A Firewall, at its most basic, is a barrier that sits between the public internet and the private network of a user. The main purpose of the software is to inspect the traffic that is going in and out of the system.
As the information is analyzed, the tool either blocks the traffic or allows it to pass through.
Have you already deployed this basic level to your overall cybersecurity strategy?
Here, we discuss what you should know about firewall security, how to choose the best fit for your organization, and how to tell if it’s deployed correctly as part of your security posture.
Must-Have Firewall Capabilities
Any Firewall that you integrate into your infrastructure should be able to:
- Differentiate malicious from the harmless traffic
- Remove malware on the spot
- Promote the company’s security policies
- Assess the potential threat to shut down suspicious activity
Accurate blocking of the traffic, which can harm the organization, is essential. Also, a Firewall should never prevent the wanted traffic from entering the company’s network.
Firewalls can be updated to detect and instantly remove known malware, not allowing it to get into the organization. In that way, the threat is neutralized even before it damages the company’s reputation and finances.
Calibrating the firewall to enforce policies that protect the company based on its unique infrastructure and needs is integral for any quality protective software.
Another feature of high-quality firewalls is that they can detect and assess the activity that might indicate the threat actor is attempting to breach the network. That measure is integral in protecting the business form of zero-day attacks.
The mentioned features make up the firewall in its most basic form. Other useful features to have that result in strong security include:
- Management that is unified — to simplify the otherwise complex structure of security posture that consists of numerous tools
- Scalability — firewall that can be scaled as the company grows
Choose the Type of Firewall That Suits Your Business
Nowadays, companies are facing an overwhelming number of firewall options to choose from and don’t know which one to use for their network.
Deploying the one that makes sense for an organization is important. Which one you’ll select is going to depend on your unique infrastructure.
Network firewalls are the basic ones that most of us think of when discussing the tool. Your other options include:
- Software Firewalls — run as a code on the PC and often are built in as part of the OS
- Hardware Firewalls —specialize in guarding the physical servers
- Cloud Firewalls — designed to protect cloud environments
Granted, there are even more types out there, but we have singled out some of the most popular ones that are currently on the market.
Pro Tip: If you use Windows on your devices, you already have a firewall that’s built into the system.
Form a Layered System of Security
A firewall is the first line of defense of the company.
However, for strong security, it’s necessary to keep in mind that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
A firewall can fall in the middle of the night and it might slip up and pass advanced threats through.
That requires multiple levels of tools and policies that protect your assets. In that way, even if a hacker attempts to bypass the security, they have a difficult time doing so as they tackle it level by level until they get into the network.
Never rely on just a single tool to defend the company’s most valuable assets. Hackers are getting savvier by the day and attacking businesses of all sizes with more advanced threats as well as larger numbers of attacks than ever before.
VPN vs Firewall vs Antivirus
Do you need a VPN, antivirus software, and a firewall to guard the assets of your company?
Most companies that have a firewall guarding the space between their private assets and the public internet also use VPN and an antivirus program. These three tools have different and yet integral purposes in security.
For example, an antivirus has a different role in a cybersecurity arsenal. It specializes in detecting and removing malware that has already found its way into the system, often from external sources and not via the internet.
Therefore, if the virus gets into the system via USB, the antivirus can remove it, while Firewall won’t detect and mitigate the same threat.
On the other hand, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is more oriented toward user privacy. It prioritizes the protection of both company and its remote workers by creating a separate network from the public one and concealing activity from prying eyes.
Is This Thing On?
How can you know whether the firewall is working to perform the activity it’s supposed to and whether it’s even on or off?
To determine whether the firewall is successfully mitigating malware and blocking harmful traffic, test it.
For instance, there are multiple tools available that can aid you in putting the firewall to the test. Some of them are port assessments provided by Telnet and FTP.
Start with a free tool that IT teams use, dubbed ShieldsUP. It allows you to evaluate the tool from the internet outside your network.
But is the firewall on?
Check that on the control board of the firewall that you use and press either enable or allow getting it up and running on your system.
Firewall Security in a Nutshell
In short, a firewall from a reputable vendor should work properly on your organization and perform essential functions such as malware detection and removal.
What’s more, it should be accurate in filtering the traffic that you either want or don’t want to reach your organization.
Although the firewall is an important security tool that bans malicious traffic from the internet, it should be one of the many layers that you use to guard your company against cyberattacks.
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