ScanSafe Brings Security to the Cloud

ScanSafe has announced the release of Anywhere+, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) Web security service that will provide malware protection and Internet policy usage enforcement on the user’s laptop, regardless of location.

ScanSafe cited a report from WorldatWork that said 45 million Americans work from various locations outside the office, and in a recent survey, 95 percent of respondents reported that at least 10 percent of their staff worked remotely on a regular basis.

Usually that’s the home, but it might be a public hot spot or an airport lounge or a Starbucks. Rarely are these locations, including the home, as safe as the electronic fortress most companies have put up to protect their data—and that’s the point of weakness.

“I think we’ve all heard stories about people with all kinds of strict security policies at work who go to a Starbucks or a public network, get infected with malware and bring it back to the office,” said Mike Montecillo, analyst in the Security and Risk Management section of Enterprise Management Associates.

Those are examples of employees who play by their company’s rules. Many others have a habit of trying to circumvent the company security policies, which sets them up for compromise, whether it’s inside or outside the company firewall.

In another survey, this one by ScanSafe, 65 percent of respondents reported instances of roaming workers tampering with or disabling security features on their laptop when working remotely. Forty percent reported they had been hit by a security threat as a result of a roaming worker’s use of their laptop in the last 12 months.

Dan Nadir, vice president of product strategy for ScanSafe told that his company realized there was a missing piece of the puzzle when it talked to customers about security: “Companies think everyone uses the VPN . That mindset is about protecting the company. When you ask what about when the VPN is not on, a lot of times we get dead air. So this lets them send users out there with the same protection they would get behind the network.”

A small network file, which Nadir said uses less memory than the iPod launcher, is all that has to be installed on the user’s computer. When the user connects to the Internet, the driver detects the connection and routes all HTTP and FTP over HTTP through ScanSafe’s proxy servers.

E-mail is not filtered because most customers use Postini or another e-mail filtering technology, Nadir said, and e-mail filtering is often handled by edge servers and the e-mail server. “In our case, the Web is a problem because people making a connection to the Web might get malicious code. The e-mail goes through the mail server, so it’s often scrubbed before it gets in,” he said.

Eventually, ScanSafe plans to integrate its IM Control technology with Anywhere+. IM Control does the same kind of filtering but for instant messaging.

Policy updates are set via an administrator and apply instantly. If a decision is made to block the streaming of media files, for example, it doesn’t matter if you are in Seattle or Shanghai. You will be blocked immediately because the policy is in the cloud. It never has to be downloaded to the PC.

“What they are doing in terms of Web security as a service will be great for the industry,” said Montecillo. “This can reduce the risk. You’re getting a level of security that you would in your enterprise environment pretty much anywhere, be that in your enterprise, a Starbucks, or any open network.”

Anywhere+ is available now, with pricing starting at $1 per user per month.

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