Routers and firewalls can be confusing – they essentially serve the same purpose of distributing Internet to devices on the network. A router like you’d purchase at a big-box store is designed to serve the needs of home, not the needs of business. It’s likely more important that the Xbox has a great WiFi signal so little Jimmy can play his game, rather than being able to deny all Internet access from North Korea. A firewall, unlike a router, is intelligent. You typically pay a subscription fee because the firewall is constantly updating itself to protect against the newest cyber-attacks. Unlike a router, the firewall actually looks at all Internet traffic passing through it to make sure it’s legitimate, not a virus, and was requested from a computer inside. They also allow us to block access totally to some third-world countries known for producing cyber-attacks. A good firewall can also let you know what your staff has been up to – who’s that looking on for five hours? Don’t cheap out, and don’t buy your gate to the Internet for your business at a big-box store. It truly is the gate between your business and the rest of the world – and you want a strongly armed guard, not a non-intelligent robot. If you can afford to invest in one thing, get a good firewall!

PS – Business-grade firewalls can be used in homes, too – especially if you want to control the content users can access on the Internet, and want to see what the people in the house have been doing. There is no rule that a firewall is just for business – we sell them for use in the homes of lots of CEOs, CIOs and other professionals.