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Finding the best UTM on the block

Wana Tun | Oct. 20, 2014
Here is a checklist for SMBs and what features to look out for in order to properly evaluate UTMs

Next-generation firewall (NGFW)
Traditional firewalls allow traffic through HTTP and HTTPS ports, but the NGFW is an evolved version. It has application signatures to identify traffic on a larger level, conducts deep packet inspection, identifies and blocks exploits, malware and other threats. With budget constraints, a NGFW enables SMBs to be more strategic by helping them prioritize their network usage.
Features: Application visibility and control, optimizing the use of internet connection, clear and understandable IPS, seamless VPN for remote connection

Wireless security
A 2012 Sophos survey found that while most SMBs have deployed Wi-Fi, 79 percent of respondents had doubts that its wireless networks were secure as they do not have the expertise to ensure safe wireless usage. A UTM device should reduce or eliminate the issue of enforcing consistent security policies within an organization and enable companies to centrally manage the wireless network.  
Features: Plug-and-play deployment, central management, integrated security, WPA/WPA 2 encryption, guest internet access, detailed reporting on connected wireless clients and network usage

Endpoint protection
A corporate network evolves whenever a laptop or mobile device connects to it. As SMBs start to ride on the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend, endpoint protection is necessary to check connecting devices for current updates and security policies. A good UTM should protect company-owned devices on and off the network. This can help SMBs reduce management efforts and save money through integrating endpoints directly with UTM appliances.
Features: Ease of deployment, antivirus scanning, device control, real-time reporting

Email protection
Emails are the main vector of malware, scams and spam, and cybercriminals increasingly leverage them as an entry point into the networks of unsuspecting SMBs. Email protection becomes more important than ever as these threats evolve so they do not affect the businesses of SMBs.
Features: Anti-spam, antivirus scanning, email encryption, user portal

Wana Tun is the regional technical evangelist of Sophos. 


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