As a cybersecurity company in Miami, it shocks us that just 66% of small businesses are concerned about cyber security risks. The rising threat of cyber security breaches and attacks demands that businesses of all sizes start strengthening their network’s security.
And what’s the backbone of network security? Firewalls.
What is a Firewall?
Firewalls are “gatekeepers,” and they run in the background to monitor all traffic into and out of a network. When traffic tries to access your devices, the firewall will verify that the traffic is from a safe source and is wanted.
Otherwise, the job of the firewall is to filter the traffic out.
Think of a firewall as a sort of traffic controller who has the job of validating all the traffic coming into a network. If a hacker tries gaining access to your network through an open port or malware leaves a port open, the firewall will intercept threats and block them before they access your system.
How Firewalls Work
We’ve seen a very simple example of how a firewall works, but it goes a little further than this. Firewalls operate on rules. Traffic rules are in place that alerts the firewall to acceptable and unacceptable traffic.
If the network administrator sets up a firewall, they can:
- Accept certain data packets
- Block certain data packets
Every time data comes enters the network, the firewall will scan it for any violation of the preset rules before allowing it to finish sending the data. In fact, this is the very reason that people call firewalls “gatekeepers.”
Types of Firewalls
If you have a PC or Mac, the chances are good that you have a firewall preinstalled that handles all of the gatekeeping on your behalf. However, you’ll want to go beyond a basic firewall and find a more robust solution when you have a network to manage.
The type of firewalls that you can choose from are:
- Network address translation (NAT) is a powerful type of firewall that is responsible for allowing web traffic only from a private network.
- Stateful multi-layer solutions, which track established connections, filter traffic based on a set of rules and that’s it.
- Packet filtering options are available, and they will block traffic based on IP address and ports. These are the most basic options, but they lack the features to protect against web-based attacks.
- Proxy service firewalls also exist, and these options operate at the application level. The main goal of a proxy service firewall is to block traffic between the internal and external networks.
- Virtual firewalls are also growing in popularity, and these options run on the cloud. Virtual firewalls manage and assess traffic on virtual and physical devices.
You’ll find hardware and software firewalls, too. Hardware firewalls are actual physical devices, and they offer robust protection before traffic even reaches a network. However, trained personnel must manage these systems.
If your business network doesn’t have a firewall, you’re leaving out a major security measure that can otherwise offer robust protection. With the right type of firewall, you’ll protect against potential threats at your network’s entry point.