Unified threat management (UTM) or unified security management (USM), is a solution in the network security industry, and since 2004 it has become established as a primary network gateway defense solution for organizations. In theory, UTM is the evolution of the traditional firewall into an all-inclusive security product able to perform multiple security functions within one single system: network firewalling, network intrusion prevention and gateway antivirus (AV), gateway anti-spam, VPN, content filtering, load balancing, data loss prevention and on-appliance reporting.
The term UTM was originally coined by market research firm IDC. The advantages of unified security lie in the fact that rather than administering multiple systems that individually handle antivirus, content filtering, intrusion prevention and spam filtering functions, organizations now have the flexibility to deploy a single UTM appliance that takes over all their functionality into a single rack mountable network appliance.
In theory, the worldwide UTM market was approximately worth $1.2 billion in 2007, with a forecast of 35-40% compounded annual growth rate through 2011. The primary market of UTM providers is the SMB and enterprise segments, although a few providers are now providing UTM solutions for small offices/remote offices.
In reality starting from small / remote offices to SMB to Enterprise organizations, the need for firewall and augmenting Peripheral IT Security functions like anti-virus, anti-spam, intrusion prevention, data leakage prevention etc. are inevitable and basic need to begin with.