A firewall protects corporate data from malware and external intrusions and ensures a company’s applications are installed. It is therefore an essential component of IT Security. Below are a few tips that will help you make the right choice.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a piece of hardware installed between your internal network and the public Internet which is intended to prevent intrusions from accessing your network. The firewall checks traffic going in and out of the network and blocks the entry of malicious attacks.
It performs those scans by receiving the manufacturer’s definition files. These definition files are essentially patterns that can be compared with the firewall to determine what’s coming in and out of your network. Additionally, firewalls can detect viruses that run or attempt to break your network based on certain description files.
Relevant Features to Consider While Choosing a Firewall –
Since there are so many features packed into each and every firewall, here’s a short list of some of the essentials you can look for in the firewall you pick.
Observe Encrypted Traffic
Often, It can have features to inspect encrypted SSL traffic. It collects the encrypted traffic when it reaches the network, decrypts it using an SSL certificate, checks it to make sure it is what it says it is, re-encrypts it using the same SSL certificate, and sends it back out. Cybercriminals also use encrypted traffic to escape detection when delivering malware, so being able to inspect encrypted traffic is much more of a “need to have” function than a “good to have” feature.
The new breakthrough in firewalls is using a method called sandboxing to prevent malicious content from being accessed. When a user clicks on a link, It sends a warning to the end user and sends the link to a service that opens and monitors the file in a virtual environment. If the file or link turns out to be malicious, then it sends word back to the firewall, blocks the file, and avoids downloading it.
With today’s ever-increasing Ransomware crisis, the sandbox is the biggest security technology breakthrough seen in some time.
Built-in High Accessibility
It is the regular backup feature that you would need if you can’t completely risk losing your firewall. Basically, if for any reason your primary firewall shuts down, it will shut down to a secondary firewall that will resume operational capabilities.
This function is not too critical if you are a small company that is able to work for a short period of time without a Firewall while it is being restored.
However, if you are a large service provider with hundreds or thousands of customer data to protect, you would need a high-availability built-in to avoid hazardous disclosure if your primary firewall does not work.
Website and Spam Filtering
Some firewalls have a filter for the website inside them. They allow you to Block websites based on individual website names and/or categories. Also, firewalls may perform SPAM filtering duties and inspect the traffic that comes through your email and ensure that the passage is secure.
- Control wireless internet access built into or inside the appliance itself;
- Wireless Access Points (WAPs) monitor those are connected to it.
This allows control of wireless communications across the network from tablets, smartphones, laptops, and even wireless printers.
Also, It can have an integrated antivirus scanner built into them. They can scan web pages, files, and links to stop viruses from entering the network and causing end-user problems. You may not need that feature if you already have a separate antivirus program.
Scale and Reach When Choosing a Firewall –
You should know how many people will be using your firewall before selecting it , and how big you expect your organization to expand in the near future. It will help you decide how complex your firewall program will be.
Below are three programs that you can use, depending on the business size and scope:
Network firewalls are designed to simultaneously protect multiple computers and are much harder to penetrate as they are on a separate host system.
Since malicious traffic is going to go through all of the networks to get to the host computer, a network firewall will effectively detect and prevent malware and viruses from getting in.
Enterprise firewalls are designed for enterprises with complex networks and large numbers of users.
These usually integrate VPN channels, built-in high availability, and provide the most advanced monitoring and reporting systems.
The Host Firewall
Host-based firewalls are programs that secure a single device and can run only from machine to device. Each separate system would have to have its own Firewall based on the host.
They are simple, low-cost, and flexible, yet highly vulnerable – providing minimal protection against cybersecurity threats.
Choosing a Firewall is Just Half the Real Battle –
Some IT companies are starting to offer options for the Firewall-as-a-Service. These will vary by company, but all typically include monthly payments for a firewall with real-time monitoring and updates (instead of one, large upfront fee). It is usually a safer choice for businesses that don’t have the money to keep a firewall installed all the time or don’t want to pay for a business-grade firewall for the high, up-front costs.
The wireless router you purchased from the large box store doesn’t actually count as a full-fledged firewall. To keep you and your data protected, firewalls have to come from a Reputable Company with support and real-world security features. Just as important is keeping your firewall up-to-date, if it doesn’t have the latest definitions, protecting you doesn’t do much. If you still aren’t sure which firewall is right for you, please contact us and we can help you find the right option.
The only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build is to be vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. If you’d like to know more about how your business can benefit from managed services, just give us a call, we are here to help.
Your firewall is the virtual wall that separates the Internet from your network resources. Learn how to choose the best firewall.