There are the obvious reasons for having a firewall – such as preventing viruses, malware, and other cyber threats and attacks – and there are the “indirect” benefits of having a firewall in place. These may be, for instance, the money saved from the downtime avoided, as well as the ability to meet compliance standards, and thus not incur the penalties that come with violation of them. The list of direct and indirect benefits could go on and on, including keeping sensitive data safe (not just client data under HIPAA, PCI, or SOX compliance laws), but also in a proprietary sense of not having your secrets stolen, sold, or otherwise exploited. The point being, you need to have a strong firewall in place for multiple reasons, and have it monitored, checked, reinforced, and updated as needed by a qualified IT services provider.
Types of Firewalls
There are two main types of firewalls: network firewalls and host-based firewalls. Network firewalls, such as Microsoft’s software-based Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server or the hardware-based Nortel Networks Alteon Switched Firewall System, protect the perimeter of a network by watching traffic that enters and leaves. Host-based firewalls, such as Internet Connection Firewall, protect an individual computer regardless of the network it’s connected to. You might need one or the other—but most businesses require a combination of both to meet their security requirements.
Examining Firewalls in Action
It’s a proven fact that those computer networks that go without a firewall (or with inadequate, outdated firewalls) will suffer significantly increased chances of incurring malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks. Firewalls are a key part of keeping networked computers safe and secure. All computers require the protection of a firewall, whether it’s the thousands of servers and desktops that compose the network of a giant corporation, a traveling businessperson’s laptop connecting to an unsecured wireless network, or your mom’s new PC with a dial-up connection to the Internet. No matter what type of computer set-up you have, going without a firewall will likely prove detrimental sometime down the road.
Firewalls—whether a small, free host-based firewall or a multiple-thousand-dollar enterprise firewall array—won’t make your computers 100% impervious to attack, unfortunately. Firewalls, like physical locks and walls, create a certain amount of barrier to attacks, blocking someone trying to take control of your data network. However, by making it difficult for attackers to get into your computer, by making them invest lots of time, firewalls make you a less attractive target. Firewalls very effectively block most attackers from compromising an individual computer. But, it’s impossible to fully prevent every intrusion. All software has bugs, and it’s possible for an exploiting party to find an obscure bug in your firewall that allows them to pass through. In short, there’s no such thing as absolute security. But, having formidable firewall protection in place puts you at a close second to absolute protection – and affords you all those aforementioned benefits as well. Accordingly, how much you invest in firewalls should be inversely proportional to how much you stand to lose in case of a successful attack.
Get the Firewall That Works Best for Your Enterprise
If you feel you need an IT consultation to evaluate the health of your current network firewall, then contact QualityIP, a proven leader in network security and providing IT services. Call (330) 931-4141, or email us at [email protected] today to speak to a qualified IT consultant and network security expert for information on how to get the right firewall in place for your enterprise.