Cybersecurity is a serious concern in Australia as security incidents reach record highs every year. In fact, reports show that the number of reported breaches increased by 3.4% between 2018 and 2019. The sad fact is that this upward trend will continue, especially since more businesses are transitioning to remote work environments.

Implementing a powerful network security framework will help your business avoid becoming just another statistic. However, not all network security solutions are built the same. One of the most important choices you have to make is whether to opt for on-premises or cloud-based security. Here are the pros and cons of both.

On-premises security

As its name suggests, an on-premises framework is where all network security measures reside on-site. This involves installing firewalls and intrusion prevention systems on local servers to control the flow of incoming and outgoing network traffic. Other examples of on-premises security tools include anti-malware software, system administration platforms, and physical security for in-house servers.

The pros

The biggest draw of on-premises frameworks is that you’re ultimately responsible for how your systems are secured. For instance, you can limit system access based on user credentials and create guest networks to mitigate data tampering and theft. You can also program your network to block specific websites that prove harmful to your company’s security and productivity. You can even install next-generation firewalls and encryption systems if you’re in a data-sensitive industry like finance or healthcare.

Another benefit of on-premises security is that you’re able to physically keep an eye on your network and digital assets. With a combination of proactive networking monitoring, locks, and surveillance cameras, you ensure that no unauthorised individuals compromise your servers. What’s more, your technicians are close at hand to resolve security issues should they arise, minimising the risk of downtime.

The cons

However, implementing and managing an on-premises security system requires high levels of expertise and resources. You need a full-time technician just to configure firewalls and access restrictions, monitor networks for threats and keep software up to date. Plus, you need experts who are well versed in the latest security technologies and can formulate a holistic defence strategy tailored to your business.

Even if you do find a security professional with the required skill set, there’s no guarantee they’ll have enough time to fulfil all the necessary tasks. You’ll likely have to hire a dedicated in-house team, which can cost a fortune in salaries and benefits.

Speaking of which, the upfront and operational costs associated with on-premises security can be expensive. You have to acquire multiple network and physical security measures to protect each layer of your business and set up backup data centres. Then, there’s the costly upkeep required for maintaining physical servers, system upgrades, cooling equipment, and other utilities.

Cloud security

Cloud-based security refers to the technologies, procedures, and controls used to protect cloud environments, applications, and data from threats.

The pros

Cloud security offers a host of benefits to businesses. For starters, cloud security solutions use real-time threat intelligence and analytics, providing comprehensive and accurate protection against the latest cyberattacks. These solutions also come with advanced features that make it easy to enforce company policies even if employees are working remotely. Barracuda Web Security Gateway, for example, allows you to centrally manage network security across company devices through the cloud. Its core capabilities include network and bandwidth monitoring, content filtering, malware protection, and security reporting.

Additionally, a provider shares the burden of managing your cloud security, so you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can set access restrictions and content filtering policies, while the provider handles the technical side. More specifically, they proactively look for vulnerabilities, install routine updates, and ensure your data is safe and backed up in multiple off-site servers.

With this setup, cloud security allows you to free up cash since providers facilitate the infrastructure and IT expertise required to safeguard your business. This also allows you to scale up quickly should your business need additional features, protection levels, and software licences for new users.

The cons

The downside with cloud-based security solutions is that it involves trusting a third-party with your sensitive data. Mismanagement of security solutions and violation of access policies on your provider’s end can lead to disastrous data breach incidents. Certain solutions are also pre-configured and maybe housing data in overseas data centres. This poses a problem for highly regulated industries that require more control over how systems are secured and where data is stored.

That’s why it’s crucial to thoroughly vet security vendors and partners. First, ask them if their solutions can be customised to your company’s specifications and compliance obligations. You should also clarify service level agreements, such as which data is accessible to providers and other cybersecurity responsibilities. Finally, make sure your provider has an excellent track record of protecting cloud environments and data from cyberattacks.

Which security framework should you choose?

The answer to this question all depends on your company’s needs. If you require granular control over network security and have a dedicated infrastructure, then on-premises security is the way to go. On the other hand, cloud solutions may be the best fit if you want a cost-effective and feature-rich solution that’s looked after by a team of security specialists. In most cases, the best answer is to leverage a combination of the two. This way, you get all the benefits of control, scalability, and fortified defences.

Whichever route you decide to take, you need a reliable managed IT services provider that can make your cybersecurity strategies possible. That’s why you should partner with Empower IT Solutions. We offer powerful on-premises protections and cloud-based secure gateways for your network.Consult with us today to implement the right cyber defences for your business.

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