GFI Nudges Small Business IT to the Cloud

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted July 13, 2012

GFI Software, best known for its LanGuard network security and patch-management platform, is rolling out a new cloud-based computer anti-malware and systems management services bundle in an effort to save small and midsized businesses (SMB) precious time and money when it comes to small business IT.

Simply named GFI Cloud, the new platform brings together security and systems management capabilities into one Internet-accessible, Web-based user interface with a novel pricing structure. Each GFI Cloud service costs $12 per user per year, or $1 a month per user, with discounts that kick in when organizations subscribe to multiple services or make a multi-year commitment.

To start, the company offers its VIPRE Business Online anti-malware protection and GFI Network Server Monitor Online server management services under the GFI Cloud banner. In the next couple of months, the GFI plans to add LanGuard's automated security patching and vulnerability assessment technology into the mix.

The goal, according to GFI, is to "simplify small business IT."


In a statement to the press, GFI CEO Walter Scott said, "GFI Cloud was built with simplicity in mind - these services can be up and running in 10 minutes or less so businesses with limited IT resources can easily and confidently deploy key security, asset tracking and network monitoring solutions in the shortest time possible."

SMBs Struggle with Security Management

GFI shared some insights that may prompt small business IT staffers to consider cloud-based network monitoring and security services.

According to a survey of 200 American small business IT managers conducted by Opinion Matters for GFI, a slim majority of IT professionals, 51 percent, are spending "least 10 hours per month manually updating antivirus software on or removing malware from users' PCs," says GFI.

The companies also discovered signs of inconsistent security management among many small businesses. Of those polled, 27 percent said that antivirus software solutions and license renewal dates didn't line up across all company PCs, adding complexity. Thirty-three percent reported that they did not have a centrally managed antivirus platform.

Are Cloud Services the Cure?

Most businesses seem eager to let the cloud address these IT pain points, however. A whopping 78 percent of respondents expressed interest in cloud services that would allow them to manage antivirus protection on their businesses' PCs.

So what's keeping 28 percent of small businesses from adopting cloud applications? Nearly a third, 31 percent, reported a lack in in-house skills to help make the switch. Twenty-eight percent were wary of third-party control over company solutions, while cost emerged as a concern for 24 percent. Cloud security was a top worry for 24 percent of those surveyed.

"Many businesses have been hesitant to migrate core applications to the cloud, because they are unsure about moving away from proven solutions on which they have relied to date," states Scott. GFI Cloud remedies this, he says, adding that company's "existing, tested and proven technology" helps bridge the gap between on-premises solutions and cloud services that bewilders SMBs.

GFI Cloud services, with the exception of LanGuard, are available now.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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