“Nobody opens up firewalls and fixes them so you always have to be sufficiently warrantied and covered for an unexpected replacement,” says Young. “In addition there are flash updates that you need to manage yourself.”
Experience tells Young that it’s a good idea to export the settings of your firewall regularly. That way, if something goes wrong or the firewall goes down, you can restore your settings from a back up.
“You definitely don’t want to start from scratch with having to duplicate your settings,” says Young. These are all things you need to worry about when you’re responsible for managing an appliance on-site. Having your firewall in the cloud also means if a disaster occurs on site, your network security will still be in tact.
One of the reasons High Point Regional high school chose to go the cloud route was to prepare for the introduction of mobile devices in the classroom. Young says security does not become more important once devices are added to the network, but it does become more difficult to maintain with an in-house appliance.
“With a cloud-based solution when licensing comes around I just let them [the vendor] know how many more endpoint users I have. It simplifies so much of it,” says Young. With an appliance you may have to make accommodations for more wireless or even upgrade the unit entirely to make room for increased traffic.
The school currently has a BYOD policy for staff and hopes to soon extend that to students as well. However, the school’s technology infrastructure still needs tweaking before they get to that point.
“I think we need a little more bandwidth before we can open that up to the students,” says Young. “We need a little bit more of a pipe before we can allow that type of traffic.”