Cybersecurity is one of those things that businesses know they need to invest in, yet only a fraction ever do. But if more businesses understood the value of proactive security, they might come around to the idea of increasing their focus on this all-important investment. In particular, they’d find that they need to take firewalls more seriously.
What is a Firewall?
You’ve heard the term and know that it plays a role in cyber security, but what is a firewall and how does it work?
According to Check Point Software, “A Firewall is a network security device that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on an organization’s previously established security policies. At its most basic, a firewall is essentially the barrier that sits between a private internal network and the public Internet.”
The primary objective of any firewall is to allow non-threatening traffic into the organization’s network and to prevent dangerous traffic from infiltrating the perimeter. While all firewalls perform the same basic functions, different types have different features and capabilities.
According to Check Point Software, these are the most common types:
- Packet filtering. Responsible for analyzing and distributing a small amount of data to the filter’s standards.
- Proxy service. System that protects while filtering messages at the application layer.
- Stateful inspection. Monitor active connections through dynamic packet filtering to determine which network packets are permitted through the firewall.
- NGFW. Next generation firewall (NGFW) is a deep packet inspection firewall with application-level inspection.
4 Reasons Your Biz Needs a Firewall
If that all sounds like a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo to you, don’t worry. We’re going to break it down in simpler terms. Here are some of the specific reasons why your business needs a firewall pronto:
1. Protects Against Cybercrimes
Cybercrimes are on the rise. More specifically, we’re seeing an increase in the number of attacks against small businesses. (According to a recent report, cyber attack rates are scaling faster than any other type of crime and will cost the global economy more than $6 trillion annually by as early as next year. Attacks on small and medium businesses will account for a large chunk of this.)
A firewall isn’t a perfect or comprehensive solution to all of the threats your business faces, but it will lower your risk of being part of this statistic.
2. Meets Compliance Requirements
One of the biggest issues with complex cyberattacks is that they compromise compliance with regulations like Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. A managed firewall service provider, however, can ensure your company meets all legal requirements and avoids the stiff fees and penalties associated with negligence.
3. Eases the Burden of Monitoring
As a small business owner, trying to monitor your network around the clock is costly and infeasible. There simply aren’t enough resources to sit there and watch everything that’s happening – at least not with any degree of accuracy or insight.
A firewall streamlines and eases the burden of monitoring and allows you and your team to focus on the tasks that matter most.
4. Promotes Greater Feelings of Trust
Every time there’s a successful attack on your business – regardless of how small or large – it erodes the sense of trust that you’ve worked hard to cultivate between your organization and all stakeholders. This includes customers, employees, and investors.
A firewall is one just one layer in your overall security strategy, but it’s one of the most valuable. Over time, it prevents attacks and helps you build and protect trust around your business. You might not immediately feel the impact of this, but over a period of years, this compounding trust will benefit the bottom line in numerous ways.
Strengthen Your Business for the Future
We don’t know what the future holds, however, we do know this much: The frequency and ferocity of cyber attacks on small businesses will only increase. A firewall is just one piece to the puzzle, but it’s an integral one.
The best time to introduce a firewall to your business was five years ago. The next-best time is today. Whatever you do, don’t wait until next month or next year. Because once your business is compromised, it’s too late to reverse course.