Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So we are moving things to "the cloud." In other words, we are having a third party host services for us. My tech friends have asked if I'm worried about security. Yes, giving control to someone else does raise some concerns, but our biggest problem is resources. (Of course, the guys who were asking me about security work at a hospital and in Oak Ridge. I'm quite certain their security requirements are higher than mine.) I have a directive to make IT more flexible and these solutions move us in that direction. For example, Google, as part of its service, would spool e-mail for us if we are down while relocating our data center. Also, we no longer have to spend time managing the servers - updating the application to the latest version, patching the server, backing up the server, etc. We can spend our time on other projects that help grow the business or improve the bottom line.

We have started using Panda's Cloud Office Protection for anti-virus and endpoint security. From a financial perspective, it was a great move for us. We signed up for multiple years and got a steep discount. We also now have one contract to support the global organization. I spent a lot of time last year working with Symantec to consolidate the licensing and was never happy with the results.

On the technical side, I love that we will eventually eliminate all of our internal anti-virus update servers. Panda runs the back end and I just need a web browser to manage all our devices. Unlike our old system, updates are performed from anywhere - not just within our network. The clients are smart about how they update, too. You don't have to worry about 100 machines all trying to update over your internet pipe - they use P2P to get updates locally. The client is a lot lighter weight than the real time protection of Symantec. We've had good feedback from users who say their machines are running better since the switch. The reporting is fine, but I find myself exporting the data to Excel for better filtering and sorting.

We have deployed the solution fully at two sites and are about half-way done here in Knoxville.

We are also in the middle of implementing Google's Message Security (Postini) for our e-mail spam and virus filtering. We are also replacing a Symantec/Brightmail product with this solution. The pricing is pretty much a wash with what we were spending on Symantec. (If we only wanted inbound filtering, it would have been a lot less expensive.) With the service in the cloud, it will help reduce the usage on our internet connection as spam is stopped at Google before it is ever delivered to our network. Much like the Panda solution, it allows us to eliminate an old, problematic server.

We've deployed inbound filtering to about 90% of the e-mail users we manage from Knoxville.

We've not implemented, but I think some of the guys at work are interest in this as our next cloud project. I wonder if they got the idea from Dilbert.


Cloud Girlfriend via Business Insider

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