We’ve mentioned before that firewalls should really operate as one of your main lines of defense against cyber attacks. Many startups and small businesses just getting off the ground aren’t sure exactly what benefits installing a firewall would provide — an NCSA study shows that only 4% of Americans fully understand the concept of what level of protection it can provide to any organization, whether small business or large enterprise. 44% of respondents actually said that they have zero understanding of a firewall at all, meaning that they are unable to describe the basic functionality of the device.
Today, we’ll walk you through Firewalls 101 and why you should ensure your business is protected.
Any device that connects to the internet is intensely vulnerable. A few common cyber threats include trojans, malicious scripts, key loggers, exploits that attack unpatched security vulnerabilities, and ransomware.
If these threats aren’t dealt with immediately, end users and any clients or customers you business may work with become vulnerable to identity theft and malicious attacks as your company’s essential data and infrastructure are targeted. Malware, for instance, typically targets those who shop and bank online, which is not uncommon with your average client, customer, or even employees, who may shop online during lunch breaks. Firewalls, in this case, help to mitigate that threat before it ever has the ability to make it into your internal network.
A firewall acts as a real time shield against these malicious threats.
No matter what your business does, your office will constantly send and receive data packets whenever any device is connected to the internet. With a firewall in place, these data packets will be filtered before they reach the PCs on your network, making sure that no malicious data finds its way through. Firewall administrators can even set up granular rules that can either block or allow packets based on a set of specific conditions known as Firewall Rules.
Your firewall serves, essentially, as a kind of filter preventing hackers from getting in and stealing confidential information — think passwords, account numbers, Social Security numbers or other employee data. Any business that operates without a firewall is a business that will become a target.
It’s just a matter of when.
A basic firewall offers very basic protections. For your business, you may need protection against more advanced threats, and so it’s important to tailor your firewall to match your company’s needs. You’ll need it to be designed not only to monitor incoming data, but also outgoing traffic. Advanced firewalls allow you to set up encrypted remote connections, which will allow your users to work from home or any off-site location using a VPN, without risking your organization’s security. You may find your business needing to utilize truly high-end firewall features, like Intrusion Prevention, Gateway Antivirus, or Content Filtering.
A solid firewall not only protects your devices from unauthorized access, it also provides your business with the advanced features it needs to meet and exceed the best practices that are recommended by industry audits.
Sophisticated firewalls are constantly updating their definitions, strengthening the protection they are able to provide. Every business needs to utilize this line of defense, because there will always be a new cyber threat just around the corner, and it’s essential to have an updated defense system capable of taking on each new threat as it’s invented.
Even with a good, solid firewall in place, malware may still be able to slip through, so make sure you have a cyber security system in place that works as a team, with enterprise antivirus programs running alongside firewalls and other security programs or services to ensure all those vulnerable spots in your system are covered.
The most expensive firewall isn’t necessarily the right one for your business. You’ll need to work with a trusted brand that provides the security features to help you achieve the level of security that is necessary for the safe operation of your business. For example — some firewalls provide two-factor authentication services when anyone connects to the corporate VPN. This provides an added layer of protection, to help protect from password theft. While this is often essential in very large enterprise situations, smaller businesses may find it to be overkill. Content restriction is another benefit of utilizing a strong firewall. They’ll help to control what data is allowed inside your network’s gateway, helping to keep employees on track (and off Facebook) and malware from finding its way into your system.
At BACS, our experienced employees are ready to help you choose the newest technologies essential to the function of your business, whether you’re a Silicon Valley startup just getting off the ground or a large enterprise with industry-specific requirements. We’re based here in the San Francisco Bay Area, but work with clients nationwide to provide exceptional Managed IT Services, including Security Services, Data Backup, Disaster Recovery, Business Technologies, and more. Reach us by phone at (650) 887-4601 or contact us online at any time to learn more about firewalls and why they’re essential for every business today!