Why Your Business Needs a Firewall
What is a Firewall?
At its most basic, a firewall is a defensive mechanism against unwanted traffic. This is a crucial layer of security, that should be implemented as a part of a multi layered defence system. The firewall itself is designed to prevent or reduce instances of unwanted, unauthorised network communications, whilst allowing authorised communication to flow freely. Within businesses, firewalls can provide an essential layer of security to prevent attackers from accessing private servers.
The purpose of a firewall is to create a safety barrier between a private network and the rest of the internet. Within the cyber world, occurrences of malicious attacks and hackings are somewhat inevitable. These attacks rely on gaining unauthorised access to private networks in order to damage the network itself.
A firewall is the main component on a network to prevent this and is especially important to any business that has servers and devices connected to the same network (so pretty much every single business). This is significant because if an attacker gains unauthorised access to the network, they can synonymously access every device connected to the network and corrupt them. Therefore, to protect your business, a firewall is essential.
Why is a firewall called a firewall?
A firewall that’s used in computer networks is very similar to how a firewall works in a building structure. In fact, this is where the word firewall came from.
Within a building structure, the firewall provides a defensive barrier to protect a building in the event of a fire. The wall will contain the fire and stop it spreading to the other side of the building. Ultimately, the significance of the wall is to ensure that a fire does not spread to the entire building.
Network firewalls work the same. They stop breaches being made which could cause damage to the whole network.
How does a firewall work?
A firewall works by filtering the incoming network data and determines by its rules if it is authorised to access the network. These rules are known as an access control list, which can be customised. This list is determined by the network administrator and only they can decide what and who can access the network but also what can leave that network.
Firewalls don’t only make rules based on IP addresses, they can also make rules based on domain names, protocols, programs, ports and keywords.
Firewalls come in different types. One type is called a host-based firewall, and this is a software firewall. This is the kind that can be installed on a computer and it protects that computer only and nothing else. Home users may install Norton 360, Total AV and McAfee, which are all examples of antivirus programs that have a built–in host–based firewall.
The second type is called a network-based firewall, this is a combination of hardware and software, and it operates on the network layer. It is placed between a private network and the rest of the internet. However, unlike a host-based firewall that only protects the singular computer, a network-based firewall protects the entire network. It does this through management rules that are applied to the entire network so that any harmful activity can be stopped before it reaches the computers.
Network-based firewalls can be standalone products which are mainly used by larger businesses. Smaller businesses instead rely on firewalls that are built into the router. Many businesses will use both network-based and host-based firewalls.
These businesses can use a network-based firewall to protect the entire network and use host-based firewalls for their individual protection for their computers. By doing this, it’ll ensure a maximum protection, multi layered defence system. Conducting a security system this way will ensure that if a harmful attack happens to pass the network firewall, the host-based firewalls on each computer will be there to stop it.
Firewall devices and services we have for our customers
Zyxel VMG8825-B (catchy right?)
- Generic packet filter
- DoS attack prevention
- Spectrum also adds on free of charge to all customers that opt-in our Spectrum Internet DNS Blocking Service. You can read more about this free service here
- Identifies thousands of applications inside network traffic for deep inspection and granular policy enforcement
- Protects against malware, exploits, and malicious websites in both encrypted and non-encrypted traffic
- Prevents and detects against known and unknown attacks using continuous threat intelligence from AI-powered FortiGuard Labs security services
Request more information
Discuss with our Firewall experts what your business would benefit from and make sure you keep your network safe before something happens to your business. Learn more about what we do to help businesses set up and manage their firewall