A Unified Threat Management System or UTM is a security formula that exhibits multiple security functions at one point in a network.
Corporate networks face various security threats today, so a UTM appliance offers an all-in-one solution that prevents data leaks, filters content, and offers a firewall. It also provides anti-phishing, antivirus, and anti-spam protection.
You are at the right spot if you wish to know more about UTM, what the software can do for you, and what features it offers. In this article, we shall look at exactly this and more. Stick till the end to learn more!
What Is Unified Threat Management (UTM)?
UTM is a security solution that combines several other security features/solutions. It is often installed on one device in a network to keep it safe.
A network’s users are protected from the following:
- Viruses and malware.
- Phishing attacks.
- Unfiltered web and email content.
A single device provides security services to an entire organization, simplifying network protection.
A wireless structure and complete monitoring of all elements in a network promote added security.
What Are The Features Of An Ideal UTM System?
Investing in a UTM that can protect your corporate network and prove fruitful for your business is essential to know the key features a UTM system must possess. Let’s look at these below:
A Unified Threat management system keeps a network safe from malware by detecting and eliminating it.
Most UTMs are already configured to grab the most common malware known to sneak into data streams. A Unified Threat Management system blocks this malware from seeping into the network or corporate system.
If a UTM is wired with rules of heuristic analysis, it can also easily detect novel malware. The system thoroughly analyzes the characteristics and behavior of malicious files to eradicate them. This includes camera-inhibiting malware, for example.
UTMs can also make use of sandboxing to capture malware or suspicious files. A sandbox or cell inside the system keeps the file captured so it cannot leak anywhere else. Even though these files can still run, they cannot interact with other programs on the PC.
Virtual Private Network
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) equipped with a UTM appliance is quite similar in structure to a regular VPN. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel in a public network to make data transfer confidential and secure. Encryption prevents others from reading the data even if they gain access.
Data Loss Prevention
UTM appliances often come with data loss protection protocols. This prevents data breaches and infiltration attempts immediately after they are detected.
The Data Loss Prevention tool monitors confidential and sensitive data closely to inhibit malicious attempts. This keeps data very safe and prevents credential theft.
The web filtering feature embedded into a UTM restricts access to inappropriate or dangerous sites and URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).
The web browser being used is prevented from loading these web pages on the device being used. Web filters further target specific websites based on user input.
For example, if a company wants to prevent employees from using social media apps, it can configure the settings to prevent access while an employee is using the corporate network.
Warding Off Intruders
A UTM system helps a company, organization, or business prevent attacks by malicious Intruders. It does this by detecting them long before they can cause actual damage.
This feature is known as the IDS (Intrusion Detection System) or IPS (Intrusion Prevention System). The IPS or IDS performs deep packet inspection to deduce patterns similar to an attack.
Sometimes, however, the IDS or IPS will only detect the least dangerous data and allow the IT team to decide what they want to do with the threat. The system might block the attack and destroy malicious data packets at other times.
The UTM can be set to an automatic or manual configuration and is also designed to log malicious events. These logs are later analyzed to deduce different patterns and prevent future network attacks.
Antivirus software is crucial for detecting and stopping virus attacks. A UTM usually has this embedded knowledge to prevent damage to connected devices and the main system.
The antivirus works by checking signature databases that have information on all viruses. This information is used to compare and detect any similar ones that may be present in your system. These are then eradicated before they can cause massive damage.
Common threats include:
- Infected files
Firewalls are essential for a UTM system as they can scan incoming and outgoing traffic/data.
Data is monitored for phishing attempts, malware, spam, viruses, intrusions, and other cybersecurity threats.
Since a UTM firewall examines data going both ways, it can easily prevent the spread of malware from one device to another on a company network.
NGFW Vs. UTM
NGFW or Next-Generation Firewall and UTM may seem similar on the surface level, but several differences make each unique.
Even though both solutions are configured to protect your network, you may get added security solutions with a UTM that you may not need or use. Also, installing these correctly may be a bit of a hassle.
Decision-making and setup installation may cause you to pick certain UTM features over others based on what works best for your network traffic. It is only extra work to come up with a suitable combination.
NGFWs like FortiGate/Fortinet allow users to turn features on and off based on need. These are better-adapted UTM solutions, so you can only activate features you truly need.
An NGFW is also better for larger enterprises where a standard UTM installation and configuration can overwhelm them.
- NGFW was a term introduced in 2003 by Gartner.
- NGFW was initially considered a highly functional firewall. Over time, added security features were added.
- The firewall and NGFW have become interchangeable depending on a company’s needs.
What Are The Advantages Of Using A UTM System?
Let us now look at the benefits of using a UTM system so that you can decide whether it is the right pick for your company/business:
Due to being a solution for multiple security functions, a UTM is not only perfect for company networks but is also quite affordable.
