Security software as a service is increasing in popularity in tandem with the growth in cloud computing, as emerging providers promise to lower costs while increasing security.
Attacks on the scale of a full-on domain hijacking are the nightmare scenario, and outsourced protection against DNS flaws is currently limited to using managed services that patch DNS for you. However, there are other proactive steps companies can take to protect data. Cloud-based Web security companies such as Purewire and Zscaler offer a host of services, including URL filtering, anti-malware, and antivirus, and are seeking to protect against emerging browser-based attacks. Even Google is offering basic security services based on technology from SafeScan.
Purewire and Zscaler can detect malware that has been placed on domains that have been hijacked, and they maintain their own DNS servers. Webroot Software and Savvis provide antivirus and anti-malware scanning of e-mail. Both take advantage of the scalability of the cloud and pitch a "no-capital-expense" service; organizations no longer need to update mail gateways with performance-crimping scanning software. Savvis also performs spam filtering in the cloud, competing with Google's Postini service.
Many have tried--and failed--to sell outsourced log management. Still, Savvis, SecureWorks, and Verizon Business Services are all giving it a go with a new twist, leveraging the cloud. Decreased bandwidth, storage, and hosting costs and increased availability lower the barriers to entry for these companies. It's worth noting that SecureWorks is one of the few remaining original players in the managed security services arena offering log management.
What's next? We expect more vulnerability scanning, Web application firewalls, and even outsourced firewalls in the form of cloud-based offerings.