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Unified Threat Management (UTM): A Practical Security Toolkit

July 13, 2022

5 minutes

A hockey goalie with a blue uniform stands ready | Unified Threat Management (UTM): A Practical Security Toolkit | DOT Security

UTM or unified threat management is a centralized solution that brings multiple security tools together. Depending on the size of a business and its industry, multiple technologies are needed. It can be hard to know which technologies and parameters to choose.

Therefore, UTM is a great tool for businesses looking for comprehensive security solutions. It is a unit of multiple tools that safeguard a whole network.

"If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, you will be hacked." – Richard Clarke

A unified threat management system can be a device in your network, and it can also be cloud-based. It has a single point of management monitored by an administrator or cybersecurity team. Cloud-based UTM units can also be scaled when a business expands.

Benefits of Using Unified Threat Management (UTM)

60% of small companies go out of business within six months of being hacked.

A UTM solution can provide a business with:

  • Flexibility: You can pick the security technologies tailored for your business’ needs. Since companies can differ in size, industry, clientele; a unique solution created for your unique business will offer the best protection.

  • Reduced Costs: Because UTM is a unified security product, a business does not need to rely on multiple providers and solutions to create a cybersecurity package. Also, due to the use of a centralized security product, the power costs involved with many security devices is reduced.

  • Centralized Management: A Unified Threat Management solution can be controlled and monitored through a single console or by a single team. Therefore, visibility is increased and responses are faster.

Types of Unified Threat Management (UTM) Technologies

Unified Threat Management (UTM) Technologies Table: Anti-malware, data loss prevention, application control, web content and url filtering, firewalls, virtual private network, intrusion detection system, and intrusion prevention system.

Each of the technologies of a unified threat management solution cover a different aspect of a network. A UTM solution for a business can include:

  • Anti-Malware: Malware detection and response technologies that can be programmed with known malware to respond to them. It also includes sandboxing—a sandbox in the computer acts like a trap, surrounding the malware. The malware can run inside the sandbox, but not interact with other applications in the network.

  • Data Loss Prevention: Software that classifies and monitors businesses’ confidential data or data regulated by compliance and identifies cybersecurity compliance violations. This solution can set off alarms when an attempt to share classified data takes place.

Related Blog: Network Security Vulnerabilities to Watch Out For

  • Application Control: A UTM device can have a while list of allowed applications as well as a blocked list. Since some apps are created with malicious intent, or have vulnerabilities that can be exploited, application control takes care of these risks.

  • Web Content and URL Filtering: This solution filters a website’s content for security violations and malicious hosted files. An organization can also restrict certain URLs.

  • Firewalls: Gates set up to filter data passing between your network and the internet. A firewall can filter incoming and ongoing traffic, making sure no malware or unwanted data enters your system. Scanning outgoing traffic means it can detect malicious acts from inside a network too.

Related Infographic: Cybersecurity Attack Vectors: What to Watch Out For!

  • VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) acts like a tunnel, encrypting activity and creating a private network over a public network. This security and privacy tool is especially useful for companies with remote workers since it adds a layer of security over unprotected or public Wi-Fi connections.

  • Intrusion Detection System: An intrusion detection system (IDS) is a tool that provides ongoing network monitoring. It analyzes data patterns that can point to threats and identifies when these threats arise.

  • Intrusion Prevention System: IPS or intrusion detection system, on the other hand, is an IDS that can respond to a malicious threat after it has been detected. An IPS acts by reporting and blocking a threat and it can be customized with selected security policies.

Each of these unique solutions works in conjunction with the others to make up a robust, multilayered and customized security program.

Related X: What to Know About Ransomware Protection and Recovery

Bottom Line

A unified threat management solution can be the answer for a small and growing businesses that cannot invest in a full in-house IT and security team.

With many customizable tools, UTM systems can be tailored for different industries, compliance needs, and hybrid workspaces.

Consider protecting your company and your assets with a cybersecurity solution such as a UTM that is aligned with your business needs and can protect sensitive data without wasting other resources.

A UTM system can cover your business, but if you work with third-party vendors, ensure that these partnerships do not create vulnerabilities. Read our Checklist: Vendor Cybersecurity to Avoid Third-Party Risks to learn about third-party partners’ best practices.