If you’ve ever used a computer network, you might have heard the term “firewall,” but what is it exactly? A firewall is a device with software that blocks undesired internet traffic from getting into your network. Using a set of rules that you define for it, the firewall examines traffic that approaches and – depending on what it finds – it will either allow the traffic in or restrict it. Every network should have a firewall. Here are ten reasons why:
#1. Firewalls are an essential part of cybersecurity
Cybersecurity consists of a series of tools and strategies that protect computer systems, networks, and devices from attacks. Without cybersecurity, sensitive information would be accessible to anyone, including anyone who wants to exploit it. Attacks could shut down businesses and even entire countries. Firewalls are just one piece of what goes into cybersecurity, but it’s an important one.
#2. Firewalls are for everyone
Some people think only big companies need firewalls, but every business needs one. In the past, there were only a few types of firewalls, but today, a company can easily choose one that works best for their needs. There are firewalls designed for 1-person companies, for businesses that handle sensitive client data, for businesses with multiple locations, and so on.
#3. Firewalls help you comply with standards
For many organizations, especially those in healthcare, law, or finance, a certain level of security is required. Regulations include HIPAA, which applies to health providers, insurance companies, and any organization that stores medical information. These entities are required to protect your information, so it isn’t released to anyone you haven’t approved. Firewalls are part of a security strategy that guards this kind of sensitive information.
#4. Firewalls block people from visiting certain websites
If you’re a business owner and don’t want your employees visiting certain websites (like social media sites, Youtube, or websites with explicit content), you can program your firewall settings to restrict access. This not only prevents employees from getting distracted but also protects your network from websites hosting ads infected with malware.
#5. Firewalls help prevent data loss
Data is your network’s most valuable asset, so you must protect it. If a file gets moved around or deleted, you can program firewalls to examine these files and check if they’re important. This helps prevent the loss of important data and alerts you to their movement. It might be an accident from an internal user or something more sinister.
#6. You can now use firewalls with the cloud
There are a handful of firewall types, but many of them are old and more easily bypassed by resourceful hackers. Traditional firewalls are also limited in their usefulness because networks now use the cloud more often. A newer type of firewall – known as Firewall as a Service – allows you to implement it as part of the cloud infrastructure. This significantly enhances security.
#7. Cloud firewalls help secure remote workers
One of the biggest benefits of Firewall as a Service is how it secures remote and mobile workers. Gone are the days when employees only clocked in at the office on a single office network. Now, employees need a secure network they can access anywhere at any time. This became clear during the pandemic when many companies sent their entire workforce home. It was better for public health, but also opened up a lot of security issues. According to one survey, remote work increased the cost of data breaches by $137,000. Firewalls help prevent these costly breaches.
#8. Firewalls help networks avoid backup appliance sprawl
All companies (and people who have a lot of data on their home networks) use a backpack appliance, which is a data storage device that holds backup software and hardware parts. The longer you use your network and the more data you accumulate, the harder it is for your backup appliance to manage everything. This creates “sprawl.” If you move to the cloud, the sprawl is eliminated. Using Firewall as a Service keeps all that data secure.
#9. Firewalls help keep your server moving
“Denial of service” is one of the most common cyberattacks. With this attack, a hacker requests to join the server. The server tries to establish a connection, but can’t find the system that made the request. Hackers will flood servers with these one-sided requests, which slows down the server or makes it crash. This creates a lot of frustration and often loss of data. Firewalls are not that effective on their own for these types of attacks, but they’re part of a security strategy that fends them off.
#10. Firewalls help a business scale up
As a business grows and its network gets busier, it’s important to be able to scale up. With traditional firewalls, it could be more complicated. You would need to replace a physical device or upgrade an appliance-based firewall to manage increased bandwidth. Firewall as Service, however, is designed to scale as your company grows. It’s much easier to adjust and adapt as network traffic increases.