In this age of global connectivity, protecting your business’s assets and data is more important than ever. Almost all businesses are connected to the Internet for a wide variety of services. These include email, search, social media, and cloud storage. While much of this traffic is outbound, the fact is that the same Internet connection also allows inbound traffic. That is where having a strong hardware- or software-based firewall comes into play. You can use it to protect your business network from unauthorized access.
Here are the top five reasons why your business needs a strong firewall:
A firewall acts as a barrier, or shield, between your internal business network and the rest of the Internet. Without a firewall, it is possible for external users to access your private business assets. While many organizations use Network Address Translation (NAT) to bridge Internet and external IP addresses, NAT will not block incoming traffic. Only a firewall can do that. Without a firewall, your organization’s assets and data are at risk. This level of protection can aide in HIPAA & PCI compliance.
In addition to stopping unauthorized external users from accessing your network, a firewall can stop your users from accessing specific external websites. For instance, you could set up a policy that blocks access to social media sites like Facebook from your network.
Some strong firewalls will inspect the traffic going into and out of your network. They look for and block viruses, worms, spam, and other unwanted Internet traffic. They will also log intrusion attempts as well as other violations to business policies. This enables you to examine unauthorized access attempts and other suspicious activity.
Many of these strong firewalls will also let you maintain a list of known malicious applications and known good applications. They will block the malicious applications, while enabling the good ones.
A firewall can do more than just provide security. You can also use it to meter and limit the network bandwidth flowing through it. For example, you can limit the network bandwidth allowed for things like non-business videos, music, and images, thereby reserving bandwidth for higher priority business traffic.
Many firewalls provide site-to-site connectivity through Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. Through this VPN functionality, mobile device users and users at remote sites can securely access your internal network resources. This enhances productivity, collaboration, and data sharing.