How is a UTM Next Gen Firewall Limited?
One of the most common terms that you might hear in the network security industry is Unified Threat Management, also commonly known as UTM. A decade ago, UTM began to become popular in the network security industry as being the main network defense solution that was employed by organizations and in order to protect themselves against incoming threats. Simply put, a UTM product is basically an evolved version of the standard firewall, which has grown to become one of the most powerful, all inclusive defense solution that is able to provide a range of different security functions within a single appliance. Some of the most common solutions that a UTM product provides includes firewall the network, creating a network intrusion prevention system, restricting spam from entering the gateway, balancing the load, preventing data leaks, anti virus capabilities as well as on appliance reporting. Because of the vast range of different functions that can be carried out by a UTM product, most companies generally tend to prefer them over other individual offerings, such as fire walls and others. However, as robust as UTMs sound and as important a role as they play in providing security to networks, there are several of different weaknesses that can be exploited by hackers.
One of the most prominent weaknesses that UTMs suffer from is the fact that updates are spaced quite far apart. Generally, depending upon the company that has created the UTM, the updates can range anywhere from between a couple of months to a year, per se. In the internet world, this translates to roughly a century. That is not acceptable at all. Often times, updates are usually released after proper penetration testing and vulnerability scanning has been carried out in order to determine the areas in the network that can be exploited. And when these reports/ findings are given out to the company for remedial purposes, it takes anywhere between one to three months to create a specific patch.
Another important weakness faced by UTMs is the fact that they aren't specialized. Imagine a Swiss Army Knife, and a dedicated lockpick set. Which would you choose for opening an unknown lock? Of course the lockpick set, because it fits the task better. However, a UTM is designed to include all elements of security in to one product, which means that it fails to pay adequate attention to one single element. As a result, a carefully disguised virus, or a spamware program can enter through a UTM.
Performance constraints also prove to be a major issue. Because the UTM runs a single CPU and is expected to carry out a host of different tasks all at once, it is susceptible to crashes or becoming overtaxed, and as a result, getting overloaded. On the other hand, individual appliances make use of separate CPUs and are dedicated to providing security, which ensures that none of the systems get overloaded. Some of the most common weaknesses of the UTM Firewalls.