Should Your SMB Install a UTM Firewall?

More and more small and medium-sized businesses are utilizing network-connected devices for their operations, but this also means there’s an increased risk of different cyber threats. Hackers and cybercriminals find and exploit security holes, so the best thing that business owners can do is to have security systems and optimized hardware to protect them – like a UTM firewall.

So should SMBs install a UTM firewall for their business? Yes, because unified threat management (UTM) products offer multi-layered protection for organizations. They’re a good option for SMBs before they offer hardware consolidation, easy patching and management, all-in-one contact and support, and lower costs for the company. 

4 Reasons Why UTM Firewall Good For Your SMB

In the early days of network security, firewalls merely served as a filter that monitors traffic on ports and IP addresses. It eventually evolved into an important part of cybersecurity systems as it keeps track of the network connection status that passes through the appliance.

But a UTM firewall (or UTM) does this and a little more – it’s also capable of developing different security functions like malware protection, application control, intrusion detection, proxy, and more. This makes UTM a great option for SMBs who have a limited budget or no in-house IT teams to take care of their cybersecurity needs.

Here are some of the most important advantages of using a UTM appliance for your SMB:

  • Hardware Consolidation – Administrators only need to purchase, manage, or deploy 1 UTM product for the entire SMB. In a slightly larger setting, a small number of UTM appliances are enough to cover everything so there’s no need to purchase multiple devices for the SMB.
  • Easy Patching and Management – Emerging threats and blended threats are utilized by hackers to target different parts of the secure network simultaneously. This kind of cyber-attack is a huge problem for the organization if many devices are affected. A UTM product offers centralized management so administrators and IT experts can manage a wider range of threats to both local and remote environments using just a single console. Patch management also becomes easier because there are only a handful of devices that need patching instead of multiple devices from different users.
  • All-In-One Contact and Support – The company only needs to hire and work with a single UTM vendor to gain help from their support department. This helps foster a solid relationship that also promotes continuity. Gaining the license of a single UTM product makes management easy even as the SMB undergoes changes and expansion.
  • Lower Costs for the Company – An all-in-one product like a UTM appliance has a lower price point compared to multiple devices meant to strengthen the cybersecurity system. This is perfect for SMBs who only have a limited budget but are looking for a way to add a protective layer to their system. 

The Problem With Using UTM Firewall for SMBs

While UTM products are the solution to many operational and administrative security issues that SMBs face, they also have a few drawbacks like having a single point of failure. Since UTM combines many security features into one convenient product, it only takes one thing to go wrong for the system to stop working or for the malware to enter the system.

To help mitigate this kind of cyber risk, SMBs are encouraged to have a secondary failsafe service like a software-based firewall. The good news is that many UTM appliances available today are enterprise-ready and designed to avoid a single point of failure situation. All you need to do is pick the right UTM product for the company.

Another common issue when using a UTM firewall is the hit on the network performance. When all the features of the UTM are turned on, other functions and applications in the network slow down. While recent models of UTM products have already resolved this issue, SMBs still need to pay attention to the performance rate of the network and perform necessary tests to see if the specific UTM product is the right pick for them. 

What to Look For in a UTM Firewall

UTM products were originally designed to help SMBs have an all-in-one security box that’s easy to install and operate. A large portion of the UTM customer base is still made up of SMBs, so there’s definitely something that works for your company in the market. Here’s a list of things to check when selecting a UTM product: 

1. Performance Specifications

Performance specifications are different depending on the vendor. Some of them even offer the products in a series since models and specifications like firewall and VPN throughput rates change all the time. Dell SonicWall and Barracuda are the best ones for SMBs in terms of performance, but the former also offers high-end products for large businesses. 

2. Features

UTM products include a VPN, intrusion prevention system, firewall, malware and spam protection, network-based or cloud-based centralized management system, content filtering, and support application control. Some vendors also offer web filtering and other features, but it’s important to only take what you need to avoid paying extra on components that you don’t really need. 

3. Prices and Licensing

Licensing, pricing, or subscriptions are one of the most complicated parts of UTM appliance shopping that SMBs have to deal with. Some vendors may include UTM features as a separate subscription or part of a bundle that you don’t need. Make sure to read what the UTM license includes so you get exactly what you pay for.

Most of the time, SMBs choose the terms of their license. It can span for 1 to 3 years while other vendors may offer their services to the company for up to 10 years. All UTM vendors have the standard support package at first with the opportunity to add premium support at the right cost. 

Protect Your Business With Support By Abacus

SMBs who want to upgrade their current IT and cybersecurity infrastructure should start looking at the top-rated UTM vendors when doing their research. But if you’re still clueless about picking the right software or product to boost your network security, our team at Abacus is always ready to help you out. We offer a wide range of comprehensive IT solutions to help, protect, and support our clients and their businesses.

Call us today to know more about our services and how we can help your business out.

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The Abacus Blog Team
At Abacus IT, our blog is authored by a team of IT experts with a wealth of experience in various facets of technology. Our primary blog author is a seasoned IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. With a deep understanding of cybersecurity, cloud solutions, network infrastructure, and IT management, our author provides valuable insights and actionable tips to help you optimize your IT operations.

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