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Unified Threat Management: The Best Offense for Defending Your Data

February 23, 2011 - 1 Comment

A UTM solution provides comprehensive protection for your small business network and data

In many sport games, the best defense is a good offense. In order to protect yourself from threats, you need to proactively build your team so that the opposing team never gets a chance to score.

This idea of proactive protection—of good offense—applies to your small business. Any network is vulnerable to hackers, viruses, worms, and other threats. You need to build your network security “team” to protect against these threats and reduce the potential loss of company data, revenues, and employee productivity.

A recent survey by Trend Micro found that small businesses are 23 percent less likely to have systems in place to prevent data leaks than larger companies. What are you doing to protect your data?

Covering your assets

At the very least (at least I hope the very least), you probably have a firewall as well as antivirus and antispam software protecting your network and data from malicious acts. Basic protection is better than no protection. However, unless you’re vigilant about regularly monitoring your security devices and updating your software, your company network and data are still vulnerable to attack.

What can you do? Consider an all-in-one solution, often called a unified threat management (UTM) solution, which combines several security functions into a single appliance to protect your network at the perimeter. All-inclusive UTM solutions typically include the following features: firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, antivirus and antispam, and web content filtering.

Here are five advantages to using a UTM appliance to protect your business:

  • Eases administration: With a UTM appliance, you have only one security solution to manage instead of multiple systems. Many UTM devices also provide an easy-to-use browser-based interface. All of this adds up to time and money savings for you and your business.
  • Prevents intrusions: An integrated intrusion prevention system (IPS) identifies possible intrusions to your network and stops them, preventing further risk. This ensures that your network stays up and running and available for business traffic.
  • Blocks dangerous communications: Some UTM solutions, such the  Cisco Small BusinessSA500 Series Security Appliance with IPS and ProtectLink, can protect against dangerous peer-to-peer and instant messaging communications. This not only increases network security but also improves employee productivity.
  • Provides email and web protection: Some UTM appliances can inspect incoming emails for a variety of threats, including email viruses, spam, spyware, and phishing attacks. In addition, UTM systems can help filter URLs and web content, blocking employee access to dangerous sites and inappropriate content, thereby limiting potential threats and some legal liabilities.
  • Increases remote access security: UTM appliances usually provide VPN functionality, which allows mobile workers and business partners to securely remotely connect to your network over the Internet without putting your company data at risk. Some solutions provide enhanced remote access security; for example, the SA500 Series includes stronger authentication capabilities to confirm users’ identities before allowing them network access.

When it comes to protecting your company’s data, the best defense is a good offense and a UTM solution can help.

How are you protecting your company against unknown and increasingly sophisticated threats?

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  1. Does Cisco have any plans to get in to the UTM space? Is this blog post a trial balloon?