Firewalls sign on a brick backdrop.

Everything You Need to Know About Firewalls

“Firewall” was once commonly understood to refer to a wall that helped prevent the spread of fire. Now, it’s most often used to describe a security measure for computer networks.

Still, the basic premise is the same.

A firewall is security-focused part of a computer system that’s designed to protect your network from a metaphorical computer fire – such as invasion from external network threats that can cause damage your internal network and, in essence, burn it down.

As a small business owner, you need to make certain that your network’s firewall is good enough to protect your network and data. How can you do that?

By understanding the basics of the firewall. Let’s take a look.

The Firewall Basics

Firewall software and hardware operate to filter information from the “outside” that goes into your internal system. Without these filters, your systems have no protection from anyone operating on the internet or other external networks.

They could access your system with ease and steal information, or make hidden bridged connections to your network. Without a firewall, nothing on your system would be safe or private from prying eyes (and connections).

A firewall is programmed with security rules that prevent unregulated access to your internal network. The rules might control employee access to websites and also prevent files leaving the company over the network.

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Sound Cybersecurity Strategy

Any number of rules can be used to protect your company’s data. You just need the right IT administrator to manage them for you.

Different Firewall Types

Several different firewall types are in use today. For example, the proxy firewall is a version that allows access from one network to another, granting access to only particular applications. On the other hand, a stateful inspection firewall (or traditional firewall) manages traffic depending on a protocol, port, or state, monitoring traffic until it is closed off.

A unified threat management, or UTM firewall, is a combination of a stateful inspection firewall and antivirus program. Overall, it emphasizes ease of use. A next-generation firewall, or NGFW, has advanced technology that protects your network from malware and “application-layer attacks.”

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The NGFW is the most sophisticated and secure choice for many businesses that need advanced protection from threats, such as banks, schools, and hospitals.

Firewall Features

There are various features that you can get from a firewall. Make sure to do some research before choosing the ones you need for your business.

For instance, your firewall should allow safe remote access for you and your employees. If you are working remotely, you’ll be accessing your company data from an exterior network. While connected, you can accidentally send malware through to the work network. And, without the proper protection in place, you risk exposing your network to attack.

Related: How to Avoid Ransomware: Your 3-part Guide

Ask your IT specialists to make sure that your firewall features “site-to-site and client-based VPN tunnels” to protect your network during these remote access sessions.

Here’s another thing to consider: you may want a firewall that offers separate ports for different applications. Hackers will most easily attack a standard port, so you may want to use a masquerade port for your most vital services. Think of it as a disguise to confuse the bad guys.

Older firewalls didn’t allow you to see and control all the users and applications in your network. Newer firewalls allow you this control so you can minimize your system’s vulnerability to these outside forces.

Related: Knowledge is Power and Strength Against Cyber Security Threats

For the Best Firewall Solutions, Turn to Axxys

When choosing your new firewall, consult with your managed IT services provider to determine the best choice for your business. Remember, cyberthreats are becoming more sophisticated by the day, so your network will require robust protection. Hackers target small businesses as well as huge corporations, so prepare yourself with the right firewall.

But where does Axxys fit into the firewall security picture?

We’re here to make sure you pick the best firewall for your business. Our expertise in network security makes us a natural choice for many businesses. We’ve helped organizations develop a robust cybersecurity posture that keeps their data safe, their clients happy, and their reputation intact.