GFI Software, which develops a range of SMB applications including those for security, archiving and fax, will systematically roll its applications into a platform called GFI Cloud.
The two initial applications in GFI Cloud are GFI VIPRE Business Online, which handles antivirus and anti-malware protection; and GFI Network Server Monitor Online, which mointors network health and optimizes server and workstation configurations. A third application, GFI LanGuard, will be added within the next few months.
The service is targeted at small and midsize companies that have limited or no IT resources, said GFI Software CEO Walter Scott. "We believe that the vast majority of people going to cloud-based apps are going there for sheer simplicity," he said.
Eventually, GFI Software plans to move its entire portfolio onto the cloud platform. It will price each of the services at $1 per user per month, Scott said.
GFI Software, which has about 250,000 installed users, will allow existing customers with maintenance contracts to move into the cloud for free until those contracts expire, he said.
The company is adopting this cloud delivery strategy in part because of the explosion of unsanctioned, unmanaged devices being brought into SMBs by employees. It isn't unusual to find dozens of different security applications within companies that support this strategy, because basic endpoint security software is often bundled onto notebook and desktop hardware.
Indeed a new GFI Software survey found that about one-third of SMBs don't have a centrally managed antivirus solution and about 27 percent are managing different software, with different expiration dates. That's one reason chose to put its security software on GFI Cloud first.
The survey conducted by Opinion Matters for GFI Software covered the options of 200 IT decision makers at companies with five to 50 employees.
Some other findings:
28 percent of the respondents are not using the cloud for any IT applications
Close to half of IT administrators at SMBs do not have a way of seeing which PCs or servers on their networks might fail
Cloud security was NOT the top concern about moving to cloud applications; it was tied for third as a challenge, after complexity and in-house cloud implementation skills, and worries about third-party controls over software applications (which if you think about it, IS a security concern)