UTM – Unified Threat Management – Part 1 of 3

This article is part 1 of 3 in a series written by Dennis Jones of Netcore for the Waikato Business News “going digital” supplement.

Unified Threat Management:

Given the constantly escalating threat landscape, and our high dependence on the internet it is important for today’s businesses and organisations to protect against threats in a best practise manner.  Almost every day we read in our news media about how somebody has been hacked, cracked or virus attacked. (Remember the Waikato DHB conficker virus debacle)?

Unified Threat Management (UTM) is a lot more than just Antivirus Software installed on the devices in your office network. In addition to Antivirus software there is a need to manage microsoft security patches, spam, web filtering,  teleworkers,  data “leakage”, interoffice connectivity and a host of other issues.

Today I’d like to address an area of vital importance to business managers and owners.

Employee productivity.

Proponents of modern management methodology, understand techniques such as Lean, Six Sigma, the Toyota Way, and well know that the focus these days is on reducing waste and encouraging creativity. These practises apply not only to manufacturing; use of Information technology can create large amounts of wasted resource in respect of employee time.

In an organisation of say ten computer users the potential exists to easily waste $60,000 a year in payroll costs alone, assuming each employee were to spend 30 to 45 minutes per day, unproductively using the web (e.g. facebook, twitter, trademe, personal shopping and banking, etc). For those businesses that use social media as a marketing tool, or have a need to relax the policy for some employees, the flexibility of UTM is that it can easily be setup to allow access for individual users or even opening all/some access up at specific times (e.g. lunchbreak ).

The cost of an appropriate UTM solution in this situation would show a 1700% annual return on investment, and free up employee resources for more creative activity. Even if your employees do not waste that 30-45 minutes and maybe you feel it’s only 10 minutes, the decision remains a no brainer especially given all of the additional security benefits of UTM.

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