Every time you pick up a personal computer from a vendor, chances are that it will have an extremely basic firewall pre-installed. These consumer-grade firewalls leave much to be desired, especially in the business environment. You’ll want to make sure that your organization is equipped with enterprise-level solutions designed to protect on both a fundamental level and an advanced level. To do this, you want to take advantage of a Unified Threat Management solution.
Often times, businesses are aware that they need protection, but don’t necessarily know what they are protecting from. We’ll explain what a UTM firewall does, and specifically how it protects your business.
What UTMs Accomplish
Intrusion detection and prevention: A UTM firewall can monitor network traffic to detect threats or violations of policy. If the firewall detects anything out of the ordinary, it can block the activity from proceeding and notify the administrator.
Deployment of anti-malware tools: Malware is troublesome at best, so your organization needs to take proactive measures to keep your systems secure. This includes updating your security solutions with the latest threat definitions, which a UTM can automatically accomplish as needed.
With application awareness, your organization can monitor application and resource usage in real time. This helps you notice when something is out of the ordinary regarding the behaviors of your infrastructure and loadouts. This extra layer of security can help alert administrators to problems that might otherwise slip through.
When you have multiple servers, load balancing allows them to distribute traffic in a way which keeps them from getting hit with too many requests at one time. This includes failovers, so if a server fails, any traffic destined for the server will be redirected to the secondary one. For example, if your email server were to experience troubles, the load balancer would redistribute the traffic so that it’s balanced between them. If one server is completely taken down, all of the traffic is redirected.
Delivery of secure virtual private networks
Data is often vulnerable while it is in transit, so VPNs take advantage of encryption to protect traffic and data traveling into and out of your network, even when accessing it remotely. Even if hackers do manage to steal data, it will be so difficult to decipher that it won’t be worth their effort.
Complete ID access control
You can easily allow access to your network on an IP or MAC address basis. This helps you limit your infrastructure access to only devices that have been approved by IT. All you need to do is whitelist the MAC addresses of approved devices, and provide the password to the connection.
Content and spam filtering
If you are using a UTM, you’ll also have access to content filtering and spam blocking--both of which are extremely important for enterprise-level security. You can block access to dangerous or wasteful websites, or keep annoying spam messages out of your inbox in the first place.
Traffic monitoring lets your infrastructure determine priority, based on what the traffic is. For example, VoIP generally needs high priority to ensure that calls aren’t dropped. If you notice that these problems happen more often than you’d prefer, consider reaching out to your ISP about upping your bandwidth.