Attacks/Breaches
5/9/2013
11:10 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Unified Threat Management Vendors Don't Excel

Our survey shows users aren’t fond of UTM appliances.

We asked IT professionals who've used or evaluated unified threat management products to tell us about their performance and features in our latest vendor evaluation survey. The upshot? Few are enthusiastic about the performance of these appliances.

UTM appliances incorporate a dedicated firewall, a URL filter, a standalone network malware-detection system and more into one device. Users just need the appliances to be good enough, while they get cost savings from not having to buy multiple threat management tools.

chart: UTM Overall Vendor Performance

Our 183 survey respondents rated five UTM vendors -- Check Point Software, Cisco Systems, Dell SonicWall, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks -- on overall performance, which included reliability and acquisition costs, and on specific features.

Cisco, Juniper and Dell had top overall performance scores of 75%. Check Point was close behind with 74%, and HP 72%. If this were a school report card, these vendors all have C averages.

Respondents rated reliability and performance as the two most important features (averaging 4.6 and 4.5, respectively, on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being "very important). No surprise there. The one surprise is how low product innovation scored, landing No. 8 out of 10 criteria. Given the rapid innovation in malware vectors and zero-day threats, it's odd that UTM product innovation isn't a priority.

On specific performance criteria, almost all of the scores fell somewhere in the mid-3 range. Cisco stands out with both the lowest score for any product category (a 3.1 in acquisition cost) and the most scores of 4.0 or better (breadth of product line, performance and reliability). Check Point had performance and reliability scores of 3.9, and a 3.3 acquisition cost score. Given that reliability and performance are the criteria rated most important, it seems that Cisco and Check Point are targeting customers' needs well, but at a price.

Price-conscious buyers should take a look at Dell SonicWall and Juniper, each of which rated most favorably on acquisition cost, at 3.7. Both companies are known for offering reliable products. Dell tied Check Point's scores in performance (3.9) and reliability (3.9) while topping Check Point in breadth of product line (3.8), post-sales support (3.7), service innovation (3.6) and acquisition and operational cost, both at 3.7.

chart: Vendors Face Off
Jack Of All Trades

When asked to rate 12 UTM features on their relative importance, respondents say anti-malware, high availability for failover, central management and URL filtering are most desirable. The lowest score for a particular UTM feature was a 3.5 for Juniper's ICAP integration and the highest was a 4.2 for Juniper's HA and Cisco's VPN termination features. In general it seems as if each of the UTM products did at least acceptably well for each evaluation.

We also break out respondents' evaluations of vendors' performance around individual features. It's worth noting that Dell SonicWall earned ratings of 4.0 or 4.1 in six individual categories, the most among the vendors evaluated. Check Point and HP each had five categories with ratings of 4.0 or higher.

UTM products do most things well enough, without excelling in any area. Which you go with depends on your risk profile, industry, budget and IT expertise.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-1421
Published: 2014-04-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Craig Knudsen WebCalendar before 1.2.5, 1.2.6, and other versions before 1.2.7 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the Category Name field to category.php.

CVE-2013-2105
Published: 2014-04-22
The Show In Browser (show_in_browser) gem 0.0.3 for Ruby allows local users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a symlink attack on /tmp/browser.html.

CVE-2013-2187
Published: 2014-04-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Apache Archiva 1.2 through 1.2.2 and 1.3 before 1.3.8 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, related to the home page.

CVE-2013-4116
Published: 2014-04-22
lib/npm.js in Node Packaged Modules (npm) before 1.3.3 allows local users to overwrite arbitrary files via a symlink attack on temporary files with predictable names that are created when unpacking archives.

CVE-2013-4472
Published: 2014-04-22
The openTempFile function in goo/gfile.cc in Xpdf and Poppler 0.24.3 and earlier, when running on a system other than Unix, allows local users to overwrite arbitrary files via a symlink attack on temporary files with predictable names.

Best of the Web