Firewalls and Defenses 101 for Business Owners

Firewalls and Defenses 101 for Business Owners

When asked of our cybersecurity company in Miami about security basics, we often recommend that businesses have some type of firewall in place. If you don’t know what firewalls are or the many types that exist, we’re going to outline your options for you below.

What is a Firewall?

Firewalls can come in many forms, which we’ll discuss shortly, but they all work as a sort of filter for network traffic. If a connection attempt is made, the firewall will recognize the action and analyze the traffic.

Traffic that may be malicious or from one of the blocked filters you have in place will not be allowed.

Necessary connections and data will be accepted.

Why are firewalls important?

  • Imagine a group of bots, all from China
  • These bots are trying to create a denial-of-service attack
  • Multiple IP addresses from the location are pinging your server
  • Eventually, your server is overrun and cannot handle the requests

Businesses can lose a lot of revenue from one of these attacks. Firewalls can block this traffic and rules can be put in place to stop all traffic from Greece. While your network engineer tries to decipher what’s happening behind the scenes, you can rely on your firewall to block the traffic.

What Types of Firewalls Exist?

Your computer’s operating system likely has a firewall called a software firewall. These firewalls are added protection and good practice to use even if you already have a hardware firewall.

You'll also find third-party software firewall solutions that you can download.

The benefit of this type of firewall is that it’s:

  • Easy to use
  • Fast to setup
  • Setup individuals

You can put rules in place for a specific user, such as a new employee, to block unwanted traffic or not allow them on certain websites.

Hardware firewalls can also be setup in a similar fashion, but they:

  • Protect an entire network
  • Lack the refined controls for individual computer safety

Hardware firewalls monitor network traffic before it ever reaches a desktop or server. In many cases, these firewalls intercept traffic at the firewall and will prevent malicious traffic. 

If you have both a hardware and software firewall in place, your traffic will go through the hardware and then the software firewall. Dual layers of protection will keep your network safer and more secure.

Hardware firewalls have a lot of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Full protection for an entire network
  • Requires an expert to setup and maintain
  • One update will affect the entire network
  • Must purchase the hardware separately

With all of this in mind, software firewalls have the main disadvantage of needing to be upgraded on a per-device basis. You'll need to update the software on every device and make sure that they all have the right rules in place to block unwanted traffic.

Hardware firewalls work on an entire-network basis, but they also lack the individual control that a software firewall provides.

What do we recommend?

We suggest setting up both a hardware and software firewall for maximum security and protection.

Do you need help setting up firewalls? Our Miami cybersecurity company has the experience your business needs to protect your network from potential breaches.