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Not All Things to All People
UTM is one of those concepts that sounds great in theory, but is messy in practice. The six products tested all had their quirks, and we would have found show-stopping issues on all of the boxes if we didn't have a lot of support from each vendor.
While Fortinet and SonicWALL clearly have the best collection of features and Juniper the weakest, the others all had their good points, and the differences among each of the products is more a matter of taste and judgment than anything else.
Weigh the ability for multiple people to manage these boxes with how you organize your security staff. If you have separate groups managing firewalls and antivirus, for example, you might be better off choosing the products that separate their security policies.
You will also want to examine how a UTM deployment for your branch offices--which makes a lot of sense and can reduce your overall support burden--will be balanced with the products that you use or will use on your headquarters network. While Check Point and Juniper have solid solutions for the headquarters, they have less satisfying and less mature UTM product lines. Think carefully about what functions and modules you want to consolidate, and how you will go about managing the appliances before you invest heavily in any solution.
This was first published in June 2007