Understanding Firewalls for Your Small Business

Posted by Christal Fleishman - February 16, 2016 - Disaster Recovery

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According to CNN Money, nearly one million malware threats are released every day. Some malware can be prevented with a good firewall. If you own a company there are many facets of IT that you may be responsible for. One of these facets requires understanding firewalls for your small business. In this post we will break down a few key things you should know about firewalls, and how to protect your business from unwanted web traffic.

Choose the right firewall for your business size

Selecting a firewall is never as simple as typing “buy a firewall” into Google. In fact, we highly recommend you don’t do that. We do recommend you first determine the kind of firewall you need in your business. Most consumers purchase firewalls for their one personal PC. Firewalls for a singular PC are typically called personal firewalls. These personal firewalls are installed from a piece of software and may have less reporting and management functionality than needed. If you own a business of any size – from a sole employee and system to large corporate entities – we recommend going beyond the personal firewall to a departmental or enterprise firewall. Departmental firewalls can protect more than one PC at a time, can screen network traffic, and have increased reporting capabilities. Enterprise firewalls allow you to manage thousands of users, and offer management tools to configure many firewalls at once. If you’re a small business we recommend a departmental firewall to start.

Understand outgoing and incoming traffic

Firewalls essentially block traffic. They create a virtual roadblock between good and bad on the internet. Firewalls typically block incoming traffic which is unwanted traffic from the internet into your internal system. Many firewalls also block outgoing traffic whereby your traffic on your internal network is screened before it goes out to the internet. An example of limiting outgoing traffic would be preventing your employees from visiting inappropriate websites.

Some firewalls are more specific and can block network traffic depending on the content going to and from the internet. These firewalls often have virus and email scanning built into the software. However, we still recommend using additional virus protection software. The very best firewalls allow you to see reports of network traffic. These reports can show you who tried to access inappropriate websites, or who is trying to breach your network. Before you add a firewall, decide the type of traffic you need to block and how you want to manage the traffic going to and from the internet.

Get the details right

Shopping for a firewall can be daunting. The items outlined above are just some of the details that go into protecting your company from internet vulnerabilities. In addition to choosing the type of firewall, you’ll want to look for additional features for your firewall such as network address translation (NAT) which allows for private IP addresses, port management which protects your doorways to the internet, stateful packet inspection which reviews incoming unsolicited information, and activity logging and alerts that keep you up to date on your company-wide PC traffic. All of these firewall features give an additional level of protection and help you manage the intricacies of web security. 

Ultimately the first step is to make sure your company has a firewall, period. If you need help deciding the type of firewall your company should purchase and implement just give us a call. We know firewalls, and as business technology becomes ever more connected it’s important to be ready for the next wave of internet vulnerabilities. 

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about the author

Christal Fleishman

Christal Fleishman is SymQuest’s Marketing Manager based in South Burlington, VT. As a modern millennial marketer, Fleishman manages all aspects of advertising for SymQuest including branding, social media, lead generation, campaign management, and strategic planning.

Christal Fleishman
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