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Software, Appliances or Cloud

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No matter what size your company is, you have to defend it against malware attacks, spyware infestations, and hackers. Your company may also have to meet the requirements of at least one legal or regulatory framework. It is a simple fact that your business needs security and data protection tools.

Symantec has a comprehensive lineup of industry-leading security and data protection tools available for small and medium-size businesses. Those tools are available in various forms—as software, as an appliance, or as a cloud-based approach, each with its own set of pros and cons—and it is up to you to determine the right one for your business.

Software

Purchasing software generally offers your business the most customizability and direct, hands-on control of your security solution. The primary benefit of buying software is control. You own it and you manage it, so your business isn’t reliant on a third party.

Going the software route, though, means that you'll have to bear the costs of the internal staff and resources to install, monitor, and maintain both the software and the underlying framework it runs on. And if you need help, you may have to bring in a service company or consultant, either of which can be expensive and take some time.

Ultimately, a software solution is likely the most costly of the three options, though in certain circumstances it may well be the best way to go.

Appliance

Another option is to purchase an appliance. An appliance is like a self-contained server with the software preinstalled. It typically has better performance than a conventional server because its software runs on a device dedicated to a single purpose. At the same time, appliances are more hands-off, maintenance-free solutions that can be deployed faster, and don’t require as much support or management as software.

The cost of ownership is slightly lower, but many of the same expenses that come with the software approach still exist if you opt for an appliance. The appliance installs on your network just like a server, so you must have a network infrastructure to install it in, and your business has to have resources capable of managing and maintaining that network.

Cloud

A third option is to purchase your security and data backup as a cloud-based service. As a function of delivering the cloud service, the vendor manages and maintains the underlying servers and network that the security solutions run on. You still manage and control your security tools, but the hands-on work that comes with maintaining an infrastructure is handled by trained staff at the data center.

Cloud services are purchased on a per-user-per-month or per-year subscription basis. With this option, you purchase only the protection and services you need at the moment, but you can quickly add users and scale up (or down) to meet demand as your business changes. Another advantage: The applications you are subscribing to, along with the underlying servers and network infrastructure, are frequently upgraded and updated, so you always have the most current version.

Which solution is the most cost-effective? You’ll have to consider a number of factors besides the ones we've mentioned. On the one hand, the capital expense involved in purchasing software or appliances will eventually fade away, while the cloud subscription costs continue indefinitely. On the other hand, when calculating the total cost of ownership of software or appliances, you should also factor in the cost of upgrading or replacing them over time.

Symantec Solutions

No matter which model works best for your organization, Symantec has state-of-the-art solutions available to meet your needs. Weigh the pros and cons of the different methods of deploying security and data protection, and then reach out to Symantec to see how tools like Symantec Endpoint Protection, Symantec Backup Exec, PGP Whole Disk Encryption, and others can help safeguard your IT environment.

This story, "Software, Appliances or Cloud" was originally published by BrandPost.

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