Firewalls have long been considered essential parts of a company’s security system. As technologies and cyber threats have evolved, firewalls have remained important for organisation security. Thankfully, firewalls have kept pace and have evolved with new features and functionalities to take on cyber threats.
In this article, we share some important considerations and tips for choosing the right firewall for your business. Before we get into that topic, we’ll take a look at the basics of firewalls and what they do.
What is a Firewall & How is It Used?
A firewall is a computer network security system that creates a border around a network. It works to manage and restrict incoming and outgoing traffic within the network based on specific security rules. The firewall prevents unauthorised access to the system, becoming the network’s first line of defence.
The firewall allows incoming traffic that is properly configured to accept or is determined to be safe. This can include trusted sources and IP addresses. The firewall also works to keep out specific data packets that don’t conform to the configured rules. The rules are designed to verify whether the traffic is valid or could be a threat.
Firewalls are for IT security and block malicious traffic and keep confidential information from being moved out of the network to suspicious destinations. They also filter content. Schools can have their firewalls set up to prevent network users from accessing adult content. Governments can put up a firewall that keeps their citizens from accessing specific sites or applications on the web.
Tips to Choose the Right Firewall for Your Company
As you begin the search for the right firewall for your company, you’ll find a wide range of solutions available. It can be challenging and confusing to find the right cybersecurity solution for your business. We’ve put together some tips you can use to make sure you find the right firewall to keep your organisation safe.
1. Consider Business Size
Businesses come in a wide range of sizes, with each one requiring a different type of firewall. The firewall you choose needs to be sized correctly to meet the needs of your network. For instance, a small business requires a smaller firewall than a larger organisation. Networks and corporate data centres also have their own requirements when it comes to choosing firewalls.
2. Visibility & Control Applications
Earlier firewalls were port-based. These offered limited visibility and control of applications and users accessing the network. However, the more advanced firewalls (including the Next Generation Firewall or NGFW), have the ability to see and control all applications. This functionality makes it easier to match access with users’ requirements.
All this means that while you may want certain users to access particular apps for their jobs, others may not require these apps and would need access to other programs.
3. Evaluate Security Features
Today’s firewalls have more visibility that goes with the ability to prevent threats from entering, protecting the network. The newest firewalls can see applications and classified data within the network. The system is better able to restrict suspicious entry of traffic and keep malware from causing harm on the network, such as data breaches.
4. Check If the Firewall Can Easily Integrate with Third-Party Applications
It’s not uncommon for businesses to have a patchwork of security devices included in their IT security infrastructure. Before adding or upgrading a firewall, it’s essential that the new firewall easily integrates with the existing security system. If not, your team won’t be able to use all of the new firewall’s features, and some of your current security programs may no longer work either.
5. Ensure Manageability and Ease of Use
Firewalls and other security devices usually require technical knowledge to install and use. Choosing firewalls that are too complex can be a major burden on your in-house team. This can lead to additional employee hours and costs.
To avoid these issues, choose a next-gen or cloud firewall that offers centralised management. These are easy to set up and manage. They also provide easy connectivity to multiple networks.
6. Ensure Remote Users are Part of the Network
Today’s companies often have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy along with remote working. IT security systems need to protect users and devices that are outside the office.
Employees working remotely need to access company data and resources outside of the office. For this reason, the firewall you choose needs to provide effective protection for these remote locations, too.
7. See How It Can Help Streamline Your Security Infrastructure
Many companies have a wide range of security products protecting their networks. These can be pretty complex and come with additional costs.
However, if you’re looking to streamline your security infrastructure, it’s best to choose a firewall that comes with additional security components. Some firewalls may include features such as antivirus protection, spam filtering, application filtering, and more.
8. Evaluate Costs vs. Features You Need
Next, it’s essential to choose a firewall that fits into your company’s budget. However, firewalls that are less expensive may not have all the features you need.
In that case, it’s best to choose a more expensive firewall. The business won’t have to worry about replacing it for a few years, making this a cost-effective choice compared to a cheaper firewall that would require a replacement rather quickly.
9. Read Customer Reviews of Firewall Vendors
When looking for the right firewall, remember to read customer reviews of firewall vendors. Current customers often leave detailed reviews about the features of the product they’ve purchased. They also leave honest feedback about their experience with the vendor. For instance, a customer may share whether or not the vendor offers high-quality customer service.
The information left by previous customers can help you find a reputable vendor who offers the customer support your business needs.
Summing It Up
Searching for the right firewall can be challenging, especially with so many types of firewalls to choose from. The firewall is an essential part of your company’s security setup, so investing in the right technology is crucial for the protection of your business.
If you’re having trouble finding the right firewall technology for your organisation, reach out to your IT managed service provider. They can help you choose a firewall that has the right functionalities for your business and ensure it meets your security needs in all the right ways.
23rd February 2024
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