I talk a lot about firewalls and I understand that sometimes the details can get confusing.  So, allow me to explain…

First, what exactly is a firewall?

A firewall protects networked computers from intentional hostile intrusion that could compromise confidentiality or result in data corruption or denial of service. It may be a hardware device or a software program running on a secure host computer. In both situations, it must have at least two network interfaces, one for the network it is intended to protect, and one for the network it is exposed to.

What specifically does a firewall do?

A firewall examines all the traffic routed between your network and an outside network to see if it meets certain criteria. If so, then data is allowed to pass through, if not, it is stopped. A firewall filters both inbound and outbound traffic.

What different types of firewalls exist?

Firewalls fall into four categories.  As the end user, you don’t really need to know the difference between the types, but it is important that whoever manages your IT network knows the difference and is able to assess your need and install the right one.  The types are:

  • packet filters
  • circuit level gateways
  • application level gateways
  • stateful multilayer inspection firewalls

Why do companies need a firewall?

It is extremely important for companies to have a firewall. Not having a firewall may lead to the following problems, which no company would want to occur.

  • Loss and Manipulation of Data–In your business, you deal with tons of data everyday, important information that belongs to your company and to your customers. The loss of this data because you don’t have a firewall could be catastrophic to your company.
  • Business Secrets and Confidential Data–The reason why companies spend a lot of money on firewalls is due to the fact that they keep highly important information on their computers, things like technology secrets, secret business plans, and confidential customer lists. Having these either deleted or stolen would definitely be detrimental to any company.
  • Hijacked Networks–Using a firewall can prevent hackers from manipulating your network as it would be easy to break into your computer systems and manipulate the systems for their own use.
  • Loss of time and money–Having a firewall will also prevent hackers from making you lose valuable time and money. They can do this by setting up a Denial of Service, which would result in freezing your entire system so you would not have access to anything. Or, they could hack into your company website and make it inoperable, resulting in a potential loss of business and the cost of repairing the damage.
  • Loss of Reputation–If you lost a client or customer’s personal data or information, how are you going to explain it? This information is crucial to your business success so making sure it is protected is very valuable.

Does Your Business Have the Proper Firewall in Place?

You’ll probably need to consult with an IT specialist in order to figure this out.  But if you don’t know the answer to this question and you do not have a trained technician monitoring your network, then you could be at risk.

Keep this in mind–  It is much cheaper and easier for you to PREVENT a problem than it is for you to REPAIR a problem!

Contact us directly if you have any specific questions.