What is a Unified Threat Management System? A UTM is an all-in-one information security approach in which a single converged platform (application or appliance) provides multiple security services. This can resolve implementation and integration challenges that might result from using different products from different vendors. A UTM may include network firewalls, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-virus, intrusion detection and prevention, email and web content filtering, NAT (network address translation), and business VPN (virtual private network). Using a UTM simplifies information security (infosec) management, providing one central management and reporting point instead of multiple appliances from different vendors.
While UTM solutions solve some network security issues, they also have drawbacks. The main issue is that since a UTM device offers one single point of defense, this means it also has one single point of failure. For this reason, many organizations choose to supplement their UTM appliance with a second software-based perimeter that will stop any malware that manages to get through or around the UTM firewall.
A UTM might not provide the best protection in every area, but it can solve a lot of problems at a lower cost than you would pay to use a different vendor for each security service. If you have a small to medium-sized company, you may not have a very large IT team that can configure and manage a security solution that is made up of point solutions. UTMs are much easier for a small (even one-person) team with modest security skills to manage.