How Startups Can use Cloud to Overcome Their IT Security Nightmares

By Altaf Halde, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab

Altaf Halde, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab

Headquartered in Moscow, Kaspersky Lab is the leading provider of security solutions to endpoint users. Being the innovator in IT security, it provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers.

The average IT security budget for a startup currently exceeds 18 percent of the business’s annual IT spending and continues to grow. The reasons for this are not hard to find. Growing IT complexity and maintenance costs are leading the trend. Security incidents also contribute to mushrooming spending. Today’s threat landscape, with its rapid expansion of ransomware, POS exploits and DDoS attacks, is forcing businesses to protect themselves by buying in more software and expanding their IT team. But can startups afford to put so much resource for IT? Is it viable when resources are scarce?

Growing IT spend is not an easy job for Startups. As a matter of fact, 66 percent of startups spend less than Rs. 60,000 a year on IT security. Yet the cost of a data breach could range from minor inconvenience, loss of customer data and reputation damage, to fines, and ultimately company closure.

The economic reality of data losses can be tougher than expected, and start ups have to be even smarter about budgets during an economy downturn. Seeking to find a solution, startups attempting to achieve an advanced level of business data protection, while avoiding additional costs, are starting to embrace a new model of IT security management – cloud infrastructure.  

SaaS Economy: From Myth to Reality

The most dangerous IT security myth faced by companies is that ‘it will never happen to us’. Data, in fact, proves the exact opposite. A government survey, for example, has reported that 74 percent of small business struggle with the consequences of a security incident on an annual basis. With fewer resources, these businesses are an attractive goal for cyber criminals, making IT security risk mitigation even more challenging. 

The cloud model can bring them the benefits of simplicity, ease of management and reduced costs, making security as a service something like a magic wand, and eliminating need to think about when employees mobiles last had their antivirus patched.  

Cloud security brings with it a centralised way of deploying programs, updates and policy management, allowing businesses to easily meet the minimal standards of IT security. Small businesses that have suffered from a cyberattack often admit that a breach could have been prevented by adopting very basic rules. Cloud IT security makes these basics possible. Adopting cloud security, SMEs are able to guarantee that customers’ data is safe with advanced protection developed by those who set industry standards.

For those businesses thinking about making the transition from traditional IT security to an SaaS cloud approach, the following tips can help to optimize their IT budgets.

Tip #1 Avoid Hidden Costs - According to an old management proverb, what is not measured cannot be managed or improved. So evaluating the total cost of IT ownership is essential. Most Start-up companies are neglecting to calculate ROI in their IT systems, but cloud adoption solves this problem, by closing a strategic business task of simple budgeting. It provides accurate cost and value management, fully clear for all sides (including business owners). Spending scalability (depending on the amount of nodes really used) also makes cloud security solutions an ideal fit for Start-up’s needs. With this in place, SMEs do not have to pay for 150 licences if 20 of them are not being used due to vacations or a drop in employee numbers. The cloud model makes it possible to pay for the number of nodes actually used on a monthly basis.

Tip #2 Eliminate Complex Educations - Technology should be an enabler, not an obstacle. According to Forrester, global tech spending will increase to $2.9 trillion by the end of 2016. Quite a pile of this sum comes from certification and education costs. When your business grows to the size of a large enterprise, investing in complex IT certifications is justified. But until that time, using a cloud solution - businesses can avoid entering into complex IT education programs.  

Tip #3 Reduce the Time Spent Managing IT Security – Spending extra time managing IT infrastructure is a common problem for all Start-ups dealing with customer data flows that need to be backed up, financial operations that need additional security levels and mobile data management. But small businesses have limited time to spend on these tasks. The quick roll-out and on-demand resources that are embedded into the DNA of cloud IT security, therefore, allows VSB IT teams to save their time and focus on more important business priorities.

Cloud security solutions, available on subscription, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Cloud, enable businesses with advanced technologies that fully meet their needs. At the same time, they allow SMBs to avoid the hardware costs synonymous with all on-premises products, giving them an alternative in terms of budget efficiency.

Let’s Face It: with the security as a service model, the most frustrating elements of Start-ups IT security fade away. Limited resources, consuming maintenance and incompatible systems are no longer an issue. The security as a service model is all about business strategy. Along with facilitating better IT, it helps small businesses to cut their costs even in times of economic downturn. In the end, cloud security allows SMEs to improve transparency and accountability, key attributes to business success. 

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