The growth and profitability of small and medium-sized businesses is continuously under threat from cybercrime. With the disruption of operations for an average of seven to 10 days, security breaches can even put a firm out of business. To counteract this, businesses are increasingly turning to a single security solution that provides multiple security functions at a single point on the network – Unified Threat Management (UTM).
The Federation of Small Businesses conducted a study which discovered, that in 2014 42% of its members were victims of cybercrime in the previous 12 months, costing an average of £4000 per business. Larger businesses are usually targeted by hackers. However, due to their security defences being good and small and medium sized businesses having little or no dedicated and costly security specialists – the hackers find it much easier to go after the smaller ones.
With the simplicity of a single purchase covering every security need – Unified Threat management is widely beneficial. UTM allows all security features including firewall, intrusion detection, anti-malware, spam and content filtering, and VPN capabilities to be controlled and configured from a single management console, rather than having separate solutions for each security need. Blended threats which are combinations of different types of malware that attack separate parts of a company’s network simultaneously are effectively tackled by UTMs.
It is also possible to satisfy compliance and security regulation requirements for the industry or sector in which they operate. Of course this does require configuring the UTM properly in the first place, which may not be easy for the time-pressed smaller business.
Smaller companies can grow quickly and change their infrastructure regularly. This leads to the other option of buying a UTM through a managed service provider such as The Change Organisation who can configure the solution remotely, saving you the time and hassle.
If you do not have the capacity to handle large amounts of traffic, network performance may be affected with the use of UTMs. They process and handle a hefty amount of data, this may result in virus scans reducing network speeds by 20 – 50%. The speed can then be reduced further when IPS or other security features are enabled.
In addition to the UTM at the internet gateway, it is also vital that businesses install and manage anti-virus software on employees’ computers and on servers.
When buying a UTM, the recommendation is to look for an appliance with at least double the bandwidth of your existing connection, and make sure you can disable (and not be charged) the functionality you don’t need. What’s the point in having a web application firewall when you don’t run your own web server?
A UTM can be installed and updated easily which creates a single point of defence and reduces complexity. UTM solutions make dealing with a range of threats much easier which, in the end, will help your business in the long term.