In the analysis of their findings, the students pointed out that the combination of IDS/IPS/firewall/anti-malware and identification and authentication posed two of the most important challenges with which the countries had to cope. In our enterprises, we have the same challenges. This issue of SC addresses those two challenges by looking at the latest batch of two-factor authentication tools and universal threat managers (UTMs). By definition a UTM must have a firewall, IDS/IPS and anti-virus capabilities.

Click here for the Unified Threat Management 2007 Group Test.

Click here for the Two-factor Authentication 2007 Group Test.

Two-factor authentication was a relatively stable product group when we looked at it a year ago. There are still a lot of players in the field and the offerings are reasonably consistent. I've noted some new approaches to multi-factor authentication emerging — such as identifying by where you are, as well as what you know, what you have and what you are. These approaches, as they mature, will begin to change the marketplace within the next year. However, for now, what we see are many old standbys building up stability.

In the UTM department, Mike ran several market leaders through the lab and found that the maturing process is almost complete, but complete with a twist. The UTM has begun to take on many of the characteristics of what we used to call a multipurpose appliance. In a nutshell, that means that the UTM is adding many of the capabilities of an anti-malware gateway. I discuss that in more detail at the beginning of the UTM reviews.

All in all, this was a very interesting month in the SC Labs. The products we tested were robust and complete, the attack pod matured and we got a chance to use it for this month's testing. And we're set for the next batch of products, all of which serve to continue a very complete year of testing. Don't forget to visit the new SC Labs Blog, http://sclabs.scmagazineblogs.com, where we'll talk more about the products we tested and take the opportunity to interact with you, our readers.

— Peter Stephenson, technology editor