Advantages and disadvantages of on-premises security

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Note:  This is the first of three posts in a series on Cloud Ready security patterns.  You can follow the entire Security Patterns series here, and follow the Barracuda Cloud Ready blog here.

Last week Jesse posted some commentary on an Osterman Research paper that was based on a survey sponsored by Barracuda.  The paper is titled Deploying and Managing Security in the Cloud and is available at the bottom of this blog post.

One of the things I found interesting in the white paper was the breakdown of the three patterns of security that were identified for modern organizations.  If you follow our public cloud blogs, it should be no surprise that these patterns are,

  • On-premises only
  • Cloud only
  • Hybrid on-premises and cloud

I'd like to spend the next few days going through these patterns and looking at Barracuda fits in to each of these scenarios.

The first one to review is on-premises security.  This is just as it sounds:  all security functions for the organization reside on-premises.  This could be one location or it could include several remote branches with security distributed accordingly.   The big characteristic here is that the security is completely on-site, and nothing is hosted in the cloud.

There are a handful of reasons why companies may choose to use this model, but it will almost always go hand-in-hand with the choice to keep all software, services, infrastructure, data, etc., on premises.  Additionally, the decision to keep security on-premises could be based on beliefs like this:

  • “My security is more reliable if I host it locally”
  • “On-premises assets have to be protected by on-premises security”
  • “I need access to physical hardware in order to manage my security”
  • “My on-premises security has never given me any problems, so I have nothing to gain from moving to the cloud.”

These concerns reveal some misconceptions about what the public cloud has to offer, and they may foreshadow a number of unexpected issues over time.  Users and teams within the organization who discover the benefits of the cloud may bring Shadow IT into the organization just to improve their own workflows.  If the company has competition that is embracing the benefits of the public cloud, it may find itself falling behind in terms of time-to-market, ROI, and other efficiencies.  The organization that invests exclusively in on-premises solutions will find it hard to keep pace in an industry moving to the cloud.

The on-premises security model isn't ‘bad' so much as it is outdated for most industries.  There may be organizations that keep everything within a physical perimeter, and perhaps they do not operate in traditional industries and markets that benefit from SaaS and public cloud.  On-premises security can be simple and cost-effective, and could meet the needs of these companies. 

There's still something to be said for adding a cloud layer to on-premises security, however.  For example, a business that hosts its own email server and security may still benefit from cloud-based email security service (like our solution here) that stops malicious messages in the cloud.  This configuration frees up processing and bandwidth on-site, which means that the network operates more efficiently and securely.  This combination of cloud and on-premises security is an example of the hybrid security model, which we will talk about on Wednesday.

The Osterman paper details advantages and disadvantages of the on-premises model on page 7.   You can download or read the paper below:


Osterman_Research_ Deploying_Managing_Security_Cloud


Barracuda offers a complete portfolio of security and data protection solutions.  Our multiple deployment options give customers the flexibility of adopting the security pattern that works for them.  For more information on our solutions, visit our corporate website here

Note:  This is the first of three posts in a series on Cloud Ready security patterns.  You can follow the entire Security Patterns series here, and follow the Barracuda Cloud Ready blog here.

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