Network security is a very important component of any business, small or large. In this article I would like to discuss a piece of technology called “Unified Threat Management” and how it can help you stay secure.
What is Unified Threat Management?
Unified Threat Management (UTM) systems come in the following forms:
- Network Hardware Appliance
- Cloud Service
- Virtual Appliance
A UTM typically combines a variety of security services such as a firewall, intrusion prevention/detection, anti-malware and web content/spam filtering. The anti-malware software installed on your computer helps provide protection for that individual device while a UTM installed at the edge of your network helps provide protection for the entire network. Deploying both of these counter-measures is a strategy known as “Defense in Depth” and is a industry best practice.
Here are the definitions of some of the network security services mentioned above.
A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic. It decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules.
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a system that monitors a network for malicious activities such as security threats or policy violations. The main function of an IPS is to identify suspicious activity, and then log information, attempt to block the activity, and then finally to report it.
Malware, short for malicious software, is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software. These include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software. Malware is defined by its malicious intent, acting against the requirements of the computer user — and so does not include software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency.
Unified Threat Management Basics
When thinking about purchasing a Unified Threat Management device you will definitely want to talk to your IT Consultant. These devices can be quite complex and expensive. We highly recommend hiring a professional to configure and monitor them.
Aside from the labor associated with professional configuration and monitoring you must also take into consideration the subscription costs associated with UTMs. There are new security threats everyday. In order for anti-malware software and Unified Threat Management systems to be effective they must be updated on a regular basis. The subscription costs are typically much less expensive than experiencing a network breach. Don’t let the monthly cost deter you from protecting your network.
Just like anti-malware software there are many companies that make Unified Threat Management devices. Here is a list of some of the more popular companies:
Unified Threat Management devices are an industry standard for safe computing. This is especially true in a business environment. Deploying one of these devices helps strengthen your security posture and could reduce the amount of money you pay for data breach insurance. We highly recommend speaking with your IT Consultant and ensuring that you have one installed.
If you do not currently have an IT Consultant please check out our IT Management Services page at the link below to find out how we can help you.