The lowdown on security appliance

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Security appliances

What is it? A security appliance is simply a dedicated hardware device that runs security software, improving performance and reducing the processing load on servers.

What do they cost? A small network firewall can cost less than $1,000, complete with software and up to a year of updates. Spend between $3,000 and $5,000 and you can add anti-spam and antivirus perimeter defense for a small office. For heavier traffic loads or an enterprise network, the sky's the limit on price, but all these appliances need regular updates to keep up with new threats.

Must Know Info? The appliance can reduce overall server load, thereby extending the server's usable life. Moreover, you may not have enough security management personnel to configure and manage standalone programs for a small network, so an integrated appliance may be the only viable solution. Ultimately, a single point of security can simplify support and help pinpoint vulnerabilities.

Any drawbacks? Some. With an appliance, there is a single point of failure for all your perimeter security. Compromise that and hackers can gain full access to your network. An appliance is also likely to have known and uniform configurations that can become a hacker target.

If the appliance uses software from multiple vendors, there may be some overlaps and/or gaps in security.

Plus, running programs on a UTM that is different from what you run on desktops may increase management headaches.

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