firewallSince there is so much information about firewalls, I want to add to last week’s article with more information focusing on “hardware” firewalls.

The router you have in your home may function as a “hardware” firewall while Windows typically includes a “software” firewall.

Let’s take a closer look at how routers function as “hardware” firewalls.

Home routers use a Network Address Translation, also known as NAT, to share a single IP address from your Internet Service Provider among all of the computers in your home. When incoming traffic from the Internet reaches your router, your router then decides whether or not block the traffic or allow it to go through.

But here’s the problem…

Your router’s settings as they come from your service provider (typically your phone or cable company) are set at minimal security levels- and for good reason.  Your phone company doesn’t want to deal with thousands of phone calls resulting from people complaining that they are unable to access everything they want online.  Therefore, the routers as they are provided to you will let nearly everything through.  Now, you could change your router’s settings to provide a higher level of security, but chances are you don’t have the training needed to do this.  But even if you did, your service provider’s router will not scan the content for viruses, trojans, and other hazards.

Why do you need a “hardware” firewall?

  • It provides centralized network management. If you run a large network, you can configure the firewall’s settings from a single source.
  • A “hardware” firewall sits apart from your computer, so, if your computer becomes infected with a worm, that worm could disable your “software” firewall. However, that worm couldn’t disable your “hardware” firewall.
  • If you store valuable, sensitive, or confidential information on your computer (which most of us do) you must protect it from hackers looking to gain access to it.
  • If your company stores confidential information of clients, then not having the proper firewall protection could put you at legal risk should your system be attacked by hackers.

So, what does all of this mean and why is it important?

It’s important for you to have the proper firewalls in place.  Especially if you have multiple computers on one network.  You may think that you are adequately protected, only to find out after a problem occurs that you really weren’t.  If your business relies on computers to survive and function every day, then this is a critical aspect of your company’s security.  Just as you should periodically review your insurance policies, you should also have your firewalls checked by an IT professional.

If you have any questions, please contact us and we can discuss what firewall is best for you.