Low-cost appliances rule the roost

I've just completed a feature on SME security for a well-known IT security magazine and have been amazed at how the cost of security appliances have fallen in the last 12 months.

It's now possible to get a unified threat management (UTM) appliance for as little as 300 quidlets - that's around a third of what some vendors were charging this time last year.

A classic case of this is the Check Point VPN-1 UTM Edge with ADSL device that includes all the necessary components for remote offices, including ADSL, WiFi, and print server security in a single device.

The real beauty of devices like this is you set 'em up and pretty well forget it, as the device updates itself across t'Internet.

In addition, provided you pay a regular support fee to a vendor, they will do all the necessary diagnostics on the appliance, even to the extent of letting you know by phone when it is disconnected.

The big question, of course, is where this leaves users of software-based IT security? For standalone PC users, software is the most economical option, but for small businesses - it has to be an appliance...