Firewalls and how they protect a business
The internet has increased global connectivity, and it keeps growing daily. The data distribution over the internet is expected to reach 40 zettabytes in 2020 from over 200 billion devices and 1.5 billion websites. With the massive amount of traffic, businesses need to stay on top of data protection. While most of the traffic is outbound and often benign, the connection also allows bad traffic that could wreak havoc to your business infrastructure.
Nowadays, businesses rely on the internet for cloud storage, email, and social media. Therefore, a cyber-attack often jeopardises the safety of your technology, business data, and customer information. Luckily, you can limit third-party access by using a firewall. It will act as a digital perimeter to shield your assets from attacks.
What Is a Firewall?
A firewall is the first line of defence against hackers and malicious content. It builds a digital fence around your IT infrastructure by filtering inbound and outbound traffic between computer networks and the internet. A robust firewall allows your IT support to inspect the data coming in and going out of your computers and shields against internal and external threats.
Hardware firewalls are built-in to the devices used by a business. It can also be a physical appliance through which all data is routed for monitoring before it enters the business devices. While most computers are set up with firewall protection, for additional security companies should consider installing a software firewall. It focuses on outgoing traffic and helps you keep track of information leaving your business. IT services usually install it via third-party applications and get the licensing to cover all devices. You can whitelist IP addresses with authorisation to send information to control outbound traffic. Apart from third-party access, software firewalls also minimise the spread of malicious information between your users.
How Firewalls Can Protect Your Business
As the threats evolve and become complex, IT services have built robust and flexible firewalls to protect your business. Firewall shields your company in the following ways.
Limits Unauthorised Access
Since the information on the internet is both outbound and inbound, a firewall will be a perimeter barrier shielding your business network from the rest of the digital space. Lack of a firewall makes you vulnerable to breach from hackers and unauthorised users. Third-party access to private business information can have devastating effects on your company. Many organisations often skip using a firewall for a Network Address Translation (NAT). While NAT protects your network from external IP addresses, it does not block inbound traffic. Therefore, you should get a firewall from your IT supplier to minimise cyber-attacks.
Blocks Access of websites
Sometimes your users lead hackers into your network by accessing malicious websites. While IT support cannot monitor all internet access from your system, they can limit access to specific sites. Blocking unapproved websites reduces the risk of cyber-attacks. It can also come in handy when you want to improve productivity by limiting the time spent on social media. You can restrict access to social media pages from your network.
Shields Your Business from Malicious Code
The primary role of firewalls is to inspect and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic from your network. This involves identifying viruses, spams, worms, and unwanted internet traffic. A firewall will block any malicious traffic, log intrusion attempts, and report violations to the business policy by your users. You can examine the nature of the threats and beef up security. You also block malicious applications and only whitelist those that do not pose a threat to your business data.
Limit Network bandwidth
Apart from protecting from attacks, firewalls are effective in controlling bandwidth usage in a company. You can use it to meter and restrict bandwidth flowing. For instance, you can limit access to images, music, and non-business videos from the computer network. This lowers the cost of the internet by reserving the bandwidth for business purposes.
Minimises Risk of Malware
When you utilise firewalls for Virtual Private Network connection, you can promote secure access to your business resources. Besides, if you integrate software and hardware firewalls, you can ensure optimum protection from cyber-attacks. Utilising the VPN functionality alongside the malware protection makes your computer networks impenetrable by digital threats.
While firewalls may not protect you against threats such as spoofing attacks, they are powerful weapons from online threats. For them to be effective in shielding your business assets, they need constant upgrades. Your IT supplier should be vigilant and be on the look for the latest updates to ensure you are protected from internal and external threats.