Why You May Need a Firewall for Your Business
A firewall, whether hardware or software, represents a big security boost for any computer user. For businesses, it’s an indispensable protection that dramatically reduces security risks.
Large companies are well aware of the importance of a business-grade firewall, and thus use at least one. It’s small business owners, those who often run their business from home, who often don’t use adequate firewalls and thus are at risk most. The risk usually appears because their router is not made to be used on a business network.
A router is the address of your Internet connection. A Comcast or Verizon router is the intermediary between your business and your ISP, and directs incoming and outgoing traffic accordingly. For average internet users, such a router is all right from the point of view of security. But for businesses, it’s not.
The basic Verizon or Comcast router doesn’t filter out viruses or inspect traffic. Neither does it detect intrusions. This basically means security risks for any business that relies on the web for its operations, such as an e-commerce website that processes credit cards and collects user data.
Firewalls Help You Be in Control of Your Network
Firewalls help you control what occurs in your business network, allowing you to contain any security problems that may arise.
Here are three types of attacks all businesses with an online presence are exposed to when using standard firewalls.
- Network packet sniffers – a hacker intercepts unprotected Windows NT network packets, stealing information.
- IP spoofing – an outsider tricks your business computers into recognizing him as a trusted source, by using an IP address recognized by your network.
- Password attacks – a hacker guesses or cracks the password used by one of your employees, accesses his or her computer, and steals data.
A business-grade firewall filters traffic between your network of computers and the web, dramatically reducing the risks of having your customer information stolen or intercepted.
What Does the Firewall Do
- Blocks incoming traffic according to predetermined rules. For example, you can prevent employees from using Twitter, Facebook, or social media while working.
- Blocks specific websites. For example, you can block access to all adult websites. This doesn’t only increase the productivity of your male employees, but also reduces the risks of virus infection – many adult websites have been notorious for spreading viruses.
- Allocates internet network resources. For example, it can prevent a certain group of employees from accessing the web.
A firewall can also monitor network activity and create a log. Having access to such a log when a security breach is identified helps you contain and fix problem faster.
While standard firewalls may be sufficient for average Internet users, they are not secure enough for businesses, especially for those that process credit card information online or store customer data. To increase their security, businesses can use a business-grade firewall.