Here are the influential voices leading the conversations where nonprofits and technology overlap.
Greg Gentry, CIO for First Texoma National Bank, says cloud-based security has dramatically improved IT security for the regional bank in Oklahoma and Texas.
Gentry says First Texoma first began using Panda Security products in 2007, but went with Panda Cloud Office Protection when the product came out a few years ago. “One of the best features is that all the updates are done in the cloud, so I don’t ever have to worry if I have the latest virus definitions,” he says.
Running security from the cloud means that the bank doesn’t have to replace server hardware every three to five years, says Gentry. And because all the scanning runs from the cloud, users report much better response times. “Better response times is one of the reasons we went with the server-based version of Panda seven years ago,” he says. “And now that it runs in the cloud, the Panda software takes much fewer CPU resources, and doesn’t bog down the machines at all.”
Gentry supports 112 users across a 40-mile radius with an IT staff of five. They’re always busy, so they appreciate that the cloud-based upgrades save them frequent trips to the branches — three in Durant, Okla.; two in Sherman, Texas; and one in Boswell, Okla.
He says the team also likes the auto reporting. “It may not be a main selling point, but when I get very busy I might forget to check the reports,” Gentry says. “Panda sends me a report in email every Friday on the week’s events. It’s really convenient.”
Frank Dickson, an industry principal for Frost & Sullivan who covers network security, says cloud-based security services appeal to organizations because IT budgets have not kept pace with the threat landscape. “With the exponential growth of new threats and attacks, organizations see cloud-based security as an efficient way to provide security,” he explains. “They can buy Security as a Service and don’t have to maintain the hardware and software and upgrade the equipment every three to five years.”
Rob Dean, CEO of the Vican Group in Southlake, Texas, says up until about three or four years ago, the company used to run most of its IT infrastructure and PC support in-house. But it became too expensive and time-consuming to manage and maintain an IT staff.
“We just decided it wasn’t one of our core competencies,” Dean says, adding that the company focuses mainly on providing tablet and smartphone repairs for retailers such as Staples and OfficeMax, as well as putting together service programs companies such as BestBuy.
Dean opted to bring in a local service provider to run and manage the company’s IT operation, part of which includes cloud-based security services from Trend Micro. The outsourcer manages approximately 1,100 systems for Vican Group — mostly a mix of desktops and notebooks as well as 60 servers.
All of the computing devices are centrally managed from Trend Micro’s Remote Manager web portal, which notifies the service provider when it detects a virus. “I’m not an IT expert, so I really depend on the service provider to do what they need to do to protect the network and keep us secure,” Dean says.
The cloud-based security system from Trend Micro includes anti-virus protection, URL filtering and behavior monitoring. The system blocks virus activity and also includes a behavior monitoring component that monitors and blocks abnormal changes to system files. It also has a feature called web reputation, which is essentially a blacklist of bad websites that Trend Micro constantly updates.
Dean adds that system response times are better for users because all the scanning takes place in the cloud.