Many managed hosting solutions now offer something called unified threat management (UTM). Rather than having separate solutions for firewall, anti-virus, intrusion detection, etc., all of it is rolled into one unified solution. All of it is managed through a single interface, and ideally, problems are solved in a more comprehensive fashion.
Unified threat management combines the security functions often found in firewalls, gateway antivirus, content filtering, gateway anti-spam, load balancing, intrusion detection and other security software into one robust and centralized security system. The thinking behind it is that it removes some of the complexity of having to manage multiple security software systems from numerous vendors and also reduces overhead costs by limiting the number of support contracts and implementation expenses.
Much like converged infrastructure, UTM is designed to be plug and play, ready to deploy out of the box with an easy-to-use management interface. Users also only have one product to learn, so training and setup is much easier.
UTM also has some disadvantages. While its unified approach is good for reducing cost and simplicity, it also potentially locks the user into a single vendor. If an organization ever decides to switch to new security software, they will have to replace everything. From a security perspective, UTM can also put a network at risk if a vulnerability is found in the software itself. This would create a “single point of compromise” that could bring down your entire infrastructure.
If you decide to go with unified threat management, make sure it is from a vendor you trust that will be around for a long time and keep your system updated and secure. If they can do that, it is certainly worth it to have easier upkeep and lower costs.