and IoT, are proving further impetus to the changing cyber security threat landscape.

Elaborate on the growth for network security solutions from the SMB/Mid-market?
With an increase in the number of breaches, the need for a strong and robust cyber security framework is now more than ever. Digital transformation and cloud migration have made cyber threats more numerous and sophisticated.

In the past, budgets were mostly consumed on investments in applications and servers but today the situation has changed in the SMB sector and companies have started budgeting and investing in cyber security solutions as well.

SMBs are looking for reliable and cost effective security solutions for maintaining their IT Infrastructure. They are in need of simple solutions or products that are easy to monitor and manage.

The leading technology vendors are increasingly developing products designed specifically with SMBs in mind. Many SMBs today are opting for UTM Security Solution / Appliances that provides multiple security features in a box e.g. Firewall, VPN, IPS, Antivirus, Antispam, URL / Content filtering, etc.

Discuss growth for appliance based vis-a-vis virtualized versions of solutions? Elaborate on the different delivery models including cloud for your solutions?
There are many things to consider while choosing appliance or cloud based security solution deployments.
Network level security will always be best handled on-premise. Network security tools such as next generation firewalls and IPS will remain on-premise because organizations will need to control the flow of data into and out of their networks.

For Data or Cyber Security, cloud-delivered security services can scale and react faster than traditional static deployments, matching costs to usage more closely than the on-premise need to build out extra capacity to meet possible future growth. Most importantly though, only a cloud-delivered security service can match the dynamic and highly automated operations model that attracts so many organizations to the cloud in the first place.

Placing your network security in the cloud allows businesses to free up capital and personnel because the up-front cost to deploy is less than traditional premise-based tools and the vendor provides the bandwidth, IT staff and infrastructure to secure the data.

While both cloud and appliance based solutions have ongoing costs associated with their use, there is no denying that installing and maintaining an appliance based security solution might need more physical devices and will require much more capital and operational expenditure over the long run.