Most of us know that firewalls are an essential part of cybersecurity but have absolutely no idea as to what they actually do. There are multiple types of firewalls, with each one offering different protections, advantages, and drawbacks.
Choosing the right type of firewall for your business size and type can make a huge difference in your business’s online security. Here is a list of recommendations specifically designed to help you find the perfect network solution for your business needs.
For self-employed individuals - software firewalls
There is no need to purchase expensive third-party software if you run a business from your laptop. For instance, a Windows computer comes with a copy of Windows Defender. This firewall software comes pre-enabled and performs all the necessary functions allowing safe online surfing.
Meanwhile, Apple computers have the OS X Application Firewall. Though this allows the user to set firewall rules, it does not use packet filtering and is not pre-enabled, which means the user has some setting up to do before going online.
For those handling sensitive data - third-party firewalls
Some self-employed individuals are required to handle sensitive information like customers or clients’ credit card numbers. If this is the case, it’s better to use third-party firewalls in addition to the firewall software installed on the unit. Third-party firewall software might have anti-spam capabilities, data backup, extra layers of inspection, and other helpful functions.
Software firewalls are suitable for solo entrepreneurs, but companies with multiple employees should also use a hardware firewall, which protects networks and does not require manual installation in each device. If you use both, you can protect your entire system even if an attacker manages to infiltrate one device.
For small businesses - network firewalls
With more employees comes a greater risk of someone on your network accidentally installing malware or infecting his computer with a virus. Small businesses, therefore, find that it’s best to use a firewall and antivirus software combination.
Firewalls used for companies of this size should have the ability to identify and reject data that include malware or viruses. They should also be able to detect intrusions better than a firewall. In addition to that, these types of software should also protect the user when they access websites.
What type of hardware firewall should I use?
For small businesses on a budget, a Wi-Fi router is an excellent firewall solution. A router automatically blocks external traffic that does not meet security parameters set by the network admin, but it only offers network security basics.
If your business handles sensitive information you should get firewall routers, which have built-in antivirus software operating from the router for more security. A business spread among multiple offices could benefit from a VPN or a virtual private network. This acts in the same way a hardware firewall does, but with the added benefit of being active across several locations.
For companies hosting websites, load balancers should be a given. These distribute incoming traffic and prevent your servers from getting overwhelmed with requests. Load balancers also protect your business from DDoS attacks.
Finally, large businesses should get a unified threat management or UTM solution. UTM solutions have a VPN, firewall, antivirus, and other features that aid intrusion detection and prevention. This allows deep packet filtering for all web applications on all devices in a Wi-Fi network, all in one place.
The best type of firewall is the type that suits your business needs. When choosing a solution for your company, take into account the number of employees, what they do on a typical workday, and how much information exchange happens over your network.
High-quality network design does not happen by accident. It is brought about by careful planning and precise execution, which is our speciality at Network Warehouse. We are the UK’s favourite infrastructure provider, supplying businesses of all sizes with network solutions customised for their needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more.