Many small businesses believe that they don’t need a firewall because “theta’s only for bug businesses” or they think “we’re too small for anyone to bother targeting”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Every business should have a firewall. In fact, small businesses are the perfect target for hackers specifically because they are often caught unaware or do not haven’t taken the time to adequately protect themselves.
There are an increasing number of cyber-attacks every year and they are becoming more and more sophisticated. Unfortunately, over 60 percent of small businesses will go into administration after a significant cyber-attack. That’s why it is essential to protect your business.
Do I Still Need A Firewall Even If My Business Is In The Cloud?
Another mistake made by many small business owners is to believe that their reliance on cloud-based platforms negates the need for a firewall of their own, since “surely the cloud hosting provider protects our data?”. While the data in the cloud does indeed have added protection, the computers from which it that data is accessed are still unprotected.
What Is A Firewall And How Does It Work?
Your first line of protection against a world of online threats is a well maintained and configured firewall, which may consist of hardware, software or a mixture of both.
The main task of a firewall security is to prevent the entry of unauthorised connections and malicious software into your network.
A firewall does this by monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic. The firewall then determines which traffic to block or which traffic to allow based on predetermined cybersecurity rules.
This is vitally important for companies with remote workers, which need to securely connect from outside locations to their organisation’s network.
Other Than Block Traffic, What Else Do Firewalls Do?
Successful firewalls do a lot more than simply prevent access to your data by hackers. A good firewall can also be used to display accurate information on the traffic on your network, both in real time and as historical data.
This data can be extremely useful for complying when troubleshooting problems or investigating evidence of a potential data breach. Your Firewall can also be used to enforce a company policy on internet use such as blocking access to social media or gambling sites at work.
Firewalls Need Looking After
A firewall’s effectiveness is only as strong as the guidelines you give it. The firewall should never be approached with a “set it and forget it” attitude. New online threats are discovered every day and as such many firewall have frequent updates. It is important to protect yourself against the most dangerous threats by updating your firewall regularly.
Falling behind the maintenance of firewalls will leave an organisation exposed to dangers such as open ports or unauthorised VPN tunnels. Vulnerabilities like these make it easier for would-be hackers to circumvent your existing security measures.
A firewall needs time and budget assigned to it to make sure it is an effective tool. If you’re going to install it and then forget it, you might as well not have one at all. It was only in 2017 when the WannaCry ransomware crippled users, banks and even hospitals around the world. What was the number one reason that businesses were hit during that attack? They hadn’t updated their software.
Hardware and Software Firewalls
There are two primary types of firewalls: client-side firewalls and appliance-side firewalls.
A client-side firewall is a piece of software that is installed on your device and monitors the traffic to and from that machine specifically. An appliance-side firewall is a physical hardware device that sits between your device and the internet.
In smaller network environments where multiple devices have to share a single internet connection, these hardware devices are often used. There are generally built-in firewalls for the domestic routers (which are sometimes till used by small businesses).
If you rely on a hardware firewall it is a good idea to still have a client-side firewall installed on any device that you would use outside of the office or home. For instance, if you have a work laptop that you regularly use to connect to public WiFi hostpots while you commute you would want to make sure you definitely had a firewall installed.
We hope this guide has been enlightening. If we’ve done our job you won’t be reading this far as you’ll have run off in a panic to check that you definitely do have a firewall installed already. If not, we recommend speaking to your IT department or a manged IT services company about installing a firewall and other ways that you can protect yourself from online threats.