A common question we’re asked when setting up an organization’s computer network is “Why do I need a firewall? - doesn’t my Internet provider supply everything I need?”   The simple answer is that if your Internet service provider does provide a router it’s a very basic tool when it comes to security.

Every business with a network should have a firewall not just a router, it’s that simple. Long gone are the days when only large corporations needed to worry about protecting their data from cyberattacks; in fact, 58%1 of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses and if an attack is successful, it costs businesses $80,0002, on average.

Cyber criminals have figured out that smaller organizations make an easy payday, as they are less likely to have a proper cybersecurity system in place or regularly monitor their systems, which decreases the chances of a business detecting a breach early on. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Report, most security breaches aren’t discovered for months, giving attackers plenty of time to cause serious damage.

What is a firewall and how does it work?

A firewall is a hardware and software security device that is most commonly physically located on the edge of an organizations voice and data network between the public Internet and the private internal space.  It inspects all incoming and outgoing data traffic from a network where it acts as a shield by blocking or authorizing traffic based on a set of rules and detection processes.  It is also commonly positioned between network segments such as voice and data traffic to allow for security and traffic prioritization.

A good firewall is a crucial component of a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, acting as the first line of defense against cyberattacks. Firewalls also contribute to the early detection of compromised systems which is essential to lessen the impact of a security breach, keep costs down, and speed up recovery times.

Firewalls help protect your network from malware, keep unauthorized outside users from accessing your network remotely, block access to unsafe websites, and prevent confidential information from being transmitted outside your network.  For example, we recommend and configure our firewalls to do content inspection to prevent advanced threats.  And we set-up decryption and inspection of TLS/SSL-encrypted traffic in real time while inspecting threats on all ports and protocols to help prevent users from accidentally accessing harmful items which may come from both known and unknown sources online.

My data is in the cloud – Why do I need to protect my local network with a firewall?

Moving to the cloud does not reduce the need for security and in some respects increase the attack surfaces and data chain-of-custody challenges a business faces.  Once in the cloud an organizations data is no longer within the four walls of the company office and is usually accessed via the public Internet.  A capable firewall is a crucial device in managing secure connectivity to cloud based data and inspecting that the data going to and from the cloud has not been compromised by viral content.

Finally, when an organization seeks a cyber insurance policy it is often a requirement that a firewall be in place and not uncommon for the capabilities and features of this device be listed.  Effectively having a competent firewall is not only a corner stone of Internet security it may also contribute to cost controls by stopping criminal behavior and lowering insurance costs. Implementing a cybersecurity plan that focuses on preventing attacks, detecting breaches and mitigating any potential damage is key to keep your data and business secure.

While no solutions are absolute a well-designed cybersecurity plan can make the difference when evaluating operational risk.  Digital Industry is dedicated to supporting our clients with their organizations security and will work to deploy a solution that fits the budget, scope and goals we establish with our clients. Contact our security experts at Digital Industry, 240-839-5300 www.digitalindustry.com

  1. Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report 11th edition
  2. Better Business Bureau’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity Among Small Businesses in North America