What Businesses Need to Know About UTM Web Filtering

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As malicious threats become more common and complex and the market for security-focused solutions continues to grow, choosing which type of web filtering will best suit your business needs can be difficult. Many businesses rely on UTMs to simplify the task of providing multiple security layers by providing an all-in-one approach. However, business closures, take-home devices, and remote working all expose the limitations of UTM filters in protecting employees and monitoring productivity. According to Entrepreneur, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center bureau has reported a 300% increase in cybercrime instances since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.


What is a UTM?


A UTM (unified threat management) is a security-focused device that contains multiple security functions. For example, email filtering, firewalls, antivirus, intrusion detection/prevention, and internet filtering. This contrasts with traditional security architectures that use multiple security solutions to perform multiple functions.


What does that mean for businesses?


Unified threat management (UTM) solutions include many security functions in a single product, making it attractive to organizations looking for security solutions. Purchasing a unified device can mean one procurement process and one vendor to deal with. Also, with an all in one package UTMs provide less devices for IT admins to manage, therefore simplifying their management processes.


What they don’t tell you about UTMs


  • Most UTM providers are large companies which specialize in one or two core areas
  • UTM products start with a single function, adding features to “fill-out” their functionality
  • Customer service/support can suffer due to limited contact and longer response times
  • Licensing models and appliances are expensive to purchase and maintain
  • Product roadmap is virtually set in stone with little customer influence
  • Single point of failure and performance issues related to one device performing all functions


What is a dedicated web filter?


Web filtering is any technology product or service that manages a user’s access to internet content. Restrictions are based on policies the operator defines, which can include a combination of categories (for example Profanity and Extreme) specific websites (for example, cnn.com) and time-based restrictions (no use of social media sites during class time). A dedicated web filter is a product that is specifically designed to provide web filtering. It may also include additional features that compliment filtering. Instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, it aims to be the master of one, therefore ensuring it can support filtering functionality in a variety of settings.


Which type of web filter is right for me?


If web filtering and managing online activity of people in your organization is a priority, then a simple UTM is not your solution. Web filtering benefits that may not be found in UTM devices may include:


  1. Delegated administration that enables management to be delegated outside the IT department.
  2. Multi-tenant capabilities that enable service providers to easily monetize their filtering platform.
  3. Reporting capabilities designed specifically for web filtering, and the type of data under review.
  4. Flexible deployment options on virtual/physical infrastructure, without appliances.
  5. High performance filtering engine designed for speed and accuracy.
  6. Dynamic, real-time AI categorization in multiple content categories and languages, without relying on outdated lists of URLs.


Get a Free 7-Day Productivity Assessment


UTMs provide a compelling solution for network security, combining many disparate functions in a single product. However, in settings where web filtering is a priority, it pays to consider a dedicated filtering platform. The good news is that if you need, or already have a UTM, you don’t have to choose one or the other. Netsweeper can be deployed in physical or virtual environments specifically tailored to the need of your network. Existing underutilized infrastructure can be re-purposed for web filtering as your network grows. Therefore, Netsweeper can be scaled incrementally, reducing the cost of less scalable solutions.


Contact us today to get a free 7-Day Productivity Assessment and get a true picture of the internet activity and productivity within your business.