Sophos Ltd. recently made its unified threat management product available on an hourly basis. Under what scenarios would it make sense for an enterprise to employ a cloud-based UTM by the hour over a flat-fee billing model? Are there any cons to cloud-based UTM?
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First, let me offer a little background on unified threat management (UTM). UTM became increasingly popular about a decade ago when several companies began to realize the value in consolidating multiple security features -- such as firewalls, intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, antimalware, virtual private networks and content filtering -- into one single network device. As processing power became more abundant, UTM finally became feasible and the end result has been the development of a robust information security product segment.
With regard to adopting the hourly billing model, I would like to point out that unified threat management is no different than most other services that offer hourly billing versus flat-fee billing -- for example cell phone usage, Wi-Fi hotspot usage and even attorney consultations. If your organization is contemplating on adopting an hourly billing service over flat-fee billing, you should calculate the worth of both billing models to find out which option offers the best return at the best price.
If your company has a lot of resources within the cloud that require constant attention and/or management, such as a Web hosting infrastructure, cloud-based UTM by the hour may not be the most cost-effective solution, even if it does offer the coverage your business needs. In this case, paying a flat fee may be best. However, if your cloud resources require minimal management interaction, as is the case of a pre-configured cloud-based firewall, then I would say that hourly cloud-based UTM does make sense monetarily and may be the best approach for your business.
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