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

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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7877
Published: 2014-10-30
Unspecified vulnerability in the kernel in HP HP-UX B.11.31 allows local users to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3051
Published: 2014-10-29
The Internet Service Monitor (ISM) agent in IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) for Transactions 7.1 and 7.2 before 7.2.0.3 IF28, 7.3 before 7.3.0.1 IF30, and 7.4 before 7.4.0.0 IF18 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof s...

CVE-2014-3668
Published: 2014-10-29
Buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in the mkgmtime implementation in libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in the XMLRPC extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via (1) a crafted first argument t...

CVE-2014-3669
Published: 2014-10-29
Integer overflow in the object_custom function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.c in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via an argument to the unserialize function ...

CVE-2014-3670
Published: 2014-10-29
The exif_ifd_make_value function in exif.c in the EXIF extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 operates on floating-point arrays incorrectly, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (heap memory corruption and application crash) or possibly exec...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.