There is no need to purchase software for various security requirements separately. You will also not require much staff to monitor the system as it runs independently. This way, both workforce and additional software costs are saved.
Adaptability And Flexibility
A UTM network allows users to use multiple flexible solutions to configure a network properly. This helps establish a suitable business infrastructure that is both modern and safe.
The best part is that businesses can pick the tools they need and create a combination based on network needs. Opting for a licensing model that will provide you with all the technology solutions in one set is possible. This saves both time and money invested in different security solutions.
Since a UTM is so flexible, businesses can easily use it for all their privacy and safety concerns. Automatic updates keep the system upgraded to ward off hackers and the latest cybercrime tactics.
Better Awareness Regarding Network Security Threats
A UTM is well adapted to centralize and produce speedy operational results. This is due to automatic updates and better awareness regarding network security threats.
ATP or Advanced Threat Protection allows a company’s IT team to manage advanced security threats and other modern attacks. A better capacity to ward off modern attacks is due to a UTM’s multiple threat response.
Countering an attack using several security protocols filters a network better while providing added security.
Centralized Management And Integration
A regular setup calls for installing and configuring several components like VPN, application controllers, firewalls, antivirus, etc. This can be time-consuming and may require additional staff.
With a UTM, however, everything is easy to manage right from one device or console. System monitoring becomes easier, as well as setup and installation. You will also not require additional staff to operate and monitor the system.
Individual UTM components are easy to check and update while monitoring several different threats in one place. A Unified Threat Management System provides a centralized system with multiple security features to prevent future and incoming attacks.
Quick Security Solution
A Unified Threat Management System allows data to be streamlined in a similar fashion in which it is processed. This requires fewer resources and saves money and time.
A single structure provides a quick way to deal with multiple problems without the added hassle of installing several different components to address threats.
Resources and workforce saved up due to UTM use can be used elsewhere, especially in other network-dependent tasks.
Most Unified Threat Management solutions with identity-based privacy rules use access controls based on the least privilege to simplify the implementation process.
This way, meeting regulations and rules like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS are easier.
Added UTM Features And Statistics
The most common Unified Threat Management features include:
- URL/content filtering
- User app control
- QoS (Quality of service)
A Unified Threat Management application is usually cloud-based but can also be virtual. It may also have extra security functionality to protect networks like remote routing, NAT (network address translation, NGFW (next-generation firewalls), secure web gateways, private email gateways, IPS, VPN, and even WAN (Wide Area Network) connectivity.
- A Unified Threat Management can be run from a single console, ending the need for added staff and software components.
- The Unified Threat Management market has been estimated to reach 11.17 billion dollars by 2026.
- The CAGR by 2026 will estimate at 13.41%, which makes it the fastest-growing market.
Best Practices For Unified Threat Management
Threat management teams often follow a three-part approach to ward off security threats. This includes identifying the threat, analyzing its risk, and deciding how it should be tackled.
Following a layered approach to ensure security is essential. This can be done by following the best threat management practices below:
- Put together an excellent security team and give them access to correct security tools and software. Software should be able to ward off multiple chain attacks, be given threat signals, and provide IoCs (Indicators of Compromise). Use a proper UTM to use AI, SIEM (security information and event management), SOAR (security orchestration, automation, and response), and other 3rd party apps. High functionality reduces response time and enables tracking of threats with agility.
- Threat Management teams may not be at the same location while working. Remote jobs make this even further impossible. Therefore, a unified security strategy that protects the network from all endpoints is essential. Real-time communication and an immediate response can help a team successfully prevent hacking attempts.
- Another brilliant way to ensure security is to take note of metrics. These include detection time, financial losses, neutralization, remediation, accuracy, downtime, etc. Creating reports with important metrics can help create a sustainable budget for security needs and assess parts that the system or employees lack.
- Even though metrics help analyze and assess most parts of a security situation, there may still be some things that can get hard to track. Using a single dashboard with 360-degree security awareness is your best bet to eradicate blind spots. A UTM software with a dashboard that provides added visibility and insight will help assess risks faster and identify solutions. The security teams will work confidently as they have a map that is easy to read and follow.
- A combination of machine learning and human intelligence is what forms threat management. The use of AI or artificial intelligence can help boost security practices. Not only can they shorten response time, but it also guarantees accuracy. SIEM and UBA (user behavior analytics) may be used in addition to a UTM. Disruptive technology in UTMs can help eradicate noise and expose threats in real time.
A Unified Threat Management System can be a great investment for any company looking for a single solution to all their security needs.
Not only does the system bring in tons of benefits, but it is also being updated regularly to ward off modern threats. You can reduce resource costs to half and improve your network by purchasing a UTM. Truly a win-win!