Monday, May 19, 2008

Panda Security delivers cloud-based security management service for SMBs

IT security provider Panda Security has unveiled its Managed Office Protection solution, a security-as-a-service offering aimed at small and medium businesses (SMBs) as well as large companies with a significant number of geographically dispersed offices.

The service from the Panda keeps the total cost of ownership (TCO) to a minimum by hosting all information in the cloud and providing a Web-based console through which administrators can configure security resources.

The lower cost also comes from the small footprint of the Panda agent on each PC, at about 5 MBs it's much smaller than other malware download agents. More details at Panda's blog.

Administrators can also assign profiles across the organization to adapt security measures to individual and department requirements. The service-based protection is also geared toward SOHO workers, who may just use outsourced IT support and repair shops or consultants.

The managed protection product provides "collective intelligence" that automatically detects, correlates, and responds to malware across a network of PCs. The remote management tools, allow IT managers -- or support shops -- to use any computer on the Internet to change user specifications, track IP addresses, and enable and disable security features.

Using a centralized Web console, administrators can configure updated information to protect against zero-day attacks. Updates are completed via peer-to-peer networks from the nearest desktop, minimizing bandwidth consumptions.

Real-time information about detection activity can be accessed by administrators on the Web console. Administrators can be sent suspected threats to PandaLabs for analysis. Periodic security audits can ensure compliance with such regulations as SOX, PCI, HIPAA, among others. Panda provides an ongoing list of current threats.

Because it's a cloud-based service, it can react in near real-time to Internet hazards as they arise, then jettison the updates as small deltas out to the admins or directly to supported PCs. Naturally, the service only supports Windows, but it goes back as Windows 95 and up to Vista. Panda is looking at Mac OS X and Linux support, but demand has not been there, given Windows propensity as a malware target.

Managed Office Protection is available to value added resellers looking to offer security services to clients. Pricing is in the $40 per user per year range. In a related announcement, Panda said that Tech Data Corp., Clearwater, Fla., has signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the product.

I'd like to see the remote access and remore PC support crowd coordinate better with suppliers like Panda. Any and all PC support shold just include services like this. Already many do, but the SOHO market still needs more convenient approaches at the price point Panda is providing.

Panda Managed Office Protection is available immediate and can be downloaded from the Panda Web site.