How many devices are connected to your company’s network? While you might not know the exact number, you know there are many. These include your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, as well as your employees’ computers and mobile devices. So what’s the problem?
The more network-connected devices there are, the more places hackers can attack. And make no mistake, cybercriminals have proven their ability to infiltrate an alarming variety of defense perimeters and endpoints; just look at the 2017 Chipotle, Verizon, Equifax, and Deloitte data breaches.
Worse still, they are not just targeting large enterprises, but also small- to medium-sized businesses, whose improper security protections make them easy targets. Suffice it to say that now it’s more important than ever to fortify your IT security.
In an ideal world, you would deploy security solutions from numerous vendors. But in reality, that requires a lot of time and money since you’ll be needing multiple administrators to configure, manage, and monitor all your devices.
What you need is a single, dedicated system that can perform all necessary security functions without breaking the bank. This is why you need to consider unified threat management.
What is UTM?
Unified threat management (UTM) is a platform that integrates many security functions into a single system. Its most common security features include firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention devices, anti-threat scanning tools, and virtual private networking apps, among others.
With a UTM system, you’ll be able to utilize multi-layer, integrated network, data, and application protection that is easy to manage since everything can be configured and monitored in one console.
Here are some of the key advantages that UTM systems have to offer:
UTM allows separate security systems to work together seamlessly. This means you can have your internal IT administrator or outsourced support provider deploy, configure, and manage one appliance rather than multiple ones. This not only minimizes the number of exploitable endpoints, but also makes patching a lot easier.
Intrusion detection and prevention
As its name states, this system identifies suspicious activity lurking outside your network, logs the pertinent information about this activity, determines whether there are any menacing threats and if so, prevents their access and sends you a report. Think of it as a bouncer stationed at your network’s front door who will deny entry to anyone who looks like they might damage your company.
Unlike anti-virus scanning, anti-threat scanning protects not only against computer viruses, but also sophisticated malware like worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware. Real-time threat identification and elimination allows you to work without interruptions and minimizes any possible downtime that can occur from an attack.
Data loss prevention
No matter how careful your employees are, they can accidentally send sensitive data outside the company network. Or worse, they can do it intentionally. This is where data loss prevention helps. It controls what information end users can transmit thanks to software that monitors, detects, and blocks sensitive data while in-use on a device, in-motion on the network, and at-rest in data storage.
Application, web, and email filtering
Application, web, and email filtering software are standard features of modern UTM systems. Each solution features a firewall that controls the input, output, and accessibility of each application, web page, and email message based on the firewall’s policy configuration. This helps determine whether all or some of the content should be blocked from the user due to its malicious nature.
As a result, this removes spam and prevents malware and other harmful content from entering users’ computers.
Virtual private network
UTM allows you to create a virtual private network (VPN), which lets you send and receive information across public or shared networks with the same security measures you have in place on your private network. It grants internal employees secure access to your corporate intranet and connects remote workers securely, too.
Bandwidth throttling and load balancing
With a UTM system, you’ll be able to control network traffic and allocate bandwidth so as to avoid congestion. This is called bandwidth throttling, which is like a speed bump in the road that regulates traffic by slowing it down.
A load balancer, on the other hand, is another useful feature that will help you increase the capacity of your applications by redirecting network traffic to minimize traffic density and maintain the speed and efficiency of your network. This in turn allows your applications to run more smoothly.
UTM not only improves the security of your network, but also its performance. At PC LAN TECHS, we review our clients’ IT infrastructure to identify security risks and provide customized UTM systems that exceed their expectations. It’s just one piece of a much broader security framework, which you can learn about in our long-form post Everything SMBs should know about cybersecurity in 2018.
We also conduct regular security checkups so they can truly run their business worry-free. If you’re interested, give us a call today.