As the name implies, a firewall is an outside barrier to your network and a necessary part of your network security arsenal. A firewall has the capability to both fortify your cyber kingdom, keeping unwanted information or predators out, and virtually lower the drawbridge to allow wanted information to enter. Using the ‘firewall’ that comes with the Internet connection you ordered is NOT recommended (for firewall recommendations see below).
You are probably familiar with a spam filter. You might not have known it was doing its job until it inadvertently tagged a message and you had to sort through your junk folder. It can sometimes be a nuisance, but is working hard to weed out anyone who is fraudulently requesting your personal information. Even though the settings are challenging to get exactly right, that email ‘firewall’ is protecting you.
A Taller, Thicker Wall
Now imagine a firewall that does more than simply filter email. A network firewall controls all access—both the input and output of all network traffic. In other words, it protects your whole computer system from external hacks and can control the type of information being sent off the network. Do you have clients’ social security numbers, driver’s license numbers or other personal information that you want to protect from being emailed off your network? All of the approved firewalls listed below have DLP software (data loss prevention). This software can stop and quarantine outgoing emails containing this type of information. There are other types of software that run on firewalls to control different types of information from leaving or entering the network.
Who needs a firewall?
Basically, anyone who has a computer should use one. However, it is absolutely necessary for any business to protect their information with a business grade firewall. Firewalls from vendors such as Sonicwall, Watchguard, Cisco and Palo Alto are all examples of quality business grade firewall choices. Netgear, Linksys and the like are not on the approved list.
You’ve heard of, or might even have been a victim of, data breaches from companies who hold your sensitive, personal information. If you are a business owner, you never want to risk the loss of your customers’ private information. It is incumbent on you–the business owner or executive–to take all realistic steps to safeguard your client’s information.
Hardware is only half of the solution
If you are thinking that buying a gadget is the all there is to securing your data, you are wrong. Well, half wrong. The hardware is only as good as the other half of the formula–the software that runs it. It’s not enough to buy it, set it, and forget it. The software is only good if it is updated constantly to fight against the latest viruses, hacking techniques, and predators. There is a yearly fee associated with having a quality firewall, that is a firewall that grows with the current threat landscape. You must pay recurring fees for your security to have adequate coverage. All good security products work from a subscription-based model.
HD Tech is your NOC (Network Operations Center)
An additional layer of the firewall is the actual armored sentries, if you will, patrolling the kingdom’s walls. That’s right, real people watch the information that’s passing through the firewall.
At H&D Technologies, we are the NOC for all of our clients. We’re able to see all of our clients’ network activity from one central location. When a problem arises, we can push out the appropriate updates to every client in real-time then update clients proactively.