A woman works in a coffee shop in New York's Chinatown on February 13, 2020 in New York City. A new cloud offering is targeting retail spaces and coffee shops, but can leveraged by any small businesses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Zyxel announced Monday a new cloud service that delivers similar security features to a UTM gateway, but runs directly on Zyxel access points inside a retail store or small office.

Shawn Rogers, market development manager at Zyxel, said the new product – the connect and protect (CNP) access point security service license – was designed to deliver additional security and protection to wi-fi users, whether they are employees or guest network users at a business. 

“The target market are small businesses that either can’t or don’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing their existing router/gateway with a UTM appliance,” Rogers said. “While this is primarily geared for retail spaces and coffee shops, it can be used in any small business situation.”

Rogers said CNP is built into Zyxel routers that are typically plugged into the main router or switch provided by the ISP. Small business owners manage the configurations with Zyxel’s Nebula cloud networking platform, which comes free with the APs. The CNP service has an IP reputation filter that blocks undesirable website traffic. CNP+ service comes with application-level visibility that prioritizes bandwidth for business critical applications.

“We’ve found a lot of businesses are concerned about security today,” Rogers said. “What they want is an easy-to-use cloud platform that lets them block bad traffic so they don’t get into any trouble with their customers.”

Frank Dickson, program vice president for security and trust at IDC, said small and medium businesses have the same needs for security as their enterprise brethren, but lack the budget and staffing of larger organizations.

“Integration and return on investment are critical to SMBs, they have to do more with less,” Dickson said. “Extending network security solutions to Wi-Fi access points is perfect for the small office/home office segment as it enables the ability to apply security measures to what they have and reduce the need to deploy new hardware.”