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Hosted Security, SAAS, or Security in the Cloud

What do we mean by Hosted security, Security in the cloud or even SAAS (Software as a service)

In IT terminology the term “Hosting” means someone else, some other place, or a company/business provides the services and resources on someone else’s behalf. The most popular example is web hosting. An individual or company rents a web hosting service from a web hosting company, such as FastHost or GoDaddy. The individual or company produces their own website and transfers their web pages to the web server of a web host.

Advantages to using a hosting company are;

The customer does not need to purchase any hardware,
does not need to use any physical space,
no maintenance of the servers required,
does not need to pay for electricity costs,
does not need to have any disaster recovery in place.

The hosted service will provide all the above for you.

Of course there are some disadvantages to this method such as the customer does not have complete control, security is an issue leaving your website in someone else hands, how would the hosted service and new experience affect the business, how will it tie in with your laws and regulations, etc.

However in many people’s views the advantages completely outweigh the disadvantages and many companies are moving towards a hosting approach. In fact some predict in 10-15 years time our whole IT infrastructure will be hosted in the cloud. We would come to work and sit at our dumb terminals (no more computers) that connect to the internet, and access our everyday applications which would sit somewhere in the cloud. So in effect our dumb terminals will be just a screen with a browser, mouse and keyboard.

The key to making all this happen is the power of broadband. The faster broadband becomes over the years, it will make it more likely that we will access applications hosted in the cloud.

Actually hosting in the cloud is already happening today. Website hosting is our common example. However there are other services and the ones in our case is Web and Email security as a hosted service in the cloud. So what do we mean by hosted security in the cloud?

In a hosted email and web security scenario, a company would purchase a service from a hosting security provider such as Websense. Websense would filter the bad from the good on behalf of that company.

The customer would change their DNS records to show that any email and web traffic destined for them would go through Websense data centres. Websense servers providing filters and scanners for web and email will analyse the web and email traffic stopping the bad, and sending on the good traffic to the customer.

For further reading, there's some excellent electronic ebooks available for download from eBooks.com