How secure is a hosted environment?

* Many decision makers believe message stores will not be as secure if managed by a managed or hosted service provider

We have been following the hosted messaging market for many years in all of its various flavors: complete hosted messaging, hosted messaging security, hosted archiving, etc. In the research that we have done, one of the perennial objections raised by many decision makers with regard to their potential use of hosted services has been the security of data that is managed by a hosted provider.

We have been following the hosted messaging market for many years in all of its various flavors: complete hosted messaging, hosted messaging security, hosted archiving, etc. In the research that we have done, one of the perennial objections raised by many decision makers with regard to their potential use of hosted services has been the security of data that is managed by a hosted provider.

For example, in a recent survey of midsized and large organizations, we asked decision makers to rate their agreement with the statement: ‘Message stores will not be as secure if managed by a managed or hosted service provider.’ The response: 44% of decision makers told us that they agree or strongly agree with this statement.

Last week, I spent a few hours at the corporate headquarters of ZANTAZ in Pleasanton, Calif. ZANTAZ is a leading provider of hosted and on-premise messaging archiving solutions. The company has focused its hosted services on very large financial institutions, among others, and currently manages more than 14 billion e-mails for a large number of companies.

I was very impressed with just how secure the facilities really are. There are 50 cameras located inside and outside of the building that houses customer data. The minimum security areas of the building require employees to go through two access points, each of which require two-factor authentication – a scan of an employee identification card and a fingerprint scan.

Some areas require employees to pass through four access points. Customers can have their data housed on either shared or dedicated systems – the latter can be physically sealed off with cages that require secure access for additional protection. Even if an unauthorized visitor can make it into the building through a secure access door, the most they could do would be to visit a bathroom. The control center within the building cannot be inadvertently viewed by passersby – staff in the center are alerted when someone wants to peek in so that any customer information can be taken off of the many monitors throughout the facility before the shades are lifted. ZANTAZ operates multiple data centers in the western United States and in the United Kingdom and uses two different telecom providers to link each facility to transfer data for redundancy. Of course, like any hosted provider, the facilities are staffed 24x7, backup generators are in place, etc.

The point of this article is not to advertise for ZANTAZ – other hosted providers, including MessageOne, Apptix, Postini, MessageLabs, AppRiver, MX Logic, USi and many, many others also provide very robust security for their customer data. In many cases, these facilities are more robust than those of their customers.

The bottom line is this: if, as a decision maker, you object to the use of hosted services, potential data breaches might be one objection you should rethink.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10