Network Firewall Fundamentals

A robust firewall is your company's first line of defense against malware and other common network security threats. Nonetheless, this critical barrier remains one of the most misunderstood components of a comprehensive data security strategy.

Articles published September 16, 2019 by Ben Killion

Network Firewall Fundamentals

Every business, large or small, is susceptible to cyberattacks, and cybercrimes are on the rise, impacting even the best protected organizations. When it comes to securing your network and keeping your business safe, there are several options, but just one remains the cornerstone of network security — the firewall. 

What is a Firewall?

Named after the literal wall used to stop the spread of fire, network firewall software and hardware serve as a barrier to separate trusted networks from untrusted networks.

Firewall devices are network securities made to monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic of a network. They block and permit data based on specific security rules and act as a barrier against malicious traffic that can lead to an attack. Firewall devices have been the first line of defense for network security for more than 25 years, with generations of firewall protection evolving to defend against new cyberattacks and threats.

How does a Firewall work?

As either a software program or hardware device, a firewall filters information coming through your internet connection into your private network or computer system. If the firewall flags incoming information based on security rules, that information is not allowed through to your network. 

Naturally, the more users and computers there are on a network, the more potential entrance points for malicious data. That, combined with the type of sensitive data shared among an organization, puts businesses at a greater risk of a cyberattack than individuals. Without a firewall in place to cover all computers and users on the network, your network and data is directly accessible to anyone on the internet. But with a firewall placed at the edge of your network, each port or internet access point stands as the first line of defense in your organization’s network security policy. 

Today’s firewall solutions are customizable and scalable, so that you can set rules regulating how your employees connect to websites, who has access to certain shared data, which types of files are allowed to leave the company, and more. 

For example, a company might use a firewall to enforce a rule allowing only one computer to receive public FTP traffic within the building, while all other computers would be blocked by the firewall, preventing unauthorized access.

Why do you need a Firewall?

With the rise in data breaches across all industries, the Cybercrime and Internet of Threats 2019 Report anticipates that the direct and indirect annual costs of data breaches could reach $5 trillion by 2024. The internet is filled with bad code and individuals traversing cyberspace looking for unprotected and under-protected computers and networks. 

No matter how well you train your employees, they are often a company’s biggest weakness in terms of network security. Maybe they inadvertently disabled a security measure or forgot one of your safeguards. A firewall serves as a next line of defense, blocking any accidental and careless mistakes, and keeps your network safe.

Due to the nature of their work, some employees will require different access levels to different servers in your network. Some employees might even require different internet privileges, such as social media access. A customizable network firewall is best suited to address the varying needs of your employees. 

While firewall technology has been around for a while, there is a reason for its longevity — there is still a clear need for firewalls in network security. Don’t take a chance on cyberattacks. Ensure your organization is taking full advantage of your firewall protection. 

What are you doing to keep your network safe and secure? 

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About The Author

Ben Killion

Ben is a Client Advisor at Aureon, where he is a relationship builder, strategic customer advocate and results-oriented professional. He has been in the technology industry for nine years, focusing on leveraging technology to help clients meet their business goals.

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