How many of us have heard the term “firewall” without knowing what it really is? I think we all know it’s some kind of online security feature, but what is a firewall and how does it actually keep you safe?
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a network security system that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic based on a certain set of security rules and protocols. This helps you filter what goes in and out of your network.
A firewall is basically a filter between you and rest of everyone else online. When you are connected online you are open to something attacking you. A firewall is designed to create a block so not just everyone and everything that get to you and your computer.
This is essential for data security.
Which Firewall is Right for Me?
Like most technology there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different types of firewalls are used for different sized organizations and you should choose based on your needs.
There is no need to spend bundles on the highest end firewall for a small office of only a couple people.
There are 3 levels of firewall protection
- Small Office
- Home Office (SOHO)
- Enterprise Class
A SOHO class can handle up to 50 users. However if you have 50 or more you may consider going up to the enterprise class. If you get too close to the capacity of the firewall then it can slow process. It can also be a smart choice if you think your business may continue to grow in the near future.
EXTRA POINT: Firewalls do take RAM and processing power. Remember that the more people in your organization, the more RAM the firewall will take. Consider this when looking at your system.
Hardware or Software Firewall?
Hardware firewalls provide a block between your computer and the public internet. All the data coming from the internet is inspected by your firewall, and only the non-dangerous data is allowed in.
Hardware Firewalls need professional installation in order to have everything working correctly without impeding the speed of daily processes.
This is the preferred option for organizations that want to provide security through a single device instead of multiple complicated pieces.
Hardware firewalls are not always the preferred method unless you have a dedicated IT department or work with a managed service provider (LINK) because of the installation and maintenance that can be required to keep everything moving smoothly.
Each device on a network has a software firewall mounted. This can monitor individual programs and keep a closer eye on what exactly is happening on one user's individual device.
This can be nice because it allows certain programs to have access while blocking others. This can help create a safer and more curated experience when using a software firewall.
The downside to software firewalls is the maintenance and upkeep. Each device needs to be mounted, set up, maintained, and updated to work correctly, while a hardware device does it all from one centralized spot.
A VPN can be a great way to provide one extra layer of security. A VPN is essentially a virtual data tunnel that keeps your IP address a secret, while creating a safer way to access information.
This works well alongside the firewall by adding just one extra layer of security. Still it’s crucial to make sure that your firewall, and VPN work together and that everything is installed and configured the correct way.
Choosing the Right Firewall
Having a firewall is basically an essential.
Not having one is just opening yourself up to an attack. It’s akin to leaving all the doors and windows into your house wide open. There is a chance that no one will notice but more than likely it won’t take long for something unwanted to find its way in.
It’s best to choose right the first time. Consider what your business actually needs and where you think your goals are most oriented.
If you still need help then our managed service team would be more than happy to help you figure out the best solution. We offer a 100% free, no obligation IT consultation that can help your business get on track. Give us a call to learn more today!