Internal IT security personnel at SMBs may have their work cut out for them when it comes to integrating the newest version of Microsoft Office into existing security procedures. According to Microsoft, Office 2013 represents a significant departure from the traditional IT risk management paradigm. According to the company's recently released security overview of the product, Office 2013 presents companies with "a fundamental change from computer-centered identity and authentication to user-centered identity and authentication. This shift enables content, resources, most recently used lists, settings, links to communities, and personalization to roam seamlessly with users as they move from desktop, to tablet, to smartphone, or to a shared or public computer."
The new approach is intended to assist companies both large and small to boost productivity. By making such a wide range of user resources available through a cloud solutions approach, there is little doubt that Microsoft will achieve this goal. Instead of recreating macros and settings on each computer they use, workers will now be able to have such resources provisioned to them automatically from a central location. Such functionality will most likely encourage widespread adoption of Office 2013, particularly among SMBs that have already realized the inherent advantages offered by cloud computing.
At the same time, however, owners and managers of such SMBs must remain cognizant of the challenges involved in such an adoption. Resources stored in the cloud must be properly secured against a growing range of attack techniques continuously being developed by both casual hackers and criminal enterprises dedicated to cyber theft of valuable proprietary information and customer financial information. It is a given among IT security circles that relying on end-users to properly secure their own accounts is impractical at best and a potential disaster at worst.
Businesses considering an adoption of Microsoft Office 2013 would therefore be well advised to give serious thought to the security implications of the product. Although many solutions are possible, one of the best is a managed security approach. This model provides small and medium-sized companies with robust and continuous monitoring provided by highly trained experts. Whenever possible, the IT security support provided through this managed services model make leveraged use of technology to automate processes and monitor them on a 24-hour basis.
In many cases, this can mean that a managed security model provides companies with better security at a lower cost than is possible from in-person, internal staff.