A firewall is the first line of defense against hackers for small businesses. The act as a barrier between computers and threats from the internet. Firewalls are a necessity to protect your and your client’s data.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a security system that analyses and controls traffic that comes in or goes out of a network. A set of rules are defined in the firewall that allow or block traffic from traveling through a network. It also Firewalls can block virus and malware from entering your network, before they get to a user’s desktop. They can keep employees productive also. Sites can be blocked based on the types of content they provide (Media, adult content). Netflix can be blocked, but work-related sites are allowed.
Two Types of Firewalls
Software firewalls are installed on most modern desktop computers. Windows 10 has a built-in firewall. Some types anti-virus software come with a software firewall included. These firewalls may work well on a home PC, but they are costly to manage on a business network. Each computer needs to be configured and maintained separately. This can be time consuming and expensive. An employee may be able to disable the firewall on their computer also.
A hardware firewall is a physical device that sits on your network. All traffic in or out of the network goes through the firewall. The firewall reads all traffic and determines if it safe for send along. If someone tries to download a virus, the firewall will block it. Hardware firewalls are easier to manage than software firewalls. Configuration changes that affect the entire network can be made in one place and not on each computer. If the firewall needs to be updated, only one device needs to updated, instead of every machine on network.
The Necessity of Firewalls
Firewalls protect against threats, like virus and malware. As traffic enters a network, the firewall scans the traffic. If it finds a threat, it is blocks and does not get forwarded to a user’s computer.
Firewalls can monitor network for breaches also. While the firewall is inspecting internet traffic, it is looking for suspicious activity. This activity could be someone from the outside trying to access a computer inside your network. The activity will be blocked if it determines that it is not safe.
Control Internet Usage
Some small business would like to control what sites their employees are accessing while at work. Employees access streaming services, like Netflix, can slow down the entire network. Employees accessing can reduce productivity and allow threats into the network. Firewalls can block access specific sites. Entire types of sites can be blocked also, like media streaming sites or gaming sites.
If a small business accepts credit cards, they need to follow PCI compliance rules. One of the rules requires businesses to have a firewall on their network. A firewall protects customer data such as credit card information that hackers are looking for. A network breach where customer data is stolen can be expensive too. The average cost of a PCI breach is $36,000.
Price of Firewalls
Firewalls prices aren’t out of reach for small businesses. Prices range from $500-5000 depending on features and length of support.
Choosing the Right Firewall
Firewalls must be compatible with your current network. They need to be configured correctly and updated regularly to protect your business against the latest threats. It is important to contact your IT professional before purchasing a firewall.
Umbrella Infotech provides IT services in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties in Connecticut. We have helped many small businesses choose, install, configure and maintain firewalls. Contact us to discuss your company’s IT needs.