Unified threat management – multi-function firewalls

Unified threat management – multi-function firewalls

You bought an all-in-one printer. It seemed like a good deal, right? All that multi-function goodness for only a few dollars more than the ink for your current laser printer. Bet it didn’t take long for the good feeling to sour. Jammed paper, smeared faxes, and the like.

Printers gave multi-function a bad name. But firewalls may bring multi-function back in vogue. Specifically, I am looking at the Fortinet Fortigate products. Fortinet has cornered the market on unified threat management (e.g., multi-function firewalls). These devices ship with built-in firewalls, routers, vpns, intrusion detection, WiFi, and more.



Use case 1: novice who needs to get up and running quick. The unified threat management gateway answers that need. The device is preconfigured and integrated. There are options to set, of course, but the time to get the system online is hours rather than weeks.

Use case 2: the dyed-in-the-wool security people. These folks have the time and budget and knowledge to continue to build dedicated security appliances. Such people have an edge over defending their networks for all these threats. You do the cost benefit and if you’re in a mixed role like mine, doing security operations and network operations, I wonder if it’s worth it.

Use case 3: the pragmatic security people. Compared to dedicated point solutions, the unified threat management gateway provides a majority of the security feature-set at a fraction of the cost. Pragmatic security folks can then redeploy their resources to addressing more pressing security concerns.


Needless to say, I am sold on Fortinet’s approach. Consider that every 18 months, silicon is pushing more bytes. We can either get better performance from a piece of hardware, or more functionality from the same hardware. Fortigate means simply doing more with less.

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