Should I Outsource My E-Mail Security To The Cloud?

You want proper security wrapped around the flow of email messages in and out of your organization! Do you run it yourself or outsource it to the cloud?

© Melpomene - Fotolia

© Melpomene – Fotolia

Whether your email is hosted in the cloud or it’s hosted on your premises you still have the issue of proper email security to consider.

You have 3 choices essentially :

  1. Use the canned security provided by whomever is hosting your email (assuming it’s hosted offsite)
  2. Use hardware and/or software tools onsite at your premises (assuming you host your own email)
  3. Outsource email security to the cloud (whether hosted offsite -or- you host your own)

Let’s take a look at each of these options and you decide for yourself which option makes the most sense for you and your particular situation…

Use the canned security provided by whomever is hosting your email

Many email hosting companies will provide a limited amount of security for their customers. In many cases it will be limited to simple SPAM filtering and Whitelisting or Blacklisting and perhaps even some limited virus filtering but that’s usually about it.

You really need to check the level of security provided and decide right off the top if that is sufficient enough for you or if you need to enhance the security to a more acceptable level.

PRO : Usually very expensive and includes with your hosting plan

CON : Often not very extensive

Use hardware and/or software tools onsite at your premises

There are a number of hardware vendors (SonicWall, Cisco, Barracuda and others) that provide excellent, enterprise grade, email security appliances that provide a very high level of security.

They sit on premises in a rack usually and any email delivered onsite goes to this device first where it is filtered for both virus, malware and content and, once cleared for delivery it’s forwarded on to your email server onsite.

Any email sent outbound from your organization would be sent from your mail server out through this security device where it is filtered for both virus, malware and content before being delivered to its destination.

There are also a number of software plugins available for onsite email servers and even some of the hardware vendors mentioned above will make virtual machines for things like VMWare available that are dedicated email security appliances.

PRO : Peace of Mind of being able to have all piece of the “security puzzle” under your roof

CON : Often an upfront expense with a yearly or monthly subscription attached

Outsource email security to the cloud

As with the hardware vendors mentioned above there are a number of cloud email security vendors (Cisco, McAfee, SonicWall and others).

These services work by pointing the MX Record for your email domain to the cloud provider and that causes any email sent to you to go to the cloud provider first where it is filtered for both virus, malware and content before being delivered to your mail server onsite.

Conversely any email sent outbound from your organization would be sent from your mail server to the cloud provider where it is filtered for both virus, malware and content before being delivered to its destination.

PRO : Centralized staff that monitor the cloud service where this is the only thing they do thus creating a highly specialized environment that is highly effective. You get to take advantage of staff being able to jump on outbreaks and other situations immediately and everyone gets the benefit. There’s also usually no upfront as with hardware and it’s usually just a monthly or yearly subscription and that’s it. It’s also just one less piece you need to worry about.

CON : If you insist on only having “tangible and physical” resources linked to your network and you’re not comfortable with outsourcing or cloud computing then this may not be a comfortable choice for you.

Summary

Ultimately the choice of what you’re comfortable with is completely up to you! Ultimately I suggest you do your homework and assess your comfort level and go with the solution that fits you best! There are clearly pro’s and con’s to all the solutions.

If you have questions, comments or concerns please leave a comment below or reach out using our CONTACT page and I look forward to interacting with you!