Q

When to use a unified threat management system

Network security expert Peter Wood explains why a unified threat management product may be only one of many tools that an organization should use to fight off malware threats.

I am tempted to install a unified threat management system instead of the software products I currently run. UTM...

seems to offer me exactly what I need -- regular updates and zero management effort -- and would appear to take a huge load from my shoulders. We are a company with 250 users. Are there any disadvantages to adopting UTM, or would you recommend it?

Whilst UTM is very attractive, it should not be considered as the only product for protecting your enterprise. Mobile users will still need antivirus, personal firewalls and full-disk encryption. Desktop users and servers will still need local antivirus as a minimum. A unified threat management system certainly reduces the management of perimeter defences, but on the downside, you are putting all your eggs in one basket by becoming dependent on one vendor. Best practice (as with firewalls) is to always have at least two products to protect against exploits in one or the other.

This was first published in July 2009

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