A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the Internet. Firewalls block unauthorized access to your computer network from hackers, malware and viruses. They monitor data as it passes between your computer, your server, and the Internet to make sure that nothing harmful or unintended slips through. A firewall may block certain downloads, or require system administers to grant authority before opening files that fail to meet their security standards.
Firewalls are a critical component to effective security, and so is the configuration. A poorly-managed firewall can block legitimate activity, causing workflow errors and excess frustration for the end user. Or, a firewall with overly lax restrictions could miss harmful data packets, lending the user a false sense of security while malware and viruses penetrate your network. If firewalls are not managed and implemented properly, it can leave gaping holes in your security and give hackers the keys to your kingdom.
A firewall should always be properly configured. Knowing when to override its rules and let data through, as well as to understand how to respond in case of an alert, are judgement calls that require specialized knowledge and experience. Fortunately, a trusted IT partner like Bryley Systems will not only recommend the proper firewall, but configure, manage, and support it so that your network is locked down.
Regardless of your organizations size, no business owner wants the horrible consequences that a security breach can bring. Larger organizations often have greater resources to dedicate towards security. If you are a small to mid-sized organization, you generally have fewer resources and smaller budgets, and having your IT network brought down by a cyberattack can bring an organization to its knees.
Unauthorized access to your system files can result in the loss of important data, the leak of confidential client information, or the compromise of other security features. A properly managed firewall can nip this problem in the bud.
Internet usage has become a surprising sore point in employer-employee relations, as they are often used to block access to certain sites online. While some employees feel that blocking access to popular social media sites and other types of Internet browsing during work hours is simply a way to micromanage personal habits, many business owners feel it is necessary to cut down on the type of distractions that eat up productivity, as well as open up security issues at the office.
There are definite pros and cons to each side, but by prohibiting access to all but a select group of websites (or by using strict controls to determine what other websites are permissible) business owners can safeguard against employees accidentally visiting a dangerous website by mistake. This type of protection can prevent an unsuspicious employee from falling victim to a phishing scam or from entering important information into an insecure website. A managed firewall/Internet-security solution that provides website filtering can help your organization identify which websites your employees need to be able to access, based upon the type of organization you are, and what the employee’s job role is. It can even create a custom configuration of settings to block problematic websites for safer Internet browsing.
Having your firewall and Internet-security solution managed properly by an IT partner dramatically reduces the disruption of your day-to-day business tasks while providing you with the protection you need. Your managed IT service provider will maintain proper system configurations and monitor your network for potential security threats and will respond to alerts in a timely manner. Furthermore, your managed IT provider should be up-to-date with new technology, proper certifications, and security compliance regulations that might affect your organization. While you focus on running your business at peak efficiency, your managed IT provider also ensures your software and hardware remains up-to-date.
Educate your staff about the importance and significance of firewall protection and other Internet-security measures. This training can also help your employees spot potential scams before they fall victim to them.
Your organization should also consider other safeguards, such as monitoring software that can spot suspicious activity, or programs designed to detect and remove viruses from your system.
One of the most secure ways to protect your most valuable data is by limiting user access. Make sure to store your most secure files in as few locations as necessary. Only allow access to those employees who need it, and protect it with encryption and strong passwords.