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What is Unified Threat Management (UTM)?

  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 29 Sep, 2021

In this article, we will learn about Unified Threat Management (UTM) and how it protects our computer against external threats and malware. Unified Threat Management (UTM) is the process to tackle the attacks and malware threats on a network so that the safety of all the devices is maintained during the connection. The various examples of Unified threat management include:

Features of a UTM:

The various features of a UTM are:

  • Unified Threat Management (UTM) is software used for administration and security for networks that are vulnerable to harmful malware and virus attacks that may harm the systems of all the people connected to that network. It prevents this spyware and malware to enter the network and any of the devices connected to that network.
  • UTM is an effective resource that enables developers to secure their internet networking on their computers along with saving them a ton of time, money, manpower, and expensive IT infrastructure.
  • UTM works on effective algorithms and security modules that detect and alarm all the threats and attacking signals in advance of the attack that is being planned on that network. Also, UTM provides effective solutions to these threats so that they may cause as little as possible harm to the network and its clients.
  • UTM enables content moderation and filtration to block spam content that may lead to violence, crime, or child safety issues on their network.
  • UTM in advance comes with the latest definitions of anti-virus software that may block harmful malware, spyware, etc. on their computer networks. It has a database of pre-defined viruses in the system and it automatically blocks them and removes them from the system.
  • It enables efficient and faster processing of data that is being transferred over the network. When UTM is enabled, the time for processing data reduces, and now the transfer process is more secure and encrypted on the network.
  • Unified Threat Management also deals with the retrieval of lost data over the data. The transferred data is being continuously monitored by the network administrator. Even in case of data theft, it automatically recovers back all the data and it alarms the system in advance of the data theft attack and blocks that attacker.
  • UTM firewall is capable for scanning and removing the viruses, spywares, malwares and Trojan horses etc. at the same time. The incoming and outgoing data all together are being continuously monitored and tracked to keep an eye over all the incoming threats to the network in form of malicious data.
  • Unified Threat Management system comes already with a browser extension feature that tracks the user on the network and alerts them when a particular website is misusing their cookies by sending spyware and malicious malware to their system. Sometimes, it automatically blocks those websites that don’t come with https secure network connection.
  • Nowadays, Gmail and other service providers use UTM extension in their services to mark and remove spam generated emails and alert the users about the same. These extensions scan the message of those emails and checks that whether they contain malicious spywares in form of links that could be used to track the members of that network.
  • UTM comes with incoming and outgoing intrusion detection algorithms to agree with the terms and conditions of connection to that network. Also, it makes the work easier as no we don’t need different specialized software for solving different purposes.

Working of UTM:

UTM firewalls are of two types :

  • Stream based UTMs 
  • Proxy based UTMs

In Stream based UTMs, each device on the network is physically connected to a network security device that enables to scan the networking data and looks for viruses, spywares, malwares or any attacks from the websites like DDoS attack, DNS Amplification attack and Intrusion attacks.

In Proxy based UTMs, a network security software is installed and enabled like anti-virus, or connected to a private VPN or using IPS systems. Also, a proxy server is installed for safety purpose so that all the data is first transferred to that server and after that to all other devices after it gets thoroughly scanned by that server as a security measure.

Difference between a UTM and a Firewall:

  • The responsibility of a firewall is just to scan the incoming and outgoing data through the computer for malicious viruses, spywares and malwares that may corrupt the system.
  • Whereas a UTM is responsible for not only managing a particular computer, but instead it scans all the computer systems and servers on that network. It tracks and monitors all the transferred data on that network and looks for malicious objects.
  • UTM has much broader use than a Firewall. UTM is also used by service providers like for spam email detection, intrusions, filtering traffic, managing devices on the network etc.

Disadvantages of UTM:

UTM has a lot of advantages, but at the same time, it has some quite a lot of disadvantages :

  • UTM does not satisfy with the privacy of the network member sand users. For securing the nodes on the network from data breaches, it continuously tracks the traffic and the networking history of all the members of the network.
  • UTM leads to slow performance of the processor, as the spyware tracking software capture majority part of the computer’s memory in those security processes, thus, leading to low efficiency in the actual work on that network.

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