A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that is installed on a network to control all the traffic across a network and ensure that it all conforms to specific safety rules. These are usually determined by the network administrators who will identify potential risks and place limits on what is allowed on the network.
Because a firewall filters out traffic to and from specified sites, creating a barrier separating the protected network from any unknown or untrustworthy external networks. It still allows users to browse the internet and communicate with the outside world, but without the risks associated with unprotected networks.
Businesses usually use a mixture of software and hardware firewalls in order to ensure that they are protected as effectively as possible. They can block traffic from unwanted sources and prevent unauthorized installation of any software.
Even relatively small businesses are likely to have customer data and payment information stored on their systems, and most will also have sensitive information such as:
- Customer payment details
- Contact information
- Supplier lists
- Client lists
- Product specifications
- Market analysis
- Financial reports
- Product designs
- Industry research
- Transaction records
- Tax information
Any of this information needs to be stored safely and businesses can be subject to significant penalties for failing to safeguard their customers’ information. In order to minimize the potential for this information to be compromised, firewalls prevent the transmission of unsolicited traffic, ensuring that all the activity that takes place on the network originates from sources that can be validated accurately.
The increasing importance of firewalls
One of the reasons that maintaining a strong firewall is vital is the growing numbers of people working from home. Using network systems from a number of different locations has the potential for multiple breaches, so it is important for organizations to ensure that they have the correct firewall in place to offer them the most effective protection.
Many have a site-wide solution that covers all the activity in the office with another layer of security aimed at limiting the risks of having staff working from home. While many computers come with a basic firewall pre-installed, these usually need to be enhanced with more robust systems for any employees that are logging on to databases containing sensitive information.
Most businesses will do a user-audit to ascertain what kind of firewall they need in order t optimize their security. This will take into account the flow of traffic on the network, profile users to ensure that their usage can be accommodated and have all associated risks minimized.
They can even build up a profile of the software and apps that employees need access to when they’re working from home and design those into the protection available. This can be done relatively easily when issuing work devices such as laptops, tablets and phones that are likely to be used on a staff member’s home network that could also include unsecured devices such as personal phones and games consoles.
This is particularly important if data is going to be transmitted from workers’ remote locations into a central database and vice versa. For those working in fields that require additional levels of security, such as medicine, law, or children’s services, it is vital that information can be passed between devices safely and a firewall is one of the primary ways to ensure that happens.
Cloud solutions to firewall requirements
As more and more businesses operate on a largely digital basis, the impact of an attack by hackers is more widespread than ever. Not only are there potential regulatory ramifications and concerns over access to intellectual property, but any system downtime can lead to wider-spread loss of work-time and inhibited productivity.
Perimeter 81’s cloud-based firewall is an important tool in any business’s perimeter security, providing the means to safeguard their data effectively. It can grow with your business to offer peace of mind at any stage, adapting to whatever the future holds and as a tool to instil best practice when it comes to making and keeping records of any relevant incidents.
Any device that is compromised is not only a source of potential data breach, but also a resource that cannot be used until the issues have been addressed, wasting more valuable time. As more and more businesses are relying on cloud storage for their data, firewall services on the cloud have become a necessity when it comes to identifying and preventing possible threats.
An effective firewall should be easily integrated to ensure that every user is able to use it and contribute to protecting the company data. Anyone that manages or has access to sensitive information should be able to contribute their ideas on how the firewall is protecting it, allowing the network managers to create rules that suit the business’s data exactly.
For smaller businesses, it can be particularly important to plan for the future, including any expansion or diversification that may lead to different needs in the future. Good firewall providers have scalable products that can handle everything from a small start-up to an international conglomerate and everything in between.
This helps to ensure that systems can be upgraded and added to rather than replaced as the business gets bigger. By creating a cloud firewall that offers businesses this level of protection, Perimeter 81 can offer businesses all this and more.
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