One question we’re often asked is: ‘What’s a firewall and why does my business need one?’ Well, in short, a firewall acts as a kind of gatekeeper between the internet and your IT network. But modern firewalls do so much than this!
Here at RoundWorks, we’re partners with WatchGuard. They supply state of the art firewalls – also known as Network Security Appliances – that are capable of heuristic (self-learning) behaviour. These super-clever bits of kit use databases containing info about previous attacks, plus real-time analysis of threats and risks, to predict which web traffic should be allowed into your network and which should be shown the door. Impressive, eh?
But whilst we’re BIG fans of WatchGuard, we appreciate there are lots of different firewall types out there. These include both hardware and software options to suit personal and business needs. Most businesses will require a hardware firewall, like the ones supplied by WatchGuard, to ensure they’re fully-protected – but this won’t always be the case.
All sound a bit technical? Don’t worry. It’s our job to understand how firewalls work, so you don’t have to! But you do need to know why your business needs one. Let’s take a look.
You’ll reduce the risk of cyber attacks
As noted above, a firewall is there to control the traffic that goes into and out of your network via the internet. This helps keep out cyber threats such as malware and viruses, so your business data stays safe from encryption and theft. A properly-managed firewall will be regularly configured and updated to recognise the latest threats, so it can block them before they wreak havoc with your data.
Without a proper firewall, your business is at serious risk of lost productivity and unexpected costs due to cyber attacks. What’s more, you could find yourself in breach of the new Data Protection regulations, GDPR. These require you to have robust systems in place to keep personal data safe, and to test them regularly.
Your network will be monitored for security breaches
Of course, a security breach can still happen even if you have a firewall. But a business-class Network Security Appliance can monitor your systems and alert your network administrator as soon as a security breach or risk is detected. (This could be caused by employee error as well as cyber attacks by criminals.) Any problems can be spotted at an early stage, giving you the chance to nip them in the bud and minimise any damage or data loss.
You can control how employees use the internet
Accidentally or otherwise, there’s a risk of team members introducing a virus or other threat to your network by visiting an infected website or opening a malicious email attachment. Your firewall can be set up to help prevent this by banning access to high-risk websites such as gambling or pornography (not that your staff should be visiting these at work anyway!)
On top of this, it’s important to train your staff about IT security and make sure they understand how to spot threats such as phishing attacks.
It’s not just about security, though. You may prefer your staff not to use the internet for personal use at all and ban access to sites such as social media or online shopping. And if certain team members don’t need online access to do their jobs, you can stop them from using the internet at work. It might sound a bit harsh, but your business really needs to come first!
You’ll have centralised control over the firewall
As you may know, each individual piece of hardware in your infrastructure probably has its own firewall. This offers basic protection, although it won’t be enough for most businesses. Also, there’s no central control, so each firewall has to be configured and maintained individually.
Unless your IT infrastructure is very basic, this could cause you a lot of time and hassle. But if you don’t do it, your systems will be laid wide open to the new strains of malware and viruses that are constantly being developed by cyber thieves. There’s also the risk of individual users fiddling with their security settings, which could compromise your entire network.
A proper firewall takes away these problems by providing a centralised solution that your network administrator or Managed IT Support provider can manage and control.
Still not convinced?
You might think you’re OK without a firewall, perhaps because all your data is held in the cloud, or you’ve had no problems to date. But believe us, you’re playing with fire if you take this approach. Cyber attacks on small and medium-sized companies are on the increase and with only basic protection, you’re putting your business at risk. Human error, or even deliberate sabotage by a disgruntled employee, could pose a threat, too.
RoundWorks can help with all your IT security needs
We understand that you may not know the exact level of protection that your business needs. But that’s where RoundWorks IT can help. We can assess your existing infrastructure, as well as your current and future business needs, and recommend an appropriate IT security package.
Whilst this could well include a fully-managed, business-grade firewall like WatchGuard, there are other solutions that will help give your business the best possible protection. These include managed email and web filtering, managed anti-virus, managed full disk encryption, and back-up and disaster recovery solutions. Please browse our website for full details of these services.
Like to know more? Get in touch today!
Our friendly and experienced team are ready and waiting to discuss your IT requirements. why not contact RoundWorks IT today and find out how we can help your business?