The convenience of cloud-based applications and services is unmatched in allowing employees to work effectively wherever they are. For many companies, it would be hard to work any other way, and they are always looking to add more services to boost productivity.

But with convenience comes risk. Whether your employees are using these applications for remote work or relying on them in branch locations, they may be outside the safe perimeter of the corporate security net. That could expose them – and your company – to all sorts of threats that might start by infiltrating their devices and then move to the company network when they reconnect.

The ultimate danger of these threats is to your company’s data, your most important asset.

Even the most security-conscious organization can be challenged with the constant activity of employees who move in and out of the internet through the course of a workday to access their needed applications and services. This situation requires a new level of proactive threat management.

Use the cloud to protect the cloud

The traditional approach to enterprise security has been to stack up security “boxes” at each of a company’s internet gateways, which is really only effective if the access points are limited and controllable, such as within a single office building or headquarters site. When the access points can be located anywhere near where a user may be working at the time, it makes more sense to use a cloud-based solution to protect their time in the cloud.

Why? Since user traffic is bypassing the traditional physical security coverage, trying to keep up with that can be overwhelming in terms of the complexity and cost involved in deploying and managing the necessary security appliances.

Even if a company can pull that off, the backhauling and layering involved can slow down and hinder the user experience. That drives frustrated but well-meaning users to circumvent the obstacles to get the job done, which means they’ll go outside the security protections and create risks.

With a cloud-based, “as-a-service” solution, the security engine resides in the cloud and can monitor every bit and byte of traffic instantly as it moves in and out of the internet. That enables a streamlined and centralized security model, free of security hardware investments and the need to keep that hardware updated and maintained.

The optimal solution will enable a company to manage it by adding, deleting and changing users and specific services as its needs change, and by setting its own customized security policies from a single portal.

Sprint SecureWeb

Sprint SecureWeb is such a solution, aimed at organizations of all sizes with remote, mobile or branch employees who need to access online and cloud-based applications and services.

SecureWeb offers protection for any user and any device, inspecting all traffic across a range of security configurations. Protection can be scaled to all the offices and users in a company, regardless of location.

Because it is cloud-based, it can ensure immediate threat response everywhere as soon as a threat is detected anywhere, and it provides uniform and consistent security and policy controls, regardless of where a user connects.

SecureWeb also provides real-time reporting and centralized analytics, and importantly it provides a better user experience by minimizing latency and lowering cost by eliminating the need to backhaul traffic.

An approach such as this can help companies face the twin security challenges of employees working outside the fortress walls. First, users accessing their apps and the internet directly, too often bypassing corporate physical security precautions, and second, the need to ensure branch office security in the face of expensive premises-based equipment and the associated management and maintenance costs.

Considering mobile devices account for 53 percent of internet usage, how secure are your mobile and branch office employees?