Today, businesses are connected globally more than ever. Most businesses are connected to the internet, making it much easier to perform business operations. While it positively affects millions of businesses, helping them to thrive, it also increases the risk of security breaches and cyber theft.
Hackers are very opportunistic in who they target; they go after businesses of all sizes and even individuals. No matter your business, there must be a digital component, like smartphones, wireless connection or an email address. These small components can put you at risk. So, cyber security needs to be a priority for your business.
Firewalls have been the default security tool for many years. Today, the Firewall is the primary and only IT security for many companies. Despite security tools becoming increasingly sophisticated, firewalls remain in demand. They provide a line of defence right at your internet connection. This guide will help you understand what a firewall does and why it’s necessary for your business.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Necessity of Small Business Cybersecurity
- 2 What Is a Firewall?
- 3 Advantages of Having a Firewall
- 4 Firewalls Are Your First Defence of the Line
- 5 Firewalls Can Do More Than Secure Your Business
- 6 Keep Your Firewalls Updated
- 7 Conclusion
The Necessity of Small Business Cybersecurity
Even though you think your small business would not be a target for a cyberattack, this is not the case. Once your company is hacked, it can become a nightmare as you are usually at the mercy of attackers hence why the Colonial pipeline paid millions to regain access to their system. IBM says The average company takes 197 days to discover a breach and 69 days to contain it.
Hackers are continuing to evolve their attacks with advanced tactics, and they have attention on companies of all sizes. A survey of small businesses found that 76% of American companies reported being attacked in the past 12 months—no matter where your organization is and the size, you must make cybersecurity a top priority.
Today more businesses are experiencing sophisticated and severe digital attacks than ever before, yet the study shows they are not doing enough to fill the gaps.
AEServer highly encourages SMBs to take security seriously. No target is too small for cybercriminals, and it is not just enough to be aware of existing cyber threats. It’s critical to take steps toward security and get a strong strategy in place.
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects the frontlines of your battle against cyber attackers. Understanding how firewalls work and their benefits will help you best protect your business, no matter the size.
What Is a Firewall?
A firewall is a structure that monitors computer network traffic, whether it’s incoming or outgoing. Firewalls can be of two types; hardware and software. Firewalls are a security shield between your computer network system and an unprotected network (i.e. the internet).
A hardware firewall provides protection right at the source of the network. When your computer is accessible through the internet, it is susceptible to attack. However, you can restrict access and information with a firewall.
Before computers, a firewall was used to prevent an approaching fire, a metaphor for how digital firewalls work. A firewall and other protective measures can help strengthen your resistance to attacks.
Related: SSL vs TLS: The Key Differences
Advantages of Having a Firewall
Most companies use firewalls to protect their businesses against malware, DDoS attacks, botnet attacks, network intrusion, and data leaks. Let’s take a deep look into the advantages of having a Firewall.
A business falling due to a cyber attack can be catastrophic to many SMBs. Any unauthorized access to the system could lead to leakage of sensitive information and data loss and compromise other security features.
The outcome that comes with a security breach is unbearable for most small businesses. 60% of companies that suffer from cyber attacks shut down their business within six months.
Any business having a firewall is protected against these issues. If an unauthorized user ever tries to access your network, a firewall will block the access while giving an alert on the breach.
Prevent Access to Problematic Content
Some firewalls also prevent access to unauthorized access to distracting or dangerous websites. Some companies block access to websites like Facebook during office hours since they feel it reduces distractions, affecting productivity.
But it’s not only about preventing wasted time. Firewalls can prevent access to malicious sites that are used to install viruses and malware on the devices of those who visit them. These protections help prevent employees from being the target of a phishing scam. A phishing scam can be an official email to get employees to click on the link that directs them to the malicious website.
A firewall can help your company ensure legitimate access and prevent access to those that can harm you.
Protects Against Viruses
A firewall is not antivirus software, but it prevents the installation of viruses and ensures only authorized data flows through the network.
The primary advantage of a firewall is to detect and block network threats. A firewall acts as the first line of defence to protect against viruses. SMBs will want to deploy firewalls and antivirus software to ensure complete coverage.
Databases are necessary to run a website. Otherwise, the website’s interface will have nothing to display. For example, if your website has a mailing list sign-up form, each form submission is sent from the user’s browser store in the site’s database. So, you can keep your database security with the help of a firewall.
Your web server is connected to your database to add and retrieve records, but it doesn’t mean any user can directly access that layer of information. Otherwise, you can suffer SQL injection attacks where a hacker manipulates the website to expose data.
You should configure your Firewall in a way so that only approved IP addresses can connect to the ports on the database server. All other connections should be denied. This setup will provide a layer of security even if you lose your database password; unauthorized users will not be able to access the server to use it.
Monitoring and Alerting
On average, no one has enough time to monitor their network. But yes, you can hire someone for the job, but it adds more expenses to your small business. With a firewall installed, you will have 24/7,365 protection. A firewall is always at work and never takes a break, protecting your network and sensitive data.
Think of these new firewalls as high-tech traffic lights that constantly monitor the flow of vehicles and track all activities. Basically, they have their database where they can store a history of network actions and use that for automatic analysis.
As mentioned earlier, a firewall is the first defence against hackers, scammers, and criminals. It works 24/7, keeping your network safe and your business productive.
Firewalls Are Your First Defence of the Line
Although the Firewall is a security system, it is fallible. A user might override the settings leaving the Firewall open to attacks. This happens when an employee falls victim to scammers.
To counter such defeat, you should educate your team about firewalls. Additionally, don’t rely on a software firewall that can easily be compromised. A hardware firewall setup can help you mitigate this issue.
Every business should understand that limiting access is the best way to protect information. Store your files only where necessary. If a file is stored in different areas, it becomes more vulnerable. Access to files should be limited to those who need them, and they should have strong passwords.
Firewalls Can Do More Than Secure Your Business
A good firewall does not only block traffic; they do more than that. A firewall helps you to check the details of traffic on your network. Checking the traffic can help with troubleshooting issues and compliance issues. A firewall also helps enforce business policies on using the internet by filtering unprotected and unpleasant content.
Keep Your Firewalls Updated
A firewall is not something you set and forget. As security threats are constantly evolving, it is necessary to keep your Firewall updated.
An updated firewall works best. If you fail to maintain your Firewall, you leave your business open to the latest threats. Like other security software, a firewall needs regular updates to detect new threats identified by the manufacturer. Outdated systems are the leading cause of security breaches, and an attacker hunts explicitly for them.
Firewalls are a necessary component of any business’s security. While firewalls may sound complicated, they are easily implemented by IT professionals.
AEserver brings you Cloudflare’s business-class web application firewall (WAF) that prevents your website from common vulnerabilities like SQL injection attacks, cross-site scripting etc. You can choose any firewalls that meet your business requirement. Or simply opt for our managed WordPress hosting to get security features like WAF, malware scan, DDoS protection, and a rapid support team on standby.
Implement the firewall defence today to keep your company secure!