Understanding Network Firewall Security
Businesses that store sensitive information such as credit card numbers, financial information and patient data have long been regulated in how they handle encryption and protection of their data across networks and at rest. But in this day and age of geopolitical uncertainty, even businesses that don’t consider their data highly sensitive can be targets of hacking attempts and security breaches. This is because in today’s cyberattacks, it’s not always the data that is the target — sometimes the bad actors are simply after hardware and network access so they can use your resources to carry out a larger attack. This makes network security a priority for all businesses that manage network-accessible server resources. And understanding firewall architecture a priority for SMBs and enterprises.
A network firewall is like a doorman between your network and the public internet or any other network. The doorman is set up with various rules defining what types of traffic are allowed in and out of your network, acceptable volume levels of that traffic and even locations from where that traffic can originate. For example, a firewall may allow common web traffic over HTTP and HTTPS but be configured to completely block incoming requests for various protocols such as SMTP, SSH, FTP, Telnet, DNS, Finger and other unused services. This is like closing off unnecessary doors to the building so the doorman (firewall) can focus on monitoring access through approved entry points.
A network firewall can also be configured to limit traffic from any one source. You can relate this to the doorman who sees the same person entering and exiting the building excessively which in turn limits the ability for others to access the building. A firewall rule can be established to not allow overutilization like this so the network is more accessible to all users. Overutilization can often be an indicator of a bad actor as well as they constantly make various attempts to “guess and check” potential entry points to a network.
Today’s network firewall appliances come in tabletop and rack-mount options offering high performance, a small form factor and total security with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
When selecting a network firewall solution for your business, you want to consider:
- Enterprise-grade security options
- Simplicity of configuration and management
- Integral visibility and notification systems
- Future proof from a vendor that provides regular updates
It is also wise when assessing the firewall vendor, to consider if they specialize in developing and managing security products exclusively or is security simply an add-on to their long line of various product offerings. Vendors who specialize in security and firewalls can generally offer more innovation and ultimately a better product and support package due to their focus solely on security products.
At Verus, we partner with industry-leading names such as WatchGuard and Cisco to offer the latest in network firewall solutions. And as a WatchGuard Platinum Partner, we can ensure you receive the best security technology and services for your investment. If you don’t currently have a doorman watching over your network or if it’s been a while since you’ve assessed your network risk, we’re here to help.