The Evolution of Network Security: Unified Threat Management

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As many of you are already aware of, the world of technology is advancing at such an astronomic level that innovations of yesterday are quickly becoming outdated and archaic. The downside of all this is that exploitations to vulnerabilities are advancing at the same rate. What worked for network security last year may no longer cut it in today’s world.

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Network Security for Business

In our previous article, we mentioned the importance of having network security for business. However, the term “network security” is a rather broad one and has evolved and branched off to encompass many more components. Network security for business no longer means simply putting up a firewall and calling it a day.

For those of you who don’t know, a firewall is a network security measure that is designed to control the traffic that is coming in and out of a network. Although having a firewall set up for your network is important, it is now only one of the many systems that have been built to protect your network from threats. Some of these new preventative measures include implementing intrusion prevention system (IPS), data leak prevention, gateway antivirus (AV), among many more systems.

Unified Threat Management

This is where Unified Threat Management (UTM) steps into the equation. You can think of UTM as an evolution to the more traditional firewall. What Unified Threat Management manages to accomplish is reduce the complexity of juggling all of those new preventative measures we mentioned earlier by putting them all into a singular platform. UTM combines all of these security systems into one platform, allowing users to manage them from a single console, all from a single vendor.

Network Security Unified Threat Management
To get a further idea of how UTM manages to reduce the complexity, let’s take a look at some of the many security functions that Unified Threat Management performs.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

Also known as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), intrusion detection systems are network security appliances that have a focus on monitoring the network for any form of malicious activity. Much like an intrusion detection system which monitors traffic on the network for malicious activity, an intrusion detection system differentiates itself with the added benefit of preventing/blocking the intrusions that are detected. An intrusion detection system has the ability to take action on the malicious activity by blocking the traffic from the hostile IP address, dropping the malicious packets, as well as sending an alarm to the user.

Gateway Antivirus (AV)

Network Security Anti-virusAn antivirus software is computer software that is used for preventing, detecting and removing malicious software. Malicious software is anything that may try to gain access to a private computer system, gather sensitive information, or disrupt the operations of a computer system. Antivirus software was initially developed to detect and remove viruses, however, it eventually evolved to incorporate other duties such as providing protection against other threats. Some of these threats include keyloggers, spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and many more.

Unified Threat Management’s gateway antivirus systems utilize a two layer defense when it comes to preventing malicious software. Not only do they prevent viruses from entering the network, it creates another added layer of protection by being coupled with an endpoint antivirus. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.”

Data Leak Prevention

The purpose of data leak prevention software is to detect potential data breaches and prevent them from happening through detecting, blocking, and monitoring sensitive data from being compromised. A typical incident involving data leakage is when an organizations sensitive data has been disclosed, whether inadvertently or with malicious intent, to unauthorized personnel.

As long as technology continues to advance, ways to exploit its vulnerabilities will evolve along with it. For this reason, being up-to-date with network security systems is important for any organization or business. Unified Threat Management may not be the final frontier, however, it is a great step forward for network security.

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