Network Security Never Goes Out of Style

There are a lot of fads in the IT industry today. The “Cloud” is the most popular fad to emerge in the last 5 years and for good reason. The cloud provides businesses with cheap data storage, wide spread data accessibility, unprecedented collaboration capability, and robust uptime availability. It’s hard to imagine a world without Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Apps, or <Insert Cloud Service Here>. The “Cloud” has changed the game for many small businesses the world over, and it’s hard to argue it’s a bad thing.

Here today, gone tomorrow

With the emergence of new technology, older technology gracefully fades away over time. We’ve seen this throughout history with the horse and buggy giving way to the automobile, postal mail declining in favor of email, and home phone service falling to cell phones. My 12 year old daughter asked me the other day why I still use that “old school” phone in my office. She was referring to the 2.4 Ghz cordless phone I still use from time to time (with a VoIP service, granted). I laughed, saying that the phone wasn’t that old and certainly wasn’t “old school”. After all, cordless phones were all the rage in the late 90’s. However, that’s the fate of most technology. What’s wildly popular today will be near extinction a decade later.

Network security in the “cloud”

More and more things are moving to the cloud these days, including network security services. Cloud based anti-spam (Mcafee, Google), anti-malware (OpenDNS), and anti-virus are powerful tools with a whole lot of upside. It’s hard to make a compelling argument against these technologies and the benefits they provide to small business and startups. As services such as these take over the market, the emphasis on traditional network security (Firewalls, gateway anti-virus, etc.) has started to wane. Some businesses have chosen to jump ship on traditional network security services in favor of cloud tech, but this line of thinking is dangerous and irresponsible. What happens when a cloud data center goes down? What if your cloud provider goes out of business? What if the cloud gets hacked? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and be prepared to answer, because they have all happened.

Security in Layers

The “Cloud” may have changed the network security game, but traditional security methodology still applies. The best network security approach is the same today as it was 10 years ago. Layered security is the best defense against intrusion and data loss. Desktop antivirus, a gateway firewall with antivirus, anti-malware, intrusion prevention, content filtering, and VPN are fundamental building blocks of a bullet proof network security infrastructure. You build a strong foundation, and then layer cloud services on top of that for increased protection and capability.

Network security never goes out of style

Traditional firewalls and more recent UTM firewalls are proven, time tested, highly refined instruments of network security. They have been forged in the fire for two decades and continue to play the most essential role in securing a network. Networking has changed over the years, and the gateway firewall has changed right along with it.

UTM firewalls – The best of both worlds?

UTM firewalls provide the best features and security in today’s network security world. Thanks in large part to open source firewall projects pushing the boundaries of firewalling and redefining what a firewall should be, the market has started to move away from traditional “cisco” firewalls and move more into “Unified Threat Management” or “UTM” firewalls.  UTM firewalls provide services such as gateway antivirus, anti-spam, content filtering, and VPN as well as a traditional stateful NAT firewall. Many UTM firewalls give you the best of both worlds by integrating with cloud services for additional security services. Untangle NG Firewall and Endian UTM integrates with the Zvelo cloud for web content filtering and anti-malware protection, for example.

So the next time you are thinking about network security remember that UTM firewalls are still relevant, beneficial, and a secure foundation in which to build your network security fortress.