The unified threat management definition refers to network hardware, virtual appliances, or cloud services that offer a range of cybersecurity protection at a single point in a network. Typically, unified threat management products act as one-size-fits-all security solutions capable of protecting enterprise networks against a wide range of today’s most pressing and pernicious cybersecurity threats, including malware, denial of service (DoS), and ransomware.
For businesses that prefer not to overburden their IT resources, or can’t support a complex system of different cybersecurity devices, unified threat management products are a popular investment—and a strategic one. By consolidating cybersecurity features traditionally managed by multiple appliances, services, and hardware into one comprehensive package, unified threat management platforms allow enterprises to secure their networks, even in a fast-paced and increasingly dangerous online environment.
Indeed, as cybercriminals become more sophisticated and organized, it’s calculated that the cost of cybercrime has surpassed $600 billion worldwide—and it’s incumbent upon business owners, IT team leaders, and key stakeholders to invest in cybersecurity systems that make sense for their size and budget. Thankfully, organizations are taking note: experts project the market for unified threat management platforms will reach a value of more than $6 billion by 2022.
For businesses assessing whether or not unified threat management protection is right for their enterprise, investing sooner rather than later could save money. In fact, IBM announced that the average cost of a data breach in the US has reached nearly $8 million. While this figure will vary based on the scale of your clients’ organizations and the value of discrete digital records, it’s clear that small and mid-sized businesses, as well as large organizations with branch offices, should be learning more about how unified threat management can bolster their cybersecurity operation.
Unified threat management devices can take a number of forms. Firstly, they can be a hardware device that physically plugs into a network at a single point of entry, acting as a gateway to a client’s network and combing through incoming information for potential threats. In this model, network connectivity devices are linked to a unified threat management product onsite, requiring installation and maintenance—either by business owners, IT teams, or managed services providers (MSPs).
Next, unified threat management platforms can be implemented as virtual machines. With this kind of unified threat management offering, clients run unified threat management on virtual infrastructure with a given hypervisor, which can simplify the installation process. This is a plus for clients who don’t have the bandwidth to handle that on their own, or who are looking for MSPs that can get a unified threat management platform up and running quickly without having to worry about too many compatibility issues.
Finally—and this is a rapidly growing and especially promising area for this market—unified threat management platforms can be provided as cloud-based services. In this version, third-party vendors that specialize broadly in cybersecurity and more specifically in unified threat management platforms make unified threat management devices available in the cloud. Businesses then access these platforms via the internet, allowing them to easily integrate unified threat management security protection into their network.
In the networking space, a unified threat management system is known for folding multiple security functionalities into one easily scalable, affordable option. unified threat management solutions are similar to next-generation firewalls but have additional capabilities, layering security measures like email protection and web server protection to guard enterprise networks at a single gateway.
In order to comb through vital data, unified threat management systems take a number of approaches. One of these tactics involves sampling information as it passes through unified threat management devices, whether physical, virtual, or cloud-based. The device then analyzes that incoming data, comparing it against known patterns of questionable or malicious behavior to assess any possible threats. This strategy is called flow-based or stream-based inspection.
Another method involves unified threat management systems acting as a kind of proxy. This means that platforms extract and cache data as it enters the unified threat management system, inspecting it in the process in order to determine whether it contains cybersecurity threats. If the information does not, it’s allowed to continue into an enterprise network. If it does contain a potential threat, that content is stopped before it enters the network and users then receive information with related security alerts.
For organizations that need adaptable and streamlined cybersecurity solutions, unified threat management protection offers a considerable array of essential features.
For instance, unified threat managements typically include elements such as network firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention mechanisms. While these aren’t revolutionary features in and of themselves, unified threat management systems leverage next-generation technology to make these traditional security features even more effective. They do this by adding additional layers of protection that cumulatively monitor and neutralize increasingly complex threats. As bad actors blend their attacks, combining multiple threats in one, unified threat management technology is particularly suited to stop them all at once.
For unified threat management security, additional features can range from VPN support and data loss prevention to antispam services and web filtering. Fitting a combination of disparate cybersecurity functions into one easily managed solution makes small and mid-sized businesses safer and helps large organizations with multiple locations coordinate security protocol in a uniform manner. By combining these technologies in a single location, it’s easier for businesses without large IT departments or deep tech budgets to secure the perimeter around their network without having to waste too much time on questions of interoperability.
If you’re looking to offer your clients competitive unified threat management solutions, make sure you’re recommending comprehensive, cutting-edge platforms. For example, SolarWinds®Threat Monitor allows businesses and MSPs to monitor, respond to, and report security threats in near-real time. An intuitive dashboard unites next-generation features—including SIEM capabilities, a network and host intrusion detection system, and active response capabilities—all over the cloud.