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Buying cloud-based UTM by the hour: Pros and cons

Should enterprises deploy cloud-based UTM when it's billed by the hour? Brad Casey discusses the pros and cons of the offering.

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.

This was last published in April 2014

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