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What Is Unified Threat Management?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Unified threat management is a software solution used for advanced network security. Multiple programs are generally included in one package, allowing users a simpler way to get maximum protection. These programs often include things like antivirus software, spam filters, content filters, and firewalls.

There are many benefits of having a unified threat management system in place, the main one being a more streamlined operation. Instead of having to buy several different software packages, users can purchase a single package to protect an entire network of computers. This allows for one simple download, and all programs are automatically compatible with one another since they are all within the same software application.

One of the most important unified threat management software pieces is antivirus software. When a virus, Trojan, or other suspicious file enters the network's system, the virus software contains it or destroys it so that it cannot do any damage to the computers or their files. Without proper antivirus protection, any network would likely fall victim to viruses eventually. Viruses can be sent through emails, downloaded via the Internet, and transmitted by hackers.

Another component of unified threat management is firewall software. This is similar to antivirus software, but instead of destroying an already existing virus, it helps to prevent viruses from entering a network to begin with. Firewalls work by blocking certain types of websites and other suspicious locations on the web. This acts as a first line of defense.

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Unified threat management software systems may also include spam and content filters. A spam filter prevents messages from senders the recipient doesn't know from being read, thus preventing any virus threats that may be lurking in his inbox from causing any harm. Content filters prevent web browsers from viewing sites with specific types of content on them, or specific URL's.

Several types of unified threat management software systems are available. Most are capable of handling network security, although it's always good to check before making a purchase. Prices can vary widely, ranging from moderately priced to very expensive. In most cases a higher price does mean better protection, but it is not always necessary to purchase every feature that is available. Small networks may only need a simple package with basic virus and firewall protection.

Both online and brick and mortar retailers sell unified threat management software programs. Online versions may be easier to purchase and download, since no discs are generally used. They may also be lower in price, but this is not always the case.

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