What is a Firewall?
You may be thinking, what’s a firewall? And that’s a valid question. A firewall is a software or hardware device that monitors and handles traffic on your network. Think of it as a bouncer or security guard at a venue. The firewall stands at the door to your network and keeps an eye on things to make sure nothing untoward is coming in or out. You may have come across the built-in Windows Firewall before if you’ve pottered around in your PC’s settings. This would be a basic example of a software firewall, however it’s nowhere near competent enough to handle the protection of your business network. Enterprise grade firewalls offer a robust suite of tools that ensure your network traffic is secure and operating efficiently. Because of this, they often come with plenty of configuration options. This allows you to optimise their settings to work in your best interests.
With the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, firewalls have had to evolve to remain strong in their ability to effectively manage business networks and their massive internet usage & traffic. A new breed of firewall, dubbed a UTM (Unified Threat Management), features an advancement in firewall technology. These UTMs are a cutting-edge option for those who want to ensure that there is no room for any threat to their network. They aim to harness the power of machine learning to, as the name implies, provide a united front against cyberattacks.
Why do you need a firewall?
As firewalls constantly monitor your internet traffic, they are able to flag any threats to your network. Say one of your employees accidentally clicks on a phishing email link, your firewall would see that this link is doing something it shouldn’t. This may be perhaps trying to download a nefarious virus from the darkest depths of the web. It would then block this traffic from doing anything within your network. Thus creating a bubble in which your business and it’s data remain untouched. A firewall is like windows on a car. If you drive through a swarm of bees without windows, it’s not going to end well for you! But with windows, the interior of the car remains safe and sound. It’s not just phishing attacks that a firewall can stop though. There are a multitude of threats which they can prevent, including dreaded ransomware!
Remote Working Benefits
One excellent benefit a firewall provides amidst a COVID-19 landscape is the ability to allow for remote access. With many offices still ticking along despite being largely unoccupied for part of 2020, it’s important for the security of their data to remain intact. Firewalls are able to identify that users trying to gain access to your server. This can be from remote locations are indeed employees and are allowed to do so. This means your employees can work largely uninterrupted. They’ll be able to work with data as if they were within your offices. This still maintains a strong and secure remote connection. This will help to stop attackers intercepting any connection and potentially gaining access to your business network.
What’s also great from a remote working perspective is that firewalls allow you to prioritise certain types of traffic, using a system called Quality of Service (QoS). This helps to manage traffic by making sure that whether your videoconferencing or downloading a large file that every runs smoothly. If your employees are using VoIP systems to handle phone calls from home, than a firewall and it’s QoS systems are great for making sure the network traffic coming from the phone call is stable. This is crucial for making sure you’re reachable and can be heard on the phone. This is vital if your team is spread apart! The consumer counterpart for QoS would be if you had someone in your household streaming on-demand content whilst you were trying to work. QoS would help balance the load so you’re not left with minimal bandwidth!
Is it worth the investment?
If you’re on the fence about whether or not a firewall is a good investment for your business, the answer should be a resounding yes! A firewall is inexpensive in contrast to the recuperation costs following a network breach. They are the unnoticed heroes of your IT infrastructure, requiring you to worry little, as it takes care of itself. Many modern firewalls & UTMs are designed to with futureproofing in mind, as they’ll constantly update themselves to help beat the most current threats. A firewall is a must if you want to elevate your business’ security, utilising a solution that provide multiple benefits in terms of not just security, but functionality as well.
Firewalls are an absolute must for any business that has any sort of sensitive data. To understand how your business can make the most out of a firewall, contact us on 01843 572 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.