Firewall firewall on the wall, which one does it all?
When it comes to picking a firewall for SMB (small medium business) it has to meet the needs of your business. There are many options and feature sets that you need to weight up before deciding. We will go through the common types of firewalls and valuate their pros and cons.
What is a Firewall? Firewalls are an integral part of your network security. Without the security of a firewall your computers and servers are vulnerable to attack from outside hackers. A firewall inspects all network traffic that passes through it inbound and outbound and determines if it is ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ traffic by checking against the set of rules applied on the firewall. Basically all Good traffic is allowed and any Bad traffic is denied and stopped before it does any harm to your computers and servers.
So What Does a Firewall Prevent? We know if you don’t have a firewall; hackers can access computers or servers on your network. Once they’re inside, hackers can pick up proprietary information traveling across your network for identity theft or other criminal purposes. A hacker could also install malicious software on your network’s computers, such as Malware or even worse Ransomware. Once a hacker is in your network a hacker could bring down your email server, web servers, and file server and much more.
Software solutions are always more user-friendly than hardware solutions. There’s no need to worry about cabling, firmware, and the extra power consumption from a hardware device. But when it comes to firewalls, a software solution just can’t measure up to its hardware counterpart.
Software based firewall are installed locally on a hard drive of a computer. The downside is it only protects that one individual computer it is installed on and not all the computers on the network. and an increase overhead for cpu and ram for that pc. Software firewall may sound suitable for a home business with a single pc setup. However it fails when it comes to protecting business critical servers, computers and laptops in a SMB size environment.
Hardware firewall acts as the first line of defense between the internet and your router, so every single packet of data coming from the internet must pass through your physical firewall and checked against the set of rules before the traffic passes to any computer and server.
Before you rush out and purchase your first hardware firewall from your local computer store. It should be pointed that not all firewalls are created equal. When you buy firewall from Best Buy or like, It will not come with the level of security protection and feature sets and the power and performance required to run as one that is built specifically for small to medium size business. SMB firewalls require a degree of expertise to configure and setup because of the high level of security and protection and feature set they provide than a off the shelf home based firewall.
A major benefit of an hardware firewall is, it’s always on unlike a software firewall you don’t know if the pc is on or running a firewall. Therefore you don’t have to worry if you adding another pc or server to your network. Since all inbound traffic is passing through the hardware firewall any additional device added is already protected. It is good to pick a hardware firewall that is easy to configure, and can grow with you as your business and security needs evolve.
Cloud based firewalls are new form of firewalls over the software and hardware and a viable option for SMB depending on the needs and requirements of a business.
Cloud based firewall can run completely from the cloud or a hybrid model which comes with on-site piece of hardware and software interfaces that can be managed remotely by certified security professionals.
This service model means that security engineers will monitor your network performance and security for anomalies while your staff goes about its business as usual. No need for onsite tweaks and updates all of it can be done remotely via the cloud.
You may hear a lot of experts telling you that the age of on-site hardware has passed and everything can be done in the cloud. Remote administration may be the next wave in network services, but the need for hardware firewall will never go away. If you need someone to manage your physical devices, or need more info contact us today